Twitter Floods when it Rains: A Case Study of the UK Floods in early 2014
Twitter is one of the most prominent social media platforms nowadays. A primary reason that has brought the medium at the spotlight of academic attention is its real-time nature, with people constantly uploading information regarding their surroundings. This trait, coupled with the service’s data access policy for researchers and developers, has allowed the community to explore Twitter’s potential as a news reporting tool. Finding out promptly about newsworthy events can prove extremely useful in crisis management situations. In this paper, we explore the use of Twitter as a mechanism used in disaster relief, and consequently in public safety. In particular, we perform a case study on the floods that occurred in the United Kingdom during January 2014, and how these were re- flected on Twitter, according to tweets (i.e., posts) submitted by the users. We present a systematic algorithmic analysis of tweets collected with respect to our use case scenario, supplemented by visual analytic tools. Our objective is to identify meaningful and effective ways to take advantage of the wealth of Twitter data in crisis management, and we report on the findings of our analysis.