Yelp Wordmap Shows Cities Through Keywords

Yelp WordmapAlong with its recent launch of a food delivery and pickup service through the new Yelp Platform, Yelp has introduced another new feature: Wordmap. Wordmap uses heat map visualization to show users where common keywords are used across 14 cities. This new feature can allow you to easily search for different types of businesses, and it can also show you which locations to avoid if, for example, they are inundated by tourists.

How Does It Work?

Yelp reduced review text from 14 cities to find common keywords. Next, they used the API (or application programming interface) from Google Maps with their heat map layer to display the data. Basically, Yelp created Wordmap to display knowledge that individuals are contributing to the review website in specific locales. The cities included in Wordmap are 14 of their “Yelpiest:” Austin, Boston, Chicago, London, Los Angeles, New York, Paris, Philadelphia, Portland, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle, Toronto and Washington, DC.

What Is It Used For?

First, Wordmap is useful for finding different types of restaurants and local hangouts. For example, you can type in “cocktails” or “bacon” to find an establishment serving those items, or you can further refine your search to look for “cheap burgers” or “sports bars.” You can also use Wordmap to avoid areas with a lot of tourists or hipsters. While Wordmap lacks the ability to find specific locations, its maps are still representative of local culture. In the case of New York, common stereotypes are apparent. If you click on “tourist” you will see that Midtown Manhattan is covered in red, whereas “hipster” lights up the Williamsburg and Greenpoint neighborhoods of Brooklyn.

Will It Be Expanded?

Unfortunately, it appears that Yelp does not have plans to expand the functionality of Wordmap anytime soon. Chris Chan, a data scientist for Yelp who helped develop Wordmap, stated that Yelp does not intend to add features to Wordmap right now, and implied that Wordmap was simply an experiment in creative representation of the vast data that Yelp collects.

Do you think that Yelp should expand Wordmap?

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Elizabeth K

Elizabeth Kent is a recent graduate with an M.A. in Women’s and Gender Studies from Brandeis University. She earned her B.A. from Smith College with a major in the Study of Women and Gender and a minor in Jewish Studies. Elizabeth recently relocated from the Boston area back to Western Massachusetts, where she spends her free time volunteering with a local non-profit organization. Elizabeth has worked as a writing tutor, archival intern, research assistant, and retail associate. Her interests include studying pop culture, kittens, and making meals with as little cooking as possible.

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