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Location based social network (LBSN) data structure format & transfer tool

Project description

PyPI version pylint pipeline Documentation


A python package that uses the common location based social network (LBSN) data structure concept (ProtoBuf) to import, transform and export Social Media data such as Twitter and Flickr.

Illustration of functions


The goal is to provide a common interface to handle Social Media Data, without custom adjustment to the myriad API Endpoints available. As an example, consider the ProtoBuf spec "Post", which can be a Tweet on Twitter, a Photo shared on Flickr, or a post on Reddit. This tool is based on a 4-Facet conceptual framework for LBSN, introduced in a paper by Dunkel et al. (2018). In addition, the GDPR directly requests Social Media Network operators to allow users to transfer accounts and data inbetween services. While there are attempts by Google, Facebook etc. (see data-transfer-prject), it is not currently possible. With this structure concept, a primary motivation is to systematically characterize LBSN data aspects in a common scheme that enables privacy-by-design for connected software, data handling and database design.


This tool enables data import from a Postgres database, JSON, or CSV and export to CSV, LBSN ProtoBuf or a LBSN prepared Postgres Database. The tool will map Social Media endpoints (e.g. Twitter tweets) to a common LBSN Interchange Structure format in ProtoBuf. The tool can also be imported to other Python projects with import lbsntransform for on-the-fly conversion.

Quick Start

You can install the newest version with all its dependencies directly from the Git Repository:

pip install --upgrade git+git://

or install latest release using pip:

pip install lbsntransform

.. for non-developers, another option is to simply download the latest build and run with custom args, e.g. with the following command line args

lbsntransform --origin 3 --file_input --file_type 'json' --transferlimit 1000 --csv_output

.. with the above input args, the the tool will:

  • read local json from /01_Input/
  • and store lbsn records as CSV and ProtoBuf in /02_Output/

A full list of possible input args is available in the documentation

Built With

  • lbsnstructure - A common language independend and cross-network social-media datascheme
  • protobuf - Google's data interchange format
  • psycopg2 - Python-PostgreSQL Database Adapter
  • ppygis3 - A PPyGIS port for Python
  • shapely - Geometric objects processing in Python
  • emoji - Emoji handling in Python


Field mapping from and to ProtoBuffers from different Social Media sites is provided in classes As an example, mapping of the Twitter json structure is given (see class FieldMappingTwitter). This class may be used to extend functionality to cover other networks such as Flickr or Foursquare.

For development & testing, make a local clone of this repository

git clone

..and (e.g.) create package in develop mode to symlink the folder to your Python's site-packages folder with:

python develop

(use python develop --uninstall to uninstall tool in develop mode)

Now you can run the tool in your shell with (Origin 3 = Twitter):

lbsntransform --origin 3 --file_input --file_type 'json' --transferlimit 1000 --csv_output

..or import the package to other python projects with:

import lbsntransform

Versioning and Changelog, and Download

For the releases available, see the tags on this repository. The latest windows build that is available for download is 0.1.4. For all other systems use cx_freeze to build executable:

python build

The versioning (major.minor.patch) is automated using python-semantic-release. Commit messages that follow the Angular Commit Message Conventions will be automatically interpreted, followed by version bumps if necessary. Examples:

  • fix: hotfix for bug xy will result in a patch version bump
  • feat: feature for processing xy will result in minor version bump
perf(cluster): faster generation of alpha shapes

BRAKING CHANGE: Easy buffer option removed.

.. will result in a major release bump.

Some types used in this project:

feat: A new feature
fix: A bug fix
docs: Documentation only changes
style: Changes that do not affect the meaning of the code (white-space, formatting, missing semi-colons, etc)
refactor: A code change that neither fixes a bug nor adds a feature
perf: A code change that improves performance
test: Adding missing or correcting existing tests
chore: Changes to the build process or auxiliary tools and libraries such as documentation generation

Except for feature and fixes, no version bumps will be made.


  • Alexander Dunkel - Initial work

See also the list of contributors.


This project is licensed under the GNU GPLv3 or any higher - see the file for details.

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