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Urban metaMorphology Lab°°°Alicante

An intensive workshop at the University of Alicante

3 > 7 July 2017

University of Alicante

Exploring social media data to map the invisible image of the city.

This workshop uses location-based social media data to unveil, map and study the meta-morphology of Alicante, Spain. Participants will use large datasets from Instagram, Twitter, Foursquare and Google Places to find meta-trends in the use of outdoor and indoor spaces and map activity patterns using geographic information software. They will also carry out surveys to study the relations between urban amenities and the image of the place to gain a new understanding of the qualitative aspects of social practices and the narrative of urban spaces. (bilingual English-Spanish)

Explorando social media para mapear la imagen invisible de la ciudad.​

Este workshop usa redes sociales basadas en geolocalización para desvelar, mapper y estudiar la meta-morfología de la ciudad de Alicante, España. Los participantes usarán sets de datos de Instagram, Twitter, Foursquare y Google Places para encontrar patrones en el uso de los espacios y representar su actividad usando software SIG. También llevarán a cabo investigaciones para estudiar la imagen del lugar y ampliar su conocimiento de los aspectos cualitativos de las dinámicas sociales y las narrativas de los espacios urbanos, (bilingüe)

Program / Programa


*Participants not attending to workshops and work sessions (attending only lectures) should specify in advance via email.

**Attendance to 60% of the workshop is required to obtain participation diploma.

*Los alumnos que participen únicamente en las ponencias deberán especificar con antelación via email.

**Para obtener el diploma de participación se requiere una asistencia mínima del 60%

Groups will be formed based on the participants expertise and each group will be given a specific theme to be studied, to be defined together during the first day. The tasks will be divided by group according to participants’ field of expertise.

Digital Mapping

Using QGIS and Carto to map spatio-temporal patterns, activity patterns and find possible trends in the meta-morphology of the city.

Image Visualization

Visually analyzing a large dataset of images shared in Alicante to extract the qualitative aspects of the invisible image of the city.

Datasets and basic software will be provided via shared Dropbox folder.  It is highly recommended to install and sync Dropbox desktop app prior to the starting of the workshop.

Los grupos de trabajo se formarán en base a las habilidades del alumno. Cada grupo estudiará un tema definido durante los primeros días, y las tareas se dividirán de acuerdo al campo de expertización de los participantes.

Mapeado Digital

Usando QGIS y Carto para mapear tendencias espacio-temporales y de actividad, buscando patrones meta-morfológicos reconocibles.

Visualización de Imágenes

Análisis visual de un set de datos de gran tamaño de imágenes subidas a la red desde Alicante para extraer aspectos cualitativos de la imagen de la ciudad.

Los sets de datos y el software básico se compartirán via una carpeta compartida de Dropbox. Se recomienda encarecidamente descargar y sincronizar la aplicación antes del comienzo del curso.

Datasets Available / Sets de Datos Disponibles



Google Places

GIS Datasets


Tweets can be used to pin point the presence of one user in the city when they share contents between users, creating a complex network or meta-relations between different people in a local, regional or global scale. In this workshop we will use Tweets shared in Alicante to explore the potentials of social media data.

Foursquare will be used to observe people's preferences in terms of economic activities offered by space and demanded by people. This social app will plot places according to their success, and economic activities according to their weight in the city's socioeconomic tissue. 

Google is currently the most popular app to register places. Therefore, data retrieved from Google Places servers contain a huge variety of places and venues, which can be used to study diversity, intensity and complexity of economic and social activity of the place.

Participants will also receive a set of preloaded GIS layers for the city of Turku such as the full GIS map of Turku, urban accessibility datasets, census data, and real estate data. No GIS skills are required to join the workshop but it is advised to go through the basics of QGis. Click here to see a basic introduction to the software.

Instagram data offers quantitative and qualitative aspects that will be the key to reveal the sense of place of indoor and outdoor space in Alicante.

The workshop is eligible for Bachelor, Master and PhD students in the field of urban studies - broadly. We welcome students interested in and having skills related to human/social geography, digital mapping or cultural analysis.

Open to all majors and universities

Admissions based on First come first served

Este workshop está recomendado a estudiantes de Grado, Máster y Doctorado con interés en el estudio urbanístico. Son bienvenidos estudiantes con habilidades en el campo de la geografía humana, mapeado digital o cultural analytics. 

Público a todos los grados y universidades

Admisiones basadas en orden de matrícula


Teams will work together using multiple techniques and media to reveal the invisible image of the city. Together, we will dig deep into social media data to produce maps, images montages and write the hidden story of the invisible form of the city.

The outcome of the workshop is the production of a public website for each group, presenting the results of their research. To enhance our participants skills the media through which the results are presented it is free. Teams can present maps and visual analysis taught during the workshop but also use their personal skills to produce original outputs.


During previous workshops, some teams have also used the workshop to develop and then publish research papers or participating to academic conferences. Outputs from previous workshops have also received media coverage and some were selected to be presented to the representative of the city council. 

Check to see previous projects related to the Urban metaMorphology Labs.


Data visualization



Spatial data



Google My Maps

In-site mapping and map downloading

GoMap!! (iPhone

Google My Maps (Android)


Data sharing and team working


Dropbox Paper

QGIS Plugins







1. Step

Registration / Matrícula

2. Step

Send payment confirmation by email along with the following data:

Enviar por email la confirmación de pago junto con los siguientes datos:

>Name and surname, ID, home institution, nationality

>Nombre y apellidos, DNI, institución de procedencia, nacionalidad


Questions / Preguntas

Success! Message received.



Universidad de Alicante.

Carretera San Vicente del Raspeig s/n

03690 San Vicente del Raspeig

Alicante, Spain

Escuela Politécnica Superior IV

Basement Floor / Planta sótano

Room EP/S-03D


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