ecp and Mark thanks. I understand what you're saying but I'm having a hard time grasping how the streaming api would be better. Here's why: Like I said earlier, I have over 200,000 locations (and growing) in my database. I'll soon be pulling them in dynamically from other geo location api's so I'll in effect have the entire world! (insert evil world domination laugh). And users will be looking for locations randomly so... how do you cache that? I'm stumped.
The problem is, like you said relying on the location field would be a bit of a hairball. So my 2 questions are.... how do I send geo parameters to the firehose/streaming api? And will it return the same results set as if I did it via the search api with the geocode= parameter. Also, can I specify radius like in the search api? Is what you are suggesting to basically consume the entire firehose as it comes in and look for geo parameters/locations in real time? My application is simply a way to let users come to the site and look for local tweets and trends by city. Example: http://www.twocals.com/twt/il/belleville