Twitter, like many social networks, log their posts with geographic tags. The company has allowed users to enable tweeting with your location for a while now, and many users routinely send out geotagged tweets. If a user has enable location-based tweets, they will see a location field just under the tweet box.
While some users are understandably reluctant to add their location to their tweets, millions of other users are doing so on a daily basis. This naturally creates a trove of data that can be used to construct some pretty fun apps, and Twaddler is one of them.
Twaddler creator Justin Reynen explains his service like this:
Twaddler live streams geotagged tweets from around a given area, such as your home town, but you don't have to stay there. You can check out what's happening in London, New York, Paris, anywhere! Just use the Go To box. Twaddler only displays tweets with a geotag, not just a location, [and] Twaddler uses your location to get an idea of where you are when it starts up. Nothing is stored on a server, Twaddler is completely anonymous.
The Twaddler interace uses Google Maps to plot the exact location of live incoming tweets to any location in the world. You can check out the flurry of tweets coming from your own city or explore what people are saying all over the world. There's also a tweet stream attached to the left-hand side, if you don't want to click all of the little flags:
Twaddler isn't the first application to pull from Twitter's location data to pinpoint tweets in your area, but it's fun to see everything in the map view and have the stream right next to it.
I found Twaddler via reddit, and some users have some pretty interesting yet contrasting opinions on how Twaddler could be useful:
It would be nice to highlight notable locations where a lot of people might be looking to learn of an event going on (like Egypt). This is a great idea your working on with lots of potential uses. Good luck!
I had a LOT of fun with this last night. I punched in my local and pretty much twitter spammed anyone posting in my area that was being a dumbass on twitter.
So there you have it. You could use Twaddler to track tweets in a particular location where something big is going down - or you could use it to troll all of the idiots posting inane tweets about their lunches. It's up to you.
Couple this with the fact that Twitter just launched location-specific Twitter trends, and you be a real-time news tracking machine. Or, you know, you could get a glimpse of just how stupid the twitter users in your hometown really are.