Input Mappings

Available mappings

Example mappings currently exist for Reddit, Twitter, Flickr, Instagram, and iNaturalist.


For any conversion, a mapping must exist. A mapping is defined in a python file (.py) and describes how any input data is converted to the common lbsn structure, which is available from the Python version of the Proto Buf Spec.

Mappings are loaded dynamically. You can provide a path to a folder containing mappings with the flag --mappings_path ./subfolder.

To use the provided example mappings (Twitter or YFCC100M), clone the repository and use:

lbsntransform --mappings_path ./resources/mappings/

If no path is provided, lbsn raw is assumed as input, for which the file mapping is available in, including lbsn db query syntax defined in

Predefined mappings exist for the Flickr YFCC100M dataset (CSV) and Twitter (JSON).

Have a look at the two mappings in the resources folder.

If the git repository is cloned to a local folder, use --mappings_path ./resources/mappings/ to load Flickr or Twitter mappings.

Input mappings must have some specific attributes to be recognized.

Primarily, a class constant MAPPING_ID is used to assign mappings to input data when lbsntransform is run.

For example, the has the following module level constant:


This is the default mapping, and it will be used for reading data with the default --origin 0 flag used.


To load data with the default mapping, with the MAPPING_ID "0", use lbsntransform --origin 0.

To load data from Twitter json, use

lbsntransform --origin 3 \
              --mappings_path ./resources/mappings/ \
              --file_input \
              --file_type "json"

To load data from Flickr YFCC100M, use

lbsntransform --origin 21 \
              --mappings_path ./resources/mappings/ \
              --file_input \
              --file_type "csv" \
              --csv_delimiter $'\t'

To load data from native LBSN (RAW) DB, running locally on port 15432:

lbsntransform --origin 0 \
              --dbpassword_input "eX4mP13p455w0Rd" \
              --dbuser_input "postgres" \
              --dbserveraddress_input "" \
              --dbname_input "rawdb" \
              --dbformat_input "lbsn" \
              --include_lbsn_bases hashtag,place,date,community \
              --include_lbsn_objects "origin,country,city,place,user,post"


The example commands above are missing output information. Below is a full example that shows how to read from local lbsn raw db to local lbsn hll db, which includes the use of a third, empty hll importer db for the purpose of separation of concerns.

lbsntransform --origin 0 \
    --dbpassword_input "eX4mP13p455w0Rd" \
    --dbuser_input "postgres" \
    --dbserveraddress_input "" \
    --dbname_input "rawdb" \
    --dbformat_input "lbsn" \
    --dbpassword_output "eX4mP13p455w0Rd" \
    --dbuser_output "postgres" \
    --dbserveraddress_output "" \
    --dbname_output "hlldb" \
    --dbformat_output "hll" \
    --dbpassword_hllworker "eX4mP13p455w0Rd" \
    --dbuser_hllworker "postgres" \
    --dbserveraddress_hllworker "" \
    --dbname_hllworker "hllworkerdb" \
    --include_lbsn_bases hashtag,place,date,community \
    --include_lbsn_objects "origin,post"

Custom Input Mappings

Start with any of the predefined mappings, either from, or (JSON) and (CSV).

A minimal template looks as follows:

# -*- coding: utf-8 -*-

Module for mapping example Posts dataset to common LBSN Structure.

from typing import Optional
from lbsnstructure import lbsnstructure_pb2 as lbsn
from import HelperFunctions as HF


class importer():
    """ Provides mapping function from Example Post Source to
        protobuf lbsnstructure
    ORIGIN_NAME = "Example Post Source"
    ORIGIN_ID = 2

    def __init__(self,
        origin = lbsn.Origin()
        origin.origin_id = 99
        self.origin = origin
        self.null_island = 0
        self.skipped_count = 0
        self.skipped_low_geoaccuracy = 0

    def parse_csv_record(self, record, record_type: Optional[str] = None):
        """Entry point for processing CSV data:
        record    A single row from CSV, stored as list type.
        # extract/convert all lbsn records
        lbsn_records = []
        lbsn_record = self.extract_post(record)
        return lbsn_records

    # def parse_json_record(self, record, record_type: Optional[str] = None):
    #   """Entry point for processing JSON data:
    #   Attributes:
    #   record    A single record, stored as dictionary type.
    #   """
    #   # extract lbsn objects
    #   return lbsn_records

    def extract_post(self, record):
        post_record = HF.new_lbsn_record_with_id(
            lbsn.Post(), post_guid, self.origin)
        return post_record


