A map of the world's tweets: seven intriguing discoveries

A map of the world's tweets, plotted by Alan Mislove of Northeastern University, Boston

A professor at a US university has created a map of the world entirely made up of tweets.

Alan Mislove plotted geo-tag information from 275m tweets gathered between January 2011 and April 2013.

The result clearly shows those areas of the planet where Twitter is most popular - along with some of the most unlikely.

Alan, who is based at Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts, used only geo-tag locations to create the map. All the roads, coastlines and other features evident on the map are present due to people using Twitter at those locations.

Here are seven of the more intriguing features of Alan's map, which become clear when you zoom in for a closer look.

1) The US: west v east

There is a striking asymmetry between Twitter use on the two sides of the United States:

Twitter usage in the United States

2. Crossing the English Channel

It seems plenty of us enjoy whiling away the time between England and France with a bit of tweeting:

Distribution of tweets around the English Channel

3) New Zealand: north v south

Another case of asymmetry, this time between the northern and southern islands:

Twitter usage in New Zealand

4) Pacific tweets

This doesn't show the path of shipping between Japan and the US; rather it's the string of islands curving south-west from the coast of Alaska:

Distribution of tweets across the Pacific Ocean

5) Return of the iron curtain

Twitter has yet to penetrate eastern Europe with the same force it has taken over the west:

Twitter usage across Europe

6) Korea opportunities

Here's South Korea, awash with tweets; above it, North Korea is almost invisible:

Twitter usage across Korea

7) A gulf in the Gulf

Finally, here's the Middle East, with Turkey at the top and Saudi Arabia towards the bottom. The gap in the middle corresponds almost exactly with the outline of Iraq:

The distribution of tweets across the Middle East