February 15, 2006

Topix.net Conversation Map

by skrenta at 12:25 AM

We're getting thousands of local posts on our new geographical forums on Topix.net. Talk-back-to-the-news and local online community sound wonderful but is hard to visualize. You can punch random ZIP codes into our site and see the message threads in random towns, but it's hard to get a complete picture that way.

So we plotted the local Topix discussions on a map of the US (actually rendered directly from our TIGER/Line article geo-categorization KB) and it looked pretty cool. You can click on a dot and see the message threads within a 60 mile radius of that spot. We added color/size variation to indicate the volume of posts in a locality, and how recent they are.

So far this is just for the US, we will have to do one for the non-US forums on our site next.