Hacking to Improve Disaster Response with Qlik, Medair and Gnip

At Gnip, we’re always excited to hear about groups and individuals who are using social data in unique ways to improve our world. We were recently fortunate enough to support this use of social data for humanitarian good first-hand. Along with Plugged In to Gnip partner, Qlik, and international relief organization, Medair, we hosted a hackathon focused on global disaster response.

The hackathon took place during Qlik’s annual partner conference in Orlando and studied social content from last year’s Typhoon Haiyan. Historical Twitter data from Gnip was paired with financial information from Medair to give participants the opportunity to create new analytic tools on Qlik’s QlikView.Next BI platform. The Twitter data set specifically included Tweets from users in the Philippines for the two week period around Typhoon Haiyan in November of 2013. The unique combination of data and platform allowed the hackathon developers to dissect and visualize a massive social data set with the goal of uncovering new insights that could be applied in future natural disasters.

For example, one team used Gnip’s Profile Geo Enrichment to map Tweets from highly-specific areas according to keywords such as “water”, “food” or “shelter”. Identifying trends in which geographic areas have greater needs for certain types of aid could provide a model for improving disaster response times and efficiencies. Another team analyzed spikes in the use of certain hashtags as a way to uncover actionable data being shared about the residual impacts of the typhoon. The developers’ efforts were all brought to life through the QlikView.Next visualization platform, making the resulting insight discovery process very intuitive and easy to comprehend. The results were pretty amazing, and here’s a look at the winning app!


“With Gnip’s support, we were extremely honored to be able to work with Medair for this year’s Qlik Hackathon and help them use data to further the impact of the great work they are doing worldwide,” said Peter McQuade, vice president of Corporate Social Responsibility at Qlik. “It provides Medair with an application that supports their fundraising efforts and ultimately helps change our world by maximizing the impact of their work with some of the world’s most vulnerable people.”

We would like to express our sincere thanks to both Medair and Qlik for inviting us to participate in such a meaningful cause. The hackathon produced new social data applications that Medair and first responder teams may be able to use in future disaster response efforts to better help those immediately affected. As for Gnip, we can’t wait to see how social data will be applied toward other humanitarian causes moving forward!