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Open AccessArticle

How Do Cities Flow in an Emergency? Tracing Human Mobility Patterns during a Natural Disaster with Big Data and Geospatial Data Science

1
Center for Geospatial Sciences, University of California, Riverside, CA 92521, USA
2
Center for Human Dynamics in the Mobile Age, San Diego State University, San Diego, CA 92182, USA
3
Department of Geosciences, Center for Geospatial Technology, Texas Tech University, Lubbock, TX 79409, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Urban Sci. 2019, 3(2), 51; https://doi.org/10.3390/urbansci3020051
Received: 27 March 2019 / Revised: 20 April 2019 / Accepted: 1 May 2019 / Published: 6 May 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Urban Disaster and Recovery)
Understanding human movements in the face of natural disasters is critical for disaster evacuation planning, management, and relief. Despite the clear need for such work, these studies are rare in the literature due to the lack of available data measuring spatiotemporal mobility patterns during actual disasters. This study explores the spatiotemporal patterns of evacuation travels by leveraging users’ location information from millions of tweets posted in the hours prior and concurrent to Hurricane Matthew. Our analysis yields several practical insights, including the following: (1) We identified trajectories of Twitter users moving out of evacuation zones once the evacuation was ordered and then returning home after the hurricane passed. (2) Evacuation zone residents produced an unusually large number of tweets outside evacuation zones during the evacuation order period. (3) It took several days for the evacuees in both South Carolina and Georgia to leave their residential areas after the mandatory evacuation was ordered, but Georgia residents typically took more time to return home. (4) Evacuees are more likely to choose larger cities farther away as their destinations for safety instead of nearby small cities. (5) Human movements during the evacuation follow a log-normal distribution. View Full-Text
Keywords: human movement; Hurricane Matthew; tropical cyclones; evacuation planning; evacuation travel; geospatial data science; big data; Twitter human movement; Hurricane Matthew; tropical cyclones; evacuation planning; evacuation travel; geospatial data science; big data; Twitter
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Han, S.Y.; Tsou, M.-H.; Knaap, E.; Rey, S.; Cao, G. How Do Cities Flow in an Emergency? Tracing Human Mobility Patterns during a Natural Disaster with Big Data and Geospatial Data Science. Urban Sci. 2019, 3, 51.

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  • Externally hosted supplementary file 1
    Link: http://sarasen.asuscomm.com/Matthew/Sup
    Description: Figure1.pptx contains Figure 1. The copy editor requested me to upload the editable version of Figure 1. Because figure 1 is not editable in Word file, I am uploading the powerpoint.
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