University of East London’s Sustainability Research Institute (SRI) have been trialling the use of Twitter and a geo-analytics dashboard as a way of increasing collaboration in green infrastructure research. The idea stemmed from the need to get the exciting research being undertaken by the SRI out to interested stakeholders such as citizens, local authorities, research institutes and all those with an interest in green infrastructure. Working with University College Dublin under UCD’s remit to develop geospatial information and communication technologies to support urban resilience and sustainability as part of the TURAS project a twitter account and associated geo-analytics dashboard was developed.
The initial development was based on focus groups that were undertaken with researchers in the SRI to ascertain what information and functionalities would be useful to have for this type of dashboard. This information was then taken and fed into the development of the dashboard which was developed by Future Analytics Consulting in Dublin. The dashboard provides information to the SRI researchers on who is interested in their research based on their Twitter followers and where the followers are based using data which is scrapped from their Twitter account. The idea being that this will allow the researchers to get their research out to those who might not normally see it and, in doing so, create the possibility of identifying new stakeholders to collaborate with as part of their green infrastructure research.
The SRI have been Tweeting for the last six months so it is time to assess how successful their endeavours have been. This will involve a second round of focus groups and a user evaluation for the dashboard. There is high hopes that SRI have been convinced of the benefits of using Twitter as a tool in their green infrastructure research!
Keywords: Twitter, Twitter as research tool, geo-analytics dashboard, Future Analytics Consulting,