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Bridging the gap think tank

Bridging the gap think tank



Social Media in Emergency Management, presentation at Sydney "Bridging the Gap" Crisis Camp

Social Media in Emergency Management, presentation at Sydney "Bridging the Gap" Crisis Camp



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  • Australia is a land of extremes. Only last week, we had to deal with Floods, a Heatwave, a Cyclone and BushfiresI’m going to show you some cool examples of how social media is being used in emergencies
  • Today, people all over the world use twitter, facebook, and blogs to let us, and each-other know what’s happening.From the Black Saturday Bushfires, to the Haiti Earthquake and the Japan Tsunami
  • This is challenging to the Emergency Services, who have a strong Command & Control Culture,that deals with verified, trusted & accountable information.A process that is slow by necessity
  • On the other hand: the “Crowd” is radically different:It’s all about citizen reporting: telling a local storyIt’s immediate, self organising, and self correcting
  • These two, complimentary, ecosystems connect through two bridgesagency to community: broadcasting alerts through social mediaAnd the other way around: harvesting information from the crowd
  • For example, the NSW RFS use Facebook and twitter to send warnings to the community.This is a traditional ‘broadcast’ model, though using social media toolsSo, wouldn’t it be great if you could turn this information flow around?
  • Also: “Did you feel it” website: http://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/dyfi/form.php?enabled=false
  • So let’s look at how this all worked during the Queensland FloodsRemember, the floods killed 35 people, did over 30 Billion Dollars damage, and oh, it gave us a Flood Levy So what happened on the Social Media front?
  • Interestingly:Queensland police used Facebook as their flood information channelThat was great for two simple reasons:- Most people are already familiar with Facebook- Facebook doesn’t go down under heavy traffic!
  • And then here was Everymap, a Hyperlocal news serviceWith Everymap, people report locally, and get alerted locally, about lots of stuff, from lost pets, to great shopping deals, and of course: emergencies!
  • This one’s my favourite:Awesome in its simplicity – it brings together people who need a place to stay, with people who have a spare bed.Last count: 700 people offering free accomodation!
  • And the list goes on: The ABC created a Queensland Floods crisis for people to map what’s happening.During the floods, the site collected no fewer than 100.000 citizen reports!
  • So how can we ‘harvest’ this rich source of crowdsourced intelligence, and put it to good use?This is a so-called ‘heatmap’, showing the report density from the ABC crisis map we just saw. (Yellow is many reports, blue is fewer)You’d think this is an obvious source of information for the emergency services
  • Think again!Enter the fear-mongers:“Surely We cannot rely on unverified tweets, it might be a hoax!”“I mean, imagine, what if rumours create a panic, people might die!”
  • Really?In reality, Emergency Services cannot afford to ignore this anymoreThis is happening anyway. The train is leaving the station, it’s time to get on board.
  • This is why last Monday, a small group of volunteers launched Bushfire Connect, a hyperlocal reporting tool, like we’ve seen in Everymap & the ABC FloodsmapOn it’s first day in action, it got it’s baptism of fire (yes!) with the Perth Bushfires that destroyed more than 70 homes.
  • It’s a really simple concept:You see somethingYou report it, for instance by SMSIt gets mappedI get an alertThat’s it, simple, but effective
  • So don’t forget:The role of Social Media in Crisis Management is exploding, and for good reason.People are organising themselves, and the emergency services need to get on board, or miss the boatPlease have a look at BushfireConnect.org

Bridging the gap think tank Bridging the gap think tank Presentation Transcript

  • Bridging the Gap ThinkTank
  • Welcome and Introductions
    Tolmie MacRae
    Rebecca Paget
    Maurits van der Vlugt
    And of course: You!
    Thank You!
    Google Australia for the Catering
  • Program for the day
    9 – 11 AM: Morning presentations
    11:30 AM:
    Ushahidi 101
    Dev/Hacker & Business Streams
    1 PM Lunch
    2 PM:
    Open StreetMap info session
    Streams Continue
    4:30 PM: Reconvene, present outcomes
    6PM: End
  • Morning Program
  • Trust, Transparency & Timeliness
    Using social media to empower communities in the face of disaster
    Maurits van der Vlugt

  • There is a need for change […]
    Empower communities with Timely, Relevant and Tailored information
    Craig Lapsley, VIC FSC

  • Photo: ieplexus.com
  • Bridging the Ecosystems
  • A2C Sample
  • Twitter Earthquake Detector (TED)
    Filter Tweets for Earthquakes (place, time, keyword)
    <60 sec detection
    Contextual info (photos, narratives)
  • Social Media & Queensland Floods
    Photo: Courier Mail
  • Agency to Community
  • Community Reporting 1
  • Community Reporting 3
  • Community Reporting 2
  • Harvesting Crowdsourced information
  • The Fear Factor
  • The Fear Factor
  • Japan Earthquake and Tsunami
    “Crisis Commons” worldwide community
    Citizen reporting site up within hours
    Using Ushahidi Platform (free & open source)
    Hosted on the cloud
    Hundreds of volunteers across the globe
    Collect, validate & map citizen reports
  • http://www.sinsai.info/ushahidi
  • Black Saturday: Information Breakdown
    Official Agencies & Emergency Services
    Slow & Overwhelmed
    000 Overloaded
    Few Alternative Sources
    Rumours & Misinformation
    Confusion, Misdirection, …
  • Community Need
    From Strathewen Recovery Committee:
    Grassroots Community Reporting
    Fast, localised, community driven
    Integration with Official Sources
    Integrate with Agency Feeds
    Inform Emergency Services (add to COP)
     Bushfire Connect initiative
  • Bushfire Connect
    Community Powered
    Community Resilience
    Integrate Crowd Sourced and Official Information
  • Citizen Reports
    Web form
  • Incident Alerts – OPT IN
  • Where to from here?
    Since May 2010
    ‘Live’ site up and running (launched 7 Feb)
    Volunteer time & $2000 cash
    Community Engagement (Trials: Eaglehawk, Flowerdale)
    Very little fire activity!
    Next steps
    Get ready for 2011/12 Fire Season
    Partners & Sponsors
    Grant application submitted
    All Hazards
  • Recap
    Near real time publishing of reports
    Combining official and community reports
    Alerts tailored to your needs
  • We are looking for partners & volunteers!
    Twitter: @bushfireconnect
    info@bushfireconnect.org(Or email me: Maurits.vandervlugt@mercuryps.com.au )
    Join the “Ushahidi-101” training session after morning tea?
  • Bridging the Gap, What’s next?
    3 Streams
    Ushahidi 101
    BarCamp (Ideas/Projects!)
  • Reconvene
    Group reports
    Next steps