Social Media Geographic Information: Recent Findings and Opportunities for Smart Spatial Planning

  • Pierangelo Massa University of Cagliari DICAAR
  • Michele Campagna University of Cagliari DICAAR
Keywords: Social Media Geographic Information SMGI, Urban Regional Planning, Volunteered Geographic Information VGI, Computational Social Science


This paper deals with the opportunities of Social Media Geographic Information (SMGI) as valuable support for analysis, design and decision-making in urban and regional planning. In the light of the recent advances in digital geographic information, such as Spatial Data Infrastructures (SDI) and Volunteered Geographic Information (VGI) which are fostering innovation in urban and regional planning, the authors focus on the potentialities of Social Media as source of knowledge for the planning practices. The authors argue SMGI may play an important role to inform 'smart city' strategies extending authoritative and sensor data infrastructure with experiential and pluralist citizens knowledge. To support this thesis, an innovative methodology for the advance of Social Media Geographic Information (SMGI) Analytics is proposed. To this end, the authors present an original user-friendly tool able to extract information from popular Social Media such as and and to apply Spatial-Temporal Textual (STTx) analysis . Some examples are provided at the regional and at the local scale in order to demonstrate the potential of SMGI analytics in regional and urban planning. The results show how SMGI analytics can support design, analysis and decision making in planning, and add the value of pluralism to inform smart city initiatives. The paper ends with some brief conclusions on the opportunities of SMGI analytics for possibly affecting decision-making dynamics and urban and regional planning processes, through citizens’ dialogue and integration of experiential and professional knowledge.


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Author Biographies

Pierangelo Massa, University of Cagliari DICAAR
Pierangelo is graduated in Construction Engineering at University of Cagliari in 2012. Since 2013, he attends the PhD course in Land Engineering at DICAAR of University of Cagliari. His research interests concern the study of spatial analysis methods and innovative approaches for the use of Volunteered Geographic Information (VGI), and Social Media Geographic Information (SMGI), as support for analysis, design and decision-making in urban and regional planning.
Michele Campagna, University of Cagliari DICAAR

Michele, PhD in Land Engineering (University of Cagliari, 2003) is adjunct professor of Spatial Planning and GIScience at the University of Cagliari. His actual research interests deal with the Scientific Method in Planning, Metaplanning, Planning Support Systems (PSS), Social Media Geographic Information in planning and Geodesign. He authored over sixty publications, and he is editor of the volume GIS for Sustainable Development published by CRC-Press/Taylor and Francis Group in 2006. In 2011 he directed the International Summer School on Information and Communication Technology in Spatial Planning “INFOPLAN”.


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How to Cite
Massa, P., & Campagna, M. (2014). Social Media Geographic Information: Recent Findings and Opportunities for Smart Spatial Planning. Tema - Journal of Land Use, Mobility and Environment.