"In order for the rescue and recovery teams to help improve situational awareness and the common operating picture it's vital that we understand the large scale of this event. But it is equally important to help tackle information about the local level impacts" Says Cat Graham, Chief Operations Officer.
Press Release (ePRNews.com) - WASHINGTON - Sep 12, 2017 - Social Media reports are providing early insights for officials and first responders trying to get a grasp on the broad impacts of Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma. With volumes of data reaching into millions of records, it can be difficult to get a clear picture on the ground. Academia, Technology and Nonprofit Teams are turning to human hands powered with technology and artificial intelligence to help comb through millions of bits of data.
The story emerges on a diverse set of social networking sites including Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, Instagram, Zello, and Snapchat. “Humanity Road has reached out for surge support during sudden large scale disaster.” Shares Chris Thompson “We work in the cloud and often partner with academic students to assist on large scale events such as Hurricane Irma. For our response to the triple punch of Harvey, Irma and Jose, we are working with cadets from the U.S. Coast Guard Academy.”
“We support the public as well as federal, state and local agencies such as FEMA and our tech sector partners, but we also provide information and reports to our others such as the medical sector partners Americares and Health Care Ready. We were able to log over 1,000 records and relay 500 medical needs to our partners. Our goal is to help to quickly improve communications which facilitates rapid delivery of aid.”
In response to Hurricane Harvey, Humanity Road collaborated with the Standby Task Force as well as Texas University. Dr. T. Edwin Chow with the Department of Geography at the Texas University joined the solution team by creating a heat map track of twitter to visualize the time-series of geolocated twitter reports in the affected area. This type of trend analysis can show fluctuations including trends resulting from loss of power or communications.
Strategic partnerships with whole community partners are helping tackle big problems. Disaster response is not isolated to local and state response teams. Large aid responders such as hospital ships and military relief teams are also building these relationships. Two weeks before the storms struck Humanity Road was in the heart of Silicon Valley, San Jose California, practicing with military representatives from twenty nations in the Asian basin for an annual exercise called Pacific Endeavor. Pacific Endeavor is a multinational communications exercise that helps improve communications for humanitarian aid and disaster response.
What can the public do? Get involved, by volunteering. To volunteer in Florida visit https://www.volunteerflorida.org/irma/ To become a digital volunteer and work from home visit https://www.volunteerflorida.org/irma/humanityroad.org “Our hearts go out to all of those impacted by these severe storms. We are here, and we are listening because no call for help should go unheard. ” Shared Chris Thompson.
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