New Pulsar feature: Geolocalised searches for more focused data

Pulsar location heat map visualisation for geolocalised social media data

Welcome to our first feature release of 2015, where we’re making data smarter with a new way to search for only geolocalised content.

At Pulsar we have very close partnerships with our data providers. This means we can be first to bring you the latest data augmentations that add invaluable context to social media messages. This month we’re bringing you a new level of granularity for message locations.

What’s this mean? More of what you want, less of what you don’t!


What’s new with geolocalised queries?

The way Pulsar previously identified location was to first collect all posts matching your search definition,  and then identify all the contents that could be pinned down to a specific location. Searches had to contain the content that couldn’t be localised as well – we marked this ‘Unknown’ location.


What we can now do is query Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to only collect posts containing verified location metadata. Verified location data is based on either:
(i) the GPS location of the content
(ii) the city, country or timezone of the author of the post.

This means no more extra content you’re not interested in.


When should I use localised queries?

Short answer: not every time! Here’s how to make this new feature work best for you.

The most important point to understand is that, on average a geolocation-only search will bring back just 20-50% of the overall available data matching your search definition. Geolocation information is not always available for social media content – think of all of the people who leave their Twitter profiles blank, or who have jokey locations like ‘Planet Earth’ or ‘my house’.

Benefits of geolocation searches:

  • A smaller set of data that’s all 100% relevant to the locations you want
  • Helps reduce your data usage and makes it easier to stay within your monthly allowance


  • You’re not getting the whole discussion about your brand or topic – only the part that users attach to a specific location
  • You won’t get any content from YouTube, Sina Weibo, Tumblr or Flickr, as these channels don’t currently support geolocated data.
  • Localised queries are expensive in terms of data processing power because they are more granular, so they’re best used only in real-time, not for Historics. We may have to cap excess localised queries – so please speak to your Account Manager before you set up a geolocalised Historic search.

The table below will help you decide what type of search to use.

What does it look like on Pulsar?

When you set up a search, you’ll be presented with the usual search targeting options, where you can pick your Countries, Languages and Sources. What’s new is the checkbox below Country options, saying “Geolocated contents only”:

  • To fetch only geolocated messages (20-50% of the total discussion) – check it
  • For regular searches, same as you’re currently using – leave it unchecked (default)


Pulsar social media monitoring search targeting US and UKWe hope you find this useful – our research team are using it already for a new project in Australia, where it’s useful to cut out the noise of ‘Unknown’ discussion from the US.

If you have any questions about how to use this feature, contact your Account Manager – email [email protected].

Or read up on our previous feature releases:

  • More on our new Location Maps: analyse by country, city and GPS coordinates
  • Estimate Reach, for audience measurement


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