Use Your Words

Use your words logo
Team Name: 
66% Teague


Use Your Words aims to show how the tone and subject matter of Australian local news stories changes over time and space, using ABC Local Online Photo Stories 2009-2014 data.

We scrape the text of each story from the ABC website and create a word cloud, hoping to capture the broad subject of the story and visualise it simply in a few words. The word cloud is displayed at the story's location in an animation alongside other word clouds on NICTA's National Map.

Thus, Use Your Words shows us who's saying what, when, where, all across Australia over five years.

The project is an interactive map, available here.

While a story's word cloud is visible, users can click the word cloud to display the story's full text, primary image, and a link to story's page on the ABC website. Users can filter stories by state and topic, zoom and scroll the map, pause the animation or select a time on the timeline slider bar.

Displaying stories on a map over time let's us see major events occuring in Australia's recent history, for example, filtering using the keyword "Solar" we can see a little explosion of stories at the end of 2012 coinciding with the solar eclipse in Cairns.

We're hoping that a tool like Use Your Words could be used alongside datasets such as GeoScience Austria's Sentinel Hotspot bushfire tracker, though historical fire data weren't available to us this year. Either way, this is a great way of visualising the topics covered by ABCs Local Online Photo Series 2009-2014 and could be used with other journalism articles or news data to show trends and changes in the tone and subject matter of the Australia's national conversation.

The code is available on our Github repo.


The following open-source projects were used: National Map, TagCloud

Disclosure statement: Rebecca Dengate is employed by NICTA, though prior to GovHack2015 she had never coded in or worked on National Map.

Video Upload: 
Datasets Used: 
ABC Local Online Photo Stories 2009-2014

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