With the increasing availability and advancements of mobile technologies with internet, it has become possible to quickly catch up with latest news around the world and share information through social media such as Facebook and Twitter. Especially during and after a disaster, the information obtained from citizens can be helpful and valuable for local authorities in identifying the extent, intensity and impacts of the hazardous event. Application-driven data collection techniques using mobile devices and social media allowed for the collection of citizens-based information in real time.
Are you aware that you could even contribute for better management of natural hazards (e.g. in the case of floods) through your tweets? In the recent years, researchers have developed approaches for real-time flood mapping using the social media network such as Twitter, enabling citizens to report the information related to flood conditions.
One of such examples is the work of Deltares (https://www.deltares.nl) and Floodtags (https://www.floodtags.com/); which an independent research institute and a social enterprise based in The Netherlands for water management. They have studied how Twitter data could be used for disaster response with a pilot case in Jakarta (Indonesia), where floods pose a continuous thread to citizens every year. Taking advantage of citizens’ activeness on social media, in particular on Twitter, a concept was developed which combined observed information (i.e. depth and location of floods) with a Digital Elevation Model (DEM) to produce flood extent maps in almost real-time .