There are all kinds of reasons why you might want to filter tweets based on a location—from breaking news to travel tips—and new Android app Castround makes the process much simpler than it is on the Web. Here's how to use it and several alternative approaches you can try.
Free to install for Android, Castround lets you search for tweets through a maps interface. Once you've worked your way through the usual Twitter sign-in process you'll be shown your current location. Tap on the Castround button (lower right) to look for matching tweets and trending topics.
Use the radius button (lower left) to change the size of the catchment area and the GPS location button (top right) to return to your current location. The star button, naturally, lets you save locations to use again. If you want to find somewhere new to search then you can either scroll across the map or use the search icon on the top bar of the interface.
These search capabilities extend the functionality of Castround way beyond your current area. You can check out the vibe at a distant music festival (if you're sad not to be there perhaps) or get a preview of what's happening at your next holiday destination. Of course, the popularity of Twitter in each location is going to have an impact on the quality of the results.
Delve into the app menus and you can set the total limit of tweets to be returned by a Castround search as well as prioritize certain keywords. The latter feature comes in handy if you want to bring updates about certain events or sports teams to the top of the results list.
Many other apps and sites offer the same kind of functionality, though without the clear focus that Castround has. Twitter's API allows for geo-tagged tweets and—assuming users have associated a location with their posts—you can find them through a host of different apps. It's available through Twitter's Advanced Search page, for example, or via the "near:location" operator in any standard keyword search.
Twitter's official mobile apps for Android and iOS let you search for tweets close to your current location, though to cast the net out wider you'll need to use the "near:location" syntax, which isn't the most precise way of accomplishing the task. TweetDeck accepts the same search input though you might get a unmanageable stream of scrolling results back—try adding the "within:5km" operator to narrow them down.
Tweetbot is one of several iOS clients that will let you drop a pin in a map and let you see what's happening, so there are different options around. From checking out job vacancies in an area you'd really really like to work in, to getting the latest traffic updates for your commute home, Twitter's location search is one of those minor features that can prove incredibly useful.
[Thanks to The Next Web for the tip-off on Castround]