Utilizing Community Volunteered Information to Enhance Disaster Situational Awareness

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Presentation of David F. Merrick and Tom Duffy on the topic "Utilizing Community Volunteered Information to Enhance Disaster Situational Awareness" at ISCRAM2013

Presentation of David F. Merrick and Tom Duffy on the topic "Utilizing Community Volunteered Information to Enhance Disaster Situational Awareness" at ISCRAM2013

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  • 1. The Florida State University Tallahassee, Florida Utilizing Community Volunteered Information to Enhance Disaster Situational Awareness David Merrick Tom Duffy Center for Disaster Risk Policy, Florida State University 10th International ISCRAM Conference, May 2013
  • 2. Traditional Inputs to Situational Awareness There are a variety of traditional data inputs feeding situational awareness, including:  Reconnaissance and damage assessments  Weather reports and forecasts  Geographical and population information  Partner organization reports  Private sector reports This data is combined to create a conceptual model of the disaster as it currently exists, as well as projections for how it is going to evolve. Merrick and Duffy, May 2013 10th International ISCRAM Conference, Baden-Baden, Germany
  • 3. Community Volunteered Information  Why are response agencies interested in CVI and other crowdsourced information?  Further, it provides a participatory channel for citizens and survivors to help themselves and others. Merrick and Duffy, May 2013 10th International ISCRAM Conference, Baden-Baden, Germany
  • 4. Barriers to Adoption There are significant barriers to adoption of CVI into situational awareness processes and workflows. Lack of authenticity and trust  Emergency and disaster managers swear by ‘ground truth’, and they understand how difficult this can be to achieve. How can an average Twitter user be trusted?  And yet… they want fast information. Time intensive  Emergency and disaster managers already have limited personnel resources to accomplish life safety and life sustainment. Resources to process CVI is very limited. Limited models or tools  Existing tools and models for working with CVI (primarily the social media aspect) are aimed at commercial use.  The most powerful systems are too expensive for local EM use. Merrick and Duffy, May 2013 10th International ISCRAM Conference, Baden-Baden, Germany
  • 5. Overcoming Barriers  Lack of trust in CVI stems from a perception by emergency managers of poor accuracy.  Increasing trust in CVI requires overcoming these perceptions through research and case studies.  Further, the perception of poor accuracy stems from a misconception of how CVI can be created and utilized.  FSU EMHS has established an ongoing research program examining the validity of CVI.  Broad goals include:  Development of confidence indicators model for utilizing CVI for situational awareness.  Development of best practices and workflows aimed at practitioners.  Using CVI as an additional layer of information – despite its imperfection. Merrick and Duffy, May 2013 10th International ISCRAM Conference, Baden-Baden, Germany
  • 6. Tropical Storm Debby (2012) Merrick and Duffy, May 2013 10th International ISCRAM Conference, Baden-Baden, Germany 40 MPH Winds at Landfall Maximum surge of 4.49 ft at Cedar Key, Florida Maximum rainfall of 28 inches in Sanborn, Florida. Minimal wind or surge damage, but spawned at least six tornados. Major inland flooding was the primary impact. NWS Final Track - Debby
  • 7. Tropical Storm Debby (2012)  Before landfall, EMHS began to capture Twitter data based on keyword and hashtag searches.  “Debby”, “TSDebby”, “flwx”, “hurricane”, “TS Debby” and others.  No geographical boundaries were utilized.  In a 7 day period, captured 36,317 tweets.  After analysis, it was determined that over 77% of the data did not pertain to the tropical system.  Of the remaining 23% of the data, the concepts with the largest frequency were “rain” and “flood/flooding”  Only 1.2% of the tweets were geocoded with latitude and longitude coordinates. Merrick and Duffy, May 2013 10th International ISCRAM Conference, Baden-Baden, Germany
  • 8. Tropical Storm Debby (2012)  Additional real-time monitoring of Twitter traffic was conducted during landfall and inland progression of the storm.  EMHS used Hootsuite and keywords such as “TSDebby” and “flooding” to identify data points.  Citizen reports were used in the State Emergency Operations Center to get a very basic picture of which counties were receiving flooding.  Significant analysis was not done on this data. Merrick and Duffy, May 2013 10th International ISCRAM Conference, Baden-Baden, Germany
  • 9. Hurricane Isaac (2012) Merrick and Duffy, May 2013 10th International ISCRAM Conference, Baden-Baden, Germany NWS Final Track Isaac made landfall on 29 August 2012 with maximum winds of 70 mph. It was classified as a Category 1 storm. Produced a surge of over 14 feet in Braithwaite, La. Levees in Plaqumines Parrish failed, causing significant flooding. Produced over 20 in, of rain in parts of New Orleans.
  • 10. Hurricane Isaac Field Research  FSU EMHS deployed a team to New Orleans immediately following Isaac’s landfall.  Their mission was to physically verify on CVI reports, assessing accuracy of both community and government information.  This project served as a pilot for ongoing research.  Preliminary results include:  CVI that includes media (photos) was found to be more accurate than CVI without media.  Citizens use terminology that is different than those who work as a responder or in emergency management.  Information submitted may be accurate… but that doesn’t make it relevant.  CVI is not comprehensive – and we cannot assume it will be. It must be used as an additional information layer. Merrick and Duffy, May 2013 10th International ISCRAM Conference, Baden-Baden, Germany
  • 11. Isaac - Accuracy and Relevance Merrick and Duffy, May 2013 10th International ISCRAM Conference, Baden-Baden, Germany
  • 12. Isaac - Accuracy and Relevance Merrick and Duffy, May 2013 10th International ISCRAM Conference, Baden-Baden, Germany
  • 13. Isaac - Consistent Terminology Merrick and Duffy, May 2013 10th International ISCRAM Conference, Baden-Baden, Germany
  • 14. Isaac - Consistent Terminology Merrick and Duffy, May 2013 10th International ISCRAM Conference, Baden-Baden, Germany
  • 15. Ongoing Research  FSU EMHS will continue field research in the United States, particularly as the 2013 Hurricane Season kicks off in June.  We have refined our data collection system to allow us to verify CVI more efficiently in the field.  Expand field research into observations of the State Emergency Operations Center as well as County Emergency Operations Centers.  Utilize the FSU VOST as a test platform for developing models and best practices.  Integrate our developing models into the State of Florida’s Division of Emergency Management through ESF-14 (Public Information), ESF-5 (Planning), and ESF-18 (Business and Industry). Merrick and Duffy, May 2013 10th International ISCRAM Conference, Baden-Baden, Germany
  • 16. Thank you! Questions or Suggestions? For more information: David F. Merrick II dmerrick@fsu.edu Center for Disaster Risk Policy Florida State University 644 Bellamy Tallahassee, Florida 32306-2250 http://em.fsu.edu 850.644.9961 Merrick and Duffy, May 2013 10th International ISCRAM Conference, Baden-Baden, Germany