Othman Laraki

Director of Geo, Twitter

Othman Laraki

Twitter’s new Director of Geolocation shows how automatically geo-tagging tweets creates self-generating groups that act in the real-world. At the where2.0 conference in San Jose, Othman Laraki offers Twitter API developers 'frictionless' ways to express and consume this new class of geodata.

Laraki explains how geographical context creates information that is globally applicable and still locally relevant. In the past, your concern about one pothole wouldn’t have been worth broadcasting. Today, that geo-tagged tweet helps to create a self-organizing location-coded database of potholes. Now, your pothole just might get fixed.

During recent Iranian elections, many Twitter users masked their real location and listed themselves as located in Iran--thus foiling the Iranian government’s abilities to search and filter on tweets from Iran. So, by merely re-stating their location, people attempted to block real-world actions a world away. Laraki questions Twitter's reputation as a silly app. Twitter geotaggers help responders with fires help responders with fires in Southern California and earthquakes in China.

Othman Laraki touches on the massive disparate data sets that will need to be merged and combined. Location-based data can also be based on usage and other secondary, derivative information. The Twitter API developer ecosystem places a priority on creating basic components that can be remixed into new geographically-aware applications.

Othman Laraki, left Google in 2008 and founded MixerLabs, a company specializing in the development of geographic data and technologies. MixerLabs was bought at the end of 2009 by Twitter. Today, Othman Laraki is head of the geolocation team at Twitter.


This free podcast is from our Where Conference series.

For The Conversations Network:

  • Post-production audio engineer: Robb Lepper
  • Website editor: Nathalie Oostrom
  • Series producer: Peter Christensen