Exactly what role can social data play in natural disasters?
We collaborated with Gnip Plugged In partner, Alteryx, to do data mashups around FEMA relief related to Hurricane Sandy for a recent presentation at the Glue Conference. Alteryx makes it easy for users to solve data analysis problems and make decisions.
Gnip and Alteryx created a data mashup for Hurricane Sandy using six different data sources showing what kinds of tools we can create after natural disasters. Starting with mapping from TomTom, the data mashup also included data about businesses from Dun & Bradstreet, demographic data from Experian, registrations from FEMA, geotagged articles from Metacarta, and geotagged Tweets from Gnip. We concentrated on FEMA efforts and reactions during spring 2013.
This kind of data mashup allows us to drill down into multiple aspects of evacuation zones. One of the easiest examples of this mashup is the ability to see what services and resources are available from businesses (from Dun & Bradstreet) while complimentary official efforts are organized.
Or it can help prioritize which areas to assist first by mashing population densities with registrations from FEMA.
Using geotagged social data from Twitter is another way to identify areas