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.