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Political Futures Tracker: Technical report

We developed a toolkit for monitoring online activity leading up to the 2015 UK election with University of Sheffield.

Nesta Working Paper 15/12
Issued: July 2015
Keywords: social media analysis, NLP, General Election 2015, Twitter


This report describes the Political Futures Tracker developed by the GATE team at the University of Sheffield, consisting of a toolkit we have developed for social media monitoring of tweets and other online material leading up to the 2015 UK election.

The toolkit includes data collection, semantic analysis, information aggregation, search and visualisation tools, which allow analysts to dig deep into the data and to perform complex queries over large volumes of data. The infrastructure enables users to monitor incoming data streams from Twitter, analyse the tweets and make the analysis results available for searching.

It has been applied to two scenarios: long-term monitoring of tweets by parliamentary candidates (and responses to those tweets) throughout the election campaign, and short-term intensive monitoring of tweets with particular hashtags during the televised leaders' debates, in near-real time.


Diana Maynard, Ian Roberts, Mark A Greenwood, Leon Derczynski, Kalina Bontcheva - University of Sheffield