Boosting community resilience in disasters
Collective Awareness Platforms for Sustainability & Social Innovation
Disasters and other crises frequently provoke damage and chaos all over the world. Factors such as culture, history and geography can influence the capacity of a community to respond and recover from such events.
Fortunately, technology play a role in the response phase and influence the capacity of a community to react to crisis.
For example, fostering access to information for all parties involved in a crisis is a way to enable people to become more aware of what is happening and to empower them to consciously act.
To overcome the many barriers related to information access during crises, COMRADES provides filtered and validated information to the local communities.
The COMRADES platform uses the latest Artificial Intelligence techniques to help citizens and digital responders by automatically identifying and discarding content that is irrelevant, uninformative or untrustworthy typical characteristics of data shared during crises on social media.
COMRADES also helps communities to establish contact after a crisis in order to share information and collaborate.
Already tested in difficult contexts, the use of the COMRADES platform produces benefits both from an economic and social perspective. It also enhances the capacity of private and public actors to be in touch with civil society during difficult situations.
Description of the outcome
Boosting community resilience in disasters
Boosting community resilience in case of emergency is not easy, but technology can assist.
For this reason, COMRADES is working on a next-generation intelligent socio-technical platform to increase crisis situational awareness.
The aim is to provide a space for citizens, public authorities and private actors to be more resistant to crises by enabling information sharing in real time and so to help in applying ad-hoc solutions to recover from crises.
Just think about what has recently happened during emergencies such as hurricanes. Massive information is provided by citizens and other actors on social media and beyond, but how much of this information is relevant and useful? Which information discusses emergency events? Who knows who is providing the correct information? How is it possible to know which information is trustworthy and which is not?
COMRADES helps to solve these issues by providing a platform that brings together people and A.I. methods to establish an efficient and crisis-tailored information sharing environment.
The COMRADES platform has been developed over the well-known Ushahidi platform for crisis mapping, thus giving the chance to users to perform new activities such as:
- Quickly filter the citizen reports as they arrive from social media and mobile texts
- Remove uninformative and irrelevant ones
- Point out unreliable sources
- Pick up, and alert, to several lone messages requesting urgent help during a crisis
- Extract, group, and monitor unfolding emergency micro-events (e.g., people injured, shelter or medical requests).
To perform all the previous tasks, COMRADES has developed several outputs that make the platform work. The most prominent outputs so far are YODIE and CREES.
YODIE is a multilingual named entity recognition and disambiguation based on the GATE architecture, and is made available to the community as open source software.
CREES (Crisis Event Extraction Service), is a service for automatically processing short texts (e.g., tweets) by:
- identifying if a document is related to a crisis;
- the type of event discussed (e.g., “earthquake”, “explosion”, “fire”), and
- the type of information present in a document (e.g., “affected_individuals”, “sympathy_and_support”, “donations_and_volunteering”)
COMRADES realizes the interrelation between data science and information processing and management to provide support to all the stakeholders affected by crises.
What you need to use it
The COMRADES platform doesn’t require any specific skills or ability but only a web access via computer or mobile and basic common web skills. Do you want to your community to be resilient in case of emergency? Check here how to do it
The other outputs connected to it require little more knowledge: for example, programming skills for integrating YODIE or CREES.
Do you want to contribute?
The COMRADES Platform will be freely available in open source repositories.
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