Implementing a real-time Twitter-based system for resource dispatch in disaster management

Xiannian Chen, Gregory Elmes, Xinyue Ye, Jinhua Chang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


This study investigates the possibility of utilizing VGI in disaster management. Effective cross-jurisdictional disaster management requires real-time information, which is not available from official sources. This paper identifies tweets from Twitter as a potential VGI data source and shows how to discover and utilize relevant tweets. The paper proposes research methods for real-time (or near real-time) tweets harvesting, live tweets saving in a distributed geodatabase, and real-time VGI data redistribution. The study implements a Web GIS application as a platform for geo-tagged tweets operation. The implemented Web GIS application includes a tweet discovery component, a geo-tagged tweets mapping component, as well as an online geo-tagged tweets operation and analysis component. The major tasks include how to record the harvested geo-tagged tweets in a geodatabase so that it can be redistributed in real-time. Based on tweets from Hurricane Joaquin in 2015 and a hypothetical mass evacuation, the case study evaluates the pros and cons of VGI for response in emergency management. Spatial–temporal analysis components are also demonstrated.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)863-873
Number of pages11
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1 2016
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geography, Planning and Development


  • Disaster management
  • Distributed geodatabase
  • Geo-tagged tweets
  • Tweets
  • Volunteered geographic information
  • Web GIS


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