How to Get Twitter Geolocations From Public Tweets

As of February 2014, Twitter uses Google Maps to display locations.
... Justin Sullivan/Getty Images News/Getty Images

When you sign up for a Twitter account and set its preferences, you can choose to activate a geolocation feature that adds your whereabouts to your individual tweets. If you log in to Twitter from a mobile device, your tweets may show your latitude and longitude at the time you post them. Use a regular Web browser on your desktop or notebook computer, and your tweets include the name of your city or neighborhood. You can turn that "where-am-I" information into a map display directly from a tweet that includes a location.

Search for tweets that originate from or near a specific location. Type "near:[location]" into the Search box at the top of your timeline or profile page, without the quotation marks. Add "within:[distance]" -- also without quotation marks -- to specify a search radius around the location. [Location] can be the full or abbreviated name of a city or other place, such as NYC for New York City. You can express [distance] as miles or kilometers, using the abbreviations "mi" or "km" without quotation marks. Don't include a space after the colon in these search terms or between elements of the search phrase. Enter distance information as "20mi" or "30km," without the quotation marks and with no space between the number and the unit of distance. If the location name includes a space, surround the name in double quotation marks, but not the search term "near:" itself. Thus, if you want to find tweets identified as coming from within 11 miles of South Bend, Ind., enter your search phrase as follows:

near:"South Bend" within:11mi

Look through the search results for a tweet that displays a map pin icon below it, indicating that the user activated geolocation for her tweets. Click on the icon to expand the tweet so you can access the location information.

Click on the link labeled "from [location name]" below the tweet and above its reply box. The link loads an online map with the location highlighted on it.

  • Removing your past geolocation data may not purge this information from tweets that show up in search engine results or in applications that you add to a Twitter account from third parties.
  • To enable geolocation, access the Settings screen from the gear-shaped icon at the top of your timeline or profile page. The preference appears in the Security and Privacy Settings section. After you enable the geolocation preference, you can override it on a tweet-specific basis.
  • Some Twitter apps enable you to set your location in general terms if you want to avoid specifying an exact location. Each Twitter app must tell you what form of geolocation information it displays: latitude and longitude or, more generally, city or neighborhood.
  • To delete all your location information at once, log in to your Twitter account from the Internet, not from a mobile device. Open the Settings screen and choose "Delete All Location Information" from the Security and Privacy Settings section. This action removes geolocation data from past tweets. If you simply uncheck the "Add a Location to My Tweets" box, you leave prior tweets unchanged and only alter the information your future posts display.

Elizabeth Mott has been a writer since 1983. Mott has extensive experience writing advertising copy for everything from kitchen appliances and financial services to education and tourism. She holds a Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts in English from Indiana State University.