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Spatial, temporal, and content analysis of Twitter for wildfire hazards

Abstract

Social media data are increasingly being used for enhancing situational awareness and assisting disaster management. We analyzed the wildfire-related Twitter activities in terms of their attributes pertinent to space, time, content, and network, so as to gain insights into the usefulness of social media data in revealing situational awareness. Findings show that social media data can characterize the wildfire across space and over time, and thus are applicable to provide useful information on disaster situations. Second, people have strong geographical awareness during wildfire hazards and are interested in communicating situational updates related to wildfire damage (e.g., containment percentage and burned acres), wildfire response (e.g., evacuation), and appreciation to firefighters. Third, news media and local authorities are opinion leaders and play a dominant role in the wildfire retweet network.

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Acknowledgments

This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 1416509, project titled “Spatiotemporal Modeling of Human Dynamics Across Social Media and Social Networks”. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.

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Correspondence to Xinyue Ye.

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Wang, Z., Ye, X. & Tsou, MH. Spatial, temporal, and content analysis of Twitter for wildfire hazards. Nat Hazards 83, 523–540 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11069-016-2329-6

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11069-016-2329-6

Keywords

  • Social media
  • Disaster
  • Emergency management
  • Twitter
  • Wildfire
  • San Diego