  • Json or CSV? Database records and JSON objects are read as nested dictionaries. CSV records are read using dict_reader, and provided as flat dictionaries.
  • Each mapping must have either parse_csv_record() or parse_json_record() defined.
  • Both json and CSV mapping can be mapped in one file, but it is recommended to separate mappings for different input file formats in two mappings.
  • The class attributes provided above are currently required to be defined. It is not necessary to actually make use of these.
  • Both parse_csv_record() and parse_json_record() must return a list of lbsn Objects.


For one lbsn origin, many mappings may exist. For example, for the above example origin with id 99, you may have mappings with ids 991, 992, 993 etc. This can be used to create separate mappings for json, csv etc.

The actual origin_id that is stored in the database is given in the importer.origin attributes.

Output Mappings

lbsntransform can output data to a database with the common lbsn structure, called rawdb or the privacy-aware version, called hlldb.


To output data to rawdb:

lbsntransform --dbpassword_output "sample-key" \
              --dbuser_output "postgres" \
              --dbserveraddress_output "" \
              --dbname_output "rawdb" \
              --dbformat_output "lbsn"

The syntax for conversion to hlldb is a little bit more complex, since the output structure may vary to a large degree, depending on each use case.


The hlldb and structure are still in an early stage of development. We're beyond the initial proof of concept and are working on simplifying custom mappings.

To output data to hlldb:

lbsntransform --dbpassword_output "sample-key" \
              --dbuser_output "postgres" \
              --dbserveraddress_output "" \
              --dbname_output "hlldb" \
              --dbformat_output "hll" \
              --dbpassword_hllworker "sample-key" \
              --dbuser_hllworker "postgres" \
              --dbserveraddress_hllworker "" \
              --dbname_hllworker "hllworkerdb" \
              --include_lbsn_objects "origin,post" \

Above, a separate connection to a "hll_worker" database is provided. It is used to make hll calculations (union, hashing etc.). No items will be written to this database, a read_only user will suffice. A Docker container with a predefined user is available.

Having two hll databases, one for calculations and one for storage means that concerns can be separated: There is no need for hlldb to receive any raw data. Likewise, the hll worker does not need to know contextual data, for union of specific hll sets. Such a setup improves robustness and privacy. It further allows to separate processing into individual components.

If no hll worker is available, hlldb may be used.

Why do I need a database connection?

There's a python package available that allows making hll calculations in python. However, it is not as performant as the native Postgres implementation.

Use --include_lbsn_objects to specify which input data you want to convert to the privacy aware version. For example, --include_lbsn_objects "origin,post" would process lbsn objects of type origin and post (default).

Use --include_lbsn_bases to specify which output data you want to convert to.

We refer to the different output structures as "bases", and they are defined in lbsntransform.output.hll.hll_bases,

Bases can be separated by comma and may include:

  • Temporal Facet:

    • monthofyear
    • month
    • dayofmonth
    • dayofweek
    • hourofday
    • year
    • month
    • date
    • timestamp
  • Spatial Facet:

    • country
    • region
    • city
    • place
    • latlng
  • Social Facet:

    • community
  • Topical Facet:

    • hashtag
    • emoji
    • term
  • Composite Bases:

    • _hashtag_latlng
    • _term_latlng
    • _emoji_latlng
    • _month_latlng
    • _month_hashtag
    • _month_hashtag_latlng

For example:

lbsntransform --include_lbsn_bases hashtag,place,date,community

..would convert and transfer any input data to the hlldb structures:

  • topical.hashtag

The name refers to schema.table in the Postgres implementation.

Upsert (Insert or Update)

Because it is entirely unknown to lbsntransform whether output records (primary keys) already exist, any data is transferred using the Upsert syntax, which means INSERT ... ON CONFLICT UPDATE. This means that records are either inserted if primary keys do not exist yet, or updated, using hll_union().

It is possible to define own output hll db mappings. The best place to start is lbsntransform.output.hll.hll_bases.

Have a look at the pre-defined bases and add any additional needed. It is recommended to use inheritance. After adding your own mappings, the hlldb must be prepared with respective table structures. Have a look at the predefined structures available.