Now that another hurricane is approaching the Atlantic coast of the United States, social media sites such as Twitter will be full of reports about what’s going on on the ground. This is useful information for emergency management teams that are working on coordinating where to direct resources, but the flow of this information can be overwhelming.
A team at Purdue University has developed a piece of software that is able to aggregate and parse postings on Twitter and Instagram that are related to an emergency, including geographically so that crisis managers have an idea about the impact and the needs of those affected. It’s called Social Media Analytics and Reporting Toolkit (SMART) and it provides maps and tools to setup world filters to understand the developing nature of a particular situation.
The researchers are now working to turn their software into a real product that is easy to use and that can be distributed to the various crisis management agencies around the U.S. and the world.
Here’s a short video about the project: