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Briony Gray, Mark Weal, & David Martin. (2018). Supporting Situational Awareness during Disasters: The Case of Hurricane Irma. In Kristin Stock, & Deborah Bunker (Eds.), Proceedings of ISCRAM Asia Pacific 2018: Innovating for Resilience – 1st International Conference on Information Systems for Crisis Response and Management Asia Pacific. (pp. 123–131). Albany, Auckland, New Zealand: Massey Univeristy.
Abstract: In a rapidly globalizing world, disasters and the way in which they are managed are changing. Social media, in conjunction with other online resources, now provide a wealth of information throughout the lifecycle of disasters and are relied upon by individuals and emergency responders alike. The study of such data as a lens for analysis has proved valuable in recent years, with many contributing to targeted emergency response protocols and improved methods for the management strategies of future crises. This study seeks to make a similar contribution by reporting on the use of such data for situational awareness during the case of hurricane Irma, which occurred between September and August 2017. Using a mixed methods approach the paper examines data from social media such as Twitter, as well as other online sources such as blogs and news media, to provide original insight into the disaster. A conceptual framework is then applied to determine the uses and users of social media, and to identify how these change throughout the course of the disaster, thus demonstrating situational awareness over time. The paper concludes with proposed improvements for disaster management and emergency response for future similar disasters, specifically in the hurricane season, in addition to more generalized hazards which are predicted to increase in their frequency and severity due to underlying issues such as climate change.