Early Flood Detection for Rapid Humanitarian Response: Harnessing Near Real-Time Satellite and Twitter Signals
- Where is the flood?
- When can we know about the flooding?
- What do we know about the impacts?
2. Methods and Data
2.1. Disaster Reporting and Response Information
|WHAT Kind of Flood (Floods, Flash Floods, and Flooding Caused by the Opening or Failure of Dams)||WHERE did the Event Happen (Village/Region)||WHEN did the Event Happen?||WHEN Was the Event Reported/Known to the PRC (and by What Media, if Possible)?||WHEN Was Action Undertaken by PRC in Response to the Event?||Event Type|
|Overflowing of rivers due to TD Lingling (Local name: Agaton)||Compostela Valley||11/1/2014||11/1/2014 (Online news and local PRC Chapter report)||11/1/2014—Deployed volunteer for assessment 13/1/2014—Served Hot meals to 530 persons||Tropical Depression|
|Overflowing of river due to Typhoon Rammasun (Local name: Glenda)||Northern Samar||15/7/2014||15/7/2014 (Chapter Report/Volunteers on the ground)||Alerted volunteers to the area and mobilised 35 volunteers and staff. 16/7/2015—Served hot meals to 620 individuals, Distributed Non Food Items to 202 Families, and Food Items to 788 Families.||Typhoon|
2.2. Near-Real-Time Satellite Data
2.3. Near-Real-Time Twitter Data
|Language||Flood Tweets Containing Pakistan Places (September 2014; One Event)||Flood Tweets Containing Philippine Places (July 2014–January 2015; Multiple Events)|
2.4. Analytics and Outputs
2.4.1. Location mapping
2.4.2. Early detection
2.4.3. Event understanding
3. Results and Discussion
3.1. Rapid Flood Mapping
3.2. Rapid Flood Detection
3.3. Improving Event Understanding
4. Conclusions and Recommendations
4.1. GFDS satellite information
4.2. Twitter Analysis
4.3. Recommendations for further research
- Post-processing and filtering: further research efforts are needed to develop comprehensive near-real-time post-processing and filtering methodologies for social media content. These methodologies, which may include more sophisticated textual, geographical, and sentimental analyses, should aim for improving the accuracy of the location and impact analytics that are derived from this data, making the information more useful for humanitarian organizations.
- Near-real-time action trigger analysis: this study has shown that many of the flood events can be traced in the GFDS and Twitter signal, as a relative increase in signal compared to the baseline. However, there is currently no link between a certain signal magnitude and the probability or intensity of a flood and, therefore, with certain preparedness or response measures. Further research efforts are needed to analyze the signal magnitude during floods in various geographical settings, to link these magnitudes to relevant preparedness measures at the side of humanitarian organizations, and to establish the communication links between the data producers and humanitarian organizations to enable these actions to be taken.
- Linking signals with vulnerabilities: humanitarian organizations such as the PRC are conducting regular Vulnerability Capacity Assessments (VCAs) in order to understand the vulnerability of communities . There is a potential for linking the flood signals from satellite observation and social media to detailed knowledge of the vulnerabilities in the area, to make a more substantiated judgment about potential humanitarian actions in the region.
- Citizen reporters: there are currently initiatives ongoing in the Philippines to deploy “citizen reporters”, which are civilians who are asked for real-time information of ongoing events which is then used publicly by TV news stations. The system of citizen reporters may be equally valuable for humanitarian organizations, who could follow and support their volunteers during ongoing events, using social media such as Twitter. Research is needed to assess how such an approach could be implemented in the work flow of humanitarian organizations, and how this could be used to improve disaster response.
- Partnerships: Easy access to information generated by social media, and using it accordingly, can be a way forward towards new partnerships in disaster preparedness and response, and towards evolving approaches of working together. Research is needed to establish which partners are currently involved in disaster reduction and response, and how harnessing social media could change their relationships.
Conflicts of Interest
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Jongman, B.; Wagemaker, J.; Romero, B.R.; De Perez, E.C. Early Flood Detection for Rapid Humanitarian Response: Harnessing Near Real-Time Satellite and Twitter Signals. ISPRS Int. J. Geo-Inf. 2015, 4, 2246-2266. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijgi4042246
Jongman B, Wagemaker J, Romero BR, De Perez EC. Early Flood Detection for Rapid Humanitarian Response: Harnessing Near Real-Time Satellite and Twitter Signals. ISPRS International Journal of Geo-Information. 2015; 4(4):2246-2266. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijgi4042246Chicago/Turabian Style
Jongman, Brenden, Jurjen Wagemaker, Beatriz Revilla Romero, and Erin Coughlan De Perez. 2015. "Early Flood Detection for Rapid Humanitarian Response: Harnessing Near Real-Time Satellite and Twitter Signals" ISPRS International Journal of Geo-Information 4, no. 4: 2246-2266. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijgi4042246