Acknowledgments: We would like to acknowledge Eric Fischer and Maksim Tsvetovat for their assistance.
#Earthquake: Twitter as a Distributed Sensor System
Article first published online: 8 OCT 2012
© 2012 Blackwell Publishing Ltd
Transactions in GIS
Volume 17, Issue 1, pages 124–147, February 2013
How to Cite
Crooks, A., Croitoru, A., Stefanidis, A. and Radzikowski, J. (2013), #Earthquake: Twitter as a Distributed Sensor System. Transactions in GIS, 17: 124–147. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-9671.2012.01359.x
- Issue published online: 3 FEB 2013
- Article first published online: 8 OCT 2012
Social media feeds are rapidly emerging as a novel avenue for the contribution and dissemination of information that is often geographic. Their content often includes references to events occurring at, or affecting specific locations. Within this article we analyze the spatial and temporal characteristics of the twitter feed activity responding to a 5.8 magnitude earthquake which occurred on the East Coast of the United States (US) on August 23, 2011. We argue that these feeds represent a hybrid form of a sensor system that allows for the identification and localization of the impact area of the event. By contrasting this with comparable content collected through the dedicated crowdsourcing ‘Did You Feel It?’ (DYFI) website of the U.S. Geological Survey we assess the potential of the use of harvested social media content for event monitoring. The experiments support the notion that people act as sensors to give us comparable results in a timely manner, and can complement other sources of data to enhance our situational awareness and improve our understanding and response to such events.