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Human Sensor Networks for Improved Modeling of Natural Disasters

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2 Author(s)
Oleg Aulov ; Department of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering, University of Maryland Baltimore County, Baltimore, MD, USA ; Milton Halem

In this paper, we present a novel approach that views social media (SM) data as a human sensor network. These data can serve as a low-cost augmentation to an observing system, which can be incorporated into geophysical models together with other scientific data such as satellite observations and sensor measurements. As a use case scenario, we analyze the Deepwater Horizon oil spill disaster. We gather SM data that mention sightings of oil from Flickr, geolocate them, and use them as boundary forcings in the General NOAA Oil Modeling Environment (GNOME) software for oil spill predictions. We show how SM data can be incorporated into the GNOME model to obtain improved estimates of the model parameters such as rates of oil spill, couplings between surface winds and ocean currents, diffusion coefficient, and other model parameters.

Published in:

Proceedings of the IEEE  (Volume:100 ,  Issue: 10 )