Floods and Social Media: Coping with the Deluge 1

Rodney ClarkeBy Associate Professor Rodney Clarke

Social media platforms are proliferating globally both in terms of the number of platforms and also the intensity of their use. Some countries use Twitter as a valid source of emergency information and incorporate it as one of the primary sources of emergency intelligence.

This is the case in Jakarta, Indonesia where a web-based system called PetaJakarta.org, developed at the SMART Infrastructure Facility, University of Wollongong, harnesses information provided in Tweets to gather, sort, and display information about flooding for Jakarta residents and Emergency Services in real time

Jakarta is for the most part below sea-level and floods many times a year. This effect is being amplified by rising sea levels due to global warming. The conditions faced by Jakarta are similar to those in the majority of megacities in South East Asia.

While social media platforms are embraced in some countries, in Australia and many other countries, the information published on social media platforms by citizens during emergencies is generally not trusted by combat agencies. Twitter for example is often used by Australian combat agencies as a push medium, in other words it’s treated like radio and television as a source of one-way official information directed at citizens.

These challenges will be discussed in my next blog post.

Associate Professor Rodney Clarke is Manager of the Collaboration Laboratory (Co-Lab) at SMART Infrastructure Facility.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *