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Egypt unrest on digital map

US: University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), developed a mapping programme, Voices from Cairo through Social Media. It allows the rest of the world to easily eavesdrop on the riveting turmoil in Egypt. The programme is a feature of UCLA’s HyperCities, a collaborative research and educational platform for exploring the layers of city spaces in an interactive, hypermedia environment.

HyperCities streams and then archives tweets from protesters in Cairo who are taking part in the pro-democracy push that has captured the world’s imagination since January 25, 2011.

“You just let the program run and you almost feel like you are there,” explained Yoh Kawano, a member of the UCLA Center for Digital Humanities programme, who built the programme’s interface. “It collects tweets live from Cairo and displays them in real time on a map.”

“HyperCities Egypt gives users a sense of living — and reliving — history,” said Todd Presner, the brainchild behind HyperCities and a professor of Germanic languages and literature, digital humanities, and comparative literature.

UCLA’s HyperCities project also includes a similar archive of social media communications from the civil unrest that erupted around Iran’s 2009 presidential election. “The Tehran Election Protests” features more than 800 YouTube videos, Twitter feeds, Flickr photographs and other forms of documentation, all organised chronologically.

“It all really started with us saying, ‘We did Iran — should we try Egypt?'” said Kawano, UCLA’s campus geographic information systems (GIS) coordinator and a lecturer at the UCLA School of Public Affairs.

One can visit https://egypt.hypercities.com, to experience the programme. The programme is built to run on Internet Explorer 8 but also works on Firefox 3.6, Chrome and Safari.

Source: UCLA