Last Updated: Wednesday, April 15, 2015

How Twitter helps in real time flood map for better natural disaster response

Twitter can be a great help in better natural disaster response, said researchers who created real-time flood maps using data from tweets.

Real time tweets about major floods can be turned into a mapping tool which could be used by emergency services and natural disaster response teams to save lives and provide aid, Dutch researchers came up with the idea after analyzing the thousands of tweets.

Some 900 flood-related tweets per minute were sent after the Indonesian capital Jakarta was hit by floods this February, Reuters reported quoting the Netherlands-based Deltares research institute at a European Geosciences Union meeting in Vienna. Most important, maximum number of tweets had information about location and water depth which can be helpful for real-time flood maps for immediate natural disaster response operations.

This method can produce a natural disaster map within around a minute of messages being postedand can be helpful to target for post-disaster assistance.

Validating the real time flood map, the team applied their method to Jakarta's February floods, and compared their findings with photographic evidence of the extent. They found "that in 76 percent of districts... we modelled the floods correctly," Eilander said—affording proof of the concept, mentioned.

Facebook Safety Check tool was widely appreciated last year which claimed that it help its users notify friends and family that they're safe during or after natural disasters. American Red Cross has also prepared several emergency preparedness apps to help people to stay safe if severe weather or natural disasters occur.

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