GEOG 479
Cyber-Geography in Geospatial Intelligence

Assignment 3 (Due End of Week 1)


Assignment 3 (Due End of Week 1)

The Associated Press reported that the CIA follows up to 5 million messages on Twitter every day, as well as posts to Facebook, news sites and chat rooms in a constant effort to paint a real-time picture of regions across the globe.

"CIA's 'vengeful librarians' track Twitter, Facebook" from CNET News

Where in the world are the hotspots for cyberterrorism today, and where do you see them emerging?  Can analyzing social media outputs give us any indications of where the new hotspots might be?

Download and Install. For this assignment, you will need to download an add-in for Excel (Office 2007 is required). Once you have downloaded it, you will need to walk through the PowerPoint explanation of how to add data. The add-in is called “Network Overview, Discovery and Exploration for Excel – NodeXL Pro”. As indicated in the title, NodeXL Pro is an add-on for Microsoft Excel (Windows version) but the code is open source. You may download the plugin.

Follow these steps to install and use the template:

  1. Download the Zip file.
  2. Unzip it into any folder. Use WinZip or a similar program, or just right-click the Zip file in Windows Explorer and select "Extract All."
  3. Close Excel if it's open.
  4. Run Setup.exe. You need to be an administrator to do this. (You don't need to be an administrator to actually use the NodeXL template once it's installed, however.) The setup program might install some Microsoft prerequisites. These are the Microsoft. .NET Framework Service Pack 1, the Microsoft Office 2007 Primary Interop Assemblies, and the Microsoft Visual Studio Tools for the Office System 3.0 Runtime Service Pack 1.
  5. Delete the unzipped files. They're no longer needed.
  6. Register. If you didn't register while running Setup.exe, please do so here. Registration is optional.
  7. Use the template. In the Windows Start menu, click "All Programs" (Windows 7 or Vista) or "Programs" (XP), then "NodeXL Pro," then "Excel Template."

The advantage of NodeXL, particularly for graphing Twitter communities, is it has built-in features for grabbing the data for you. Not only that, the coding is clever enough to handle the data collection for mere mortals, so when you hit your rate limit, NodeXL waits until it should be able to get more data. NodeXL also has “built-in connections for getting networks from Flickr, YouTube, and your local email. Additional importers for Exchange Email, Facebook, and Hyperlink networks are available.”