Sunrises are beautiful. The optics of light bending and scattering through out atmosphere, producing layers of rich red light fading up to pale blue can be an awe-inspiring start to the day. And people love to talk about it.

This map collects any geotagged Tweets that include the word sunrise from April 6th, 2014 then lays them out on a map tracing the moving border between darkness and light on our planet. Predictably, a surge of tweets chases the retreat of darkness. More unexpectedly, the tweets also cluster along the sunset-boundary, as light fades to black. I wonder how many languages share a common word for sunrise and sunset, blurring the phenomena into a twice-a-day event?

Click over here for the animated map where you can watch sunrise progress with respect to the day-night cycle, zoom in to areas of interest, and all that jazz. I find it particularly amusing to see find the extreme early-risers celebrating a pre-dawn start to the day, or what are inevitably ironic commentary on rising at the crack of noon.


The map was created by the Twitter data visualization team using the CartoDB mapping system. This isn't the first collaboration between the two — Twitter uses CartoDB so frequently to map how hashtags move around their system that they're listed in the case studies example section.

Tip via Dr Rebecca Williams @Volcanologist. For more science-centric prettiness, here's one highlighting the Soyuz rocket, and a peek at a sunset from space.

For a far more serious use of tracking hashtag spread, here's a look at how #BringBackOurGirls spread after the April 15th mass kidnapping.