Social Media to the Rescue in Flood Events?

2015-04-21

For first responders, up-to-date information about the extent of a flood is crucial.  Now, with the widespread uptake of mobile technologies that enable instant communication, information about flood events, locations and people affected can be determined - using data from social media!  A joint study by two Dutch organisations has developed a new mapping tool that uses real-time data from tweets that may help inform emergency services during a flood.

The team at Deltares and Floodtags based their study on a past flood event in Jakarta, where a high volume of tweets during the event related information about water location and depth.  Analysis of this data, along with information on topography was a first step in developing the method for generating flood maps based on tweets.

Dirk Ellander, Deltares said "This method is really fast.  It can produce a map within around a minute of messages being posted."

It is hoped that this advancement will give crisis managers and first responders a much better insight into the situation during a flood event and enable them to make much more effective decisions.

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