Thanks to the excellent work carried out by my colleagues Hemant Purohit and Professor Amit Sheth, we were able to collect 2.7 million tweets posted in the aftermath of the Category 4 Tornado that devastated Moore, Oklahoma. Hemant, who recently spent half-a-year with us at QCRI, kindly took the lead on carrying out some preliminary analysis of the disaster data. He sampled 2.1 million tweets posted during the first 48 hours for the analysis below. Read full post.
FACT: Over half-a-million pictures were shared on Instagram and more than 20 million tweets posted during Hurricane Sandy. The year before, over 100,000 tweets per minute were posted following the Japan Earthquake and Tsunami. Disaster-affected communities are now more likely than ever to be on social media, which dramatically multiplies the amount of user-generated crisis information posted during disasters. Welcome to Big Data—Big Crisis Data.
Humanitarian organizations and emergency management responders are completely unprepared to deal with this volume and velocity of crisis information. Why is this a problem? Because social media can save lives. Recent empirical studies have shown that an important percentage of social media reports include valuable, informative & actionable content for disaster response. Looking for those reports, however, is like searching for needles in a haystack. Finding the most urgent tweets in an information stack of over 20 million tweets (in real time) is indeed a major challenge. Read full post.