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STCSN E-Letter Vol.2 No.1

Social Media Analysis for Crisis Management

Welcome to the STCSN E-Letter Vol.2 No.1! 

  • Editorial
    Hermann Hellwagner, Daniela Pohl and Rene Kaiser)
  • The BRIDGE Project - Social Media Analysis for Crisis Management
    (by Hermann Hellwagner)
    Abstract: BRIDGE is a European collaborative project established within the Security Research sector of the European Commission. The basic goal of BRIDGE is to contribute to the safety of citizens by developing technical and organisational solutions that improve crisis and emergency management in EU member states. A (middleware) platform is being developed that is to provide technical support for multi-agency collaboration in large-scale emergency relief efforts. Several tools and software systems are being implemented and tested to support first responders in their efforts. Beyond technical considerations, organisational measures are being explored to ensure interoperability and cooperation among involved parties; social, ethical and legal issues are being investigated as well. A focus of the project is to demonstrate and validate its results in the course of real-world emergency response exercises. Since most of the BRIDGE work is beyond the scope of this e-letter on social networking, only a brief overview of the BRIDGE goals and work will be given. However, one thread of work is relevant in the context of social networking and deserves to be covered more closely: automatic detection of notable sub-events of a crisis from social networks. This activity makes use of crisis-related information coming from citizens via social networks and thus contributes to building an improved operational picture in a crisis situation and to better planning and performing crisis response tasks.
  • Crisis-related Sub-Event Detection Based on Clustering
    Daniela Pohl, Abdelhamid Bouchachia, Hermann Hellwagner)
    Abstract: This contribution summarizes our research work in the context of social media analysis and crisis management. It focuses on the detection of sub-events, which are special hotspots of a crisis that emergency management teams must be aware of. We give an overview on our investigations done in the offline sub-event detection area and summarize the corresponding evaluation results. We also provide some insights into our current work on online sub-event detection (i.e., online features selection and incremental clustering).
  • Connected Communities in Crises
    (by Monika Büscher and Michael Liegl)

    Abstract: Social media enable new practices of public engagement in formal emergency response, but the scale and speed of innovation at this juncture has outpaced the development of ethically, legally and socially ‘virtuous’ practices and technologies. We discuss positive and negative frictions and avenues for socio-technical innovation that bridge between connected communities in crises and professional responders.
  • Combining Human and Machine Intelligence for Processing of Twitter Data During Mass Emergencies
    (by Sarah Vieweg and Carlos Castillo)
    Abstract: Members of the public play a critical role in disaster and mass emergency situations; after an earthquake strikes, a hurricane makes landfall, or a wildfire begins to spread, area residents are first on the scene to start search and rescue operations, organize food and shelter, and help injured victims. Heightened use of information communication technologies (ICT) in disasters has extended the range of who can actively participate and respond in such situations—the ability to help is no longer limited to local or nearby populations. Through the use of social media sites and microblogging platforms, people who are thousands of miles from the area of impact can volunteer and help direct information, organize relief efforts, offer advice, and gather and distribute useful data.
  • Monitoring Social Media for Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief
    (by Shamanth Kumar, Fred Morstatter, and Huan Liu)
    Abstract: Social media has emerged as a major platform for information sharing. Twitter, one such platform, is transforming the way people communicate, particularly during crises. One area that particularly benefits from this new information channel is Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief.  Twitter has been widely used in several major crisis around the world to share and transmit critical information. During the Boston Marathon Bombings in 2013, first reports of the incident were published on Twitter. This event grew to become one of the most-discussed events of the year. A challenge in leveraging tweets for crisis monitoring is information deluge. Identifying relevant information manually during a crisis is a daunting task. In this paper, we present two systems: TweetTracker and TweetXplorer, which are designed to address this challenge and aid first responders in monitoring emerging crises. TweetTracker is a tweet collection and aggregation system that addresses the problem of monitoring big social media data. It facilitates the collection and analysis of tweets from crises. TweetXplorer is an analysis platform, which addresses the challenge of understanding the big data generated during a crisis on social media. Using visual analytics, the platform allows first responders to gain insights from crisis data. Together these systems provide a collaborative environment where the users can monitor and analyze tweets to gain insight into crises via Twitter and efficiently identify relevant information using partially automated mechanisms.
  • Consumability of Social Web Insights  in Emerging Economies
    (by Maja Vukovic, Jim Laredo, Osamuyimen Stewart and Anthony Mwangi)
    Abstract: Local governments and enterprises are increasingly relying on social media to engage with citizens and employees, and respond to events (both natural and man-made disasters). In this paper we present results from a pilot deployment of CrisisTracker [3] in Kenya. We discuss the applicability of this system to monitoring and responding to different types of security events in the region. We describe how we addressed one of the key challenges – low volume of user-generated data in the region by extending the system to incorporate the on-line newspaper corpus. We conclude with our insights of what are the key challenges in adapting and making the existing technologies consumable by emerging economies.
  • Social Media Analysis for Crisis Management: A Brief Survey
    (by Daniela Pohl)
    Abstract: Social media is getting increasingly important during a crisis, especially due to the widespread usage of mobile devices (e.g., phones). People can document whenever and whatever they want in several modes (i.e., pictures, videos and/or text). Social media gives an opportunity to communicate the current situation to other (affected) people or to emergency agencies although mobile phone or emergency lines may be overloaded. In the last years, studies were conducted focusing on different aspects of social media in crisis management underlining its continuously increasing importance in this area. Also, systems, tools and algorithms performing social media analysis have been developed and implemented to automatize monitoring, classification or aggregation tasks. This contribution summarizes important research work (i.e., work not already covered within a separate contribution in this E-Letter) using social media (analysis) in the context of crisis management. It gives an overview on existing case studies and analysis frameworks developed to support emergency agencies in several crisis management activities. This work should be seen as a starting point for people interested in this topic or coming from similar research areas to gain an overview on social media analysis in crisis management.

How to cite this E-Letter edition?
Hermann Hellwagner, Daniela Pohl and Rene Kaiser (ed.), "Social Media Analysis for Crisis Management", IEEE Computer Society Special Technical Community on Social Networking E-Letter, vol. 2, no. 1, March 2014.