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 ThinkTank<br />Welcome!<br />
Welcome and Introductions<br />Organisation<br />Tolmie MacRae<br />Rebecca Paget<br />Maurits van der Vlugt<br />And of course: You!<br />Thank You!<br /> Google Australia for the Catering<br />
Program for the day<br />9 – 11 AM: Morning presentations<br />11:30 AM:<br />Ushahidi 101<br />Dev/Hacker & Business Streams<br />1 PM Lunch<br />2 PM: <br />Open StreetMap info session<br />Streams Continue<br />4:30 PM: Reconvene, present outcomes<br />6PM: End<br />
Japan Earthquake and Tsunami<br />“Crisis Commons” worldwide community <br />Citizen reporting site up within hours<br />Using Ushahidi Platform (free & open source)<br />Hosted on the cloud<br />Hundreds of volunteers across the globe<br />Collect, validate & map citizen reports<br />
Black Saturday: Information Breakdown<br />Official Agencies & Emergency Services<br />Slow & Overwhelmed<br />000 Overloaded<br />Few Alternative Sources<br />Rumours & Misinformation<br />Confusion, Misdirection, …<br />
Community Need<br />From Strathewen Recovery Committee:<br />Grassroots Community Reporting<br />Fast, localised, community driven<br />Self-help <br />Integration with Official Sources<br />Integrate with Agency Feeds<br />Inform Emergency Services (add to COP)<br /> Bushfire Connect initiative<br />
Bushfire Connect<br />Community Powered<br />Community Resilience<br />Integrate Crowd Sourced and Official Information<br />
Where to from here?<br />Since May 2010<br />‘Live’ site up and running (launched 7 Feb)<br />Volunteer time & $2000 cash<br />Community Engagement (Trials: Eaglehawk, Flowerdale)<br />Very little fire activity!<br />Next steps<br />Get ready for 2011/12 Fire Season<br />Partners & Sponsors<br />Grant application submitted<br />All Hazards<br />
Recap<br />Timely<br />Near real time publishing of reports<br />Relevant<br />Combining official and community reports<br />Tailored<br />Alerts tailored to your needs<br />
We are looking for partners & volunteers!<br />http://bushfireconnect.org<br />Twitter: @bushfireconnect<br />email@example.com(Or email me: Maurits.firstname.lastname@example.org )<br />Join the “Ushahidi-101” training session after morning tea?<br />