3.3 Web-based Integration of Social Media Streams with Weather and Infrastructure Data to Facilitate Decision-making During Hazardous Weather Episodes

Monday, 11 January 2016: 4:30 PM
Room 255/257 ( New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center)
Shawn Freeman, Northrop Grumman, Chantilly, VA; and G. Higgins, K. Darmenova, A. Maffei, and J. Lynch

Effective communication during periods of extreme weather requires accurate and timely dissemination of information to the affected population. The National Weather Service (NWS) has been using social media tools to educate the public, communicate critical weather information and to engage the general population and partners on important weather and environmental issues as part of the effort to build a Weather-Ready Nation. Social media has also played an integral part in sending essential severe weather information back to the NWS via storm spotter tweets or crowdsourcing weather apps such as mPING to improve forecasts and adjust issued warnings and watches. Combining social media streams (e.g. Twitter and RSS feeds) of traffic patterns, road and school closings, and damage reports with essential weather information can facilitate the decision making process during and after a severe weather event. However data streams coming from individual state and local entities remain largely disparate with end users such as emergency managers not able to integrate critical datasets within a common operating picture for the purpose of decision-making.

Our Environmental Decision Support System (EDSS) has been addressing some of the existing deficiencies by developing a framework for impact-based decision support services; the system integrates several open source packages to create an easily accessible, yet robust, web application for integrating, searching and viewing weather and geospatial information. EDSS provides intuitive Geographic Information System (GIS) interfaces for searching and managing metadata ingested from multiple data sets and data sources. The system serves overlays and information for visual presentations of the data through Web Mapping Services (WMS) and Web Feature Services (WFS) by ingesting various scientific and geospatial formats (e.g. ESRI shapefiles, GeoTIFFs, KML, NetCDF, HDF and GRIB files). In addition, EDSS can ingest and display real time Tweeter feeds, geolocated RSS feeds, images and videos from multiple providers. Combined with a custom visualization web application, the EDSS provides a simple, efficient means for users to integrate weather, social media and regional and local infrastructure data for the purpose of informed decision-making and improved situational awareness in local rescue and relief efforts. 1-2015-->

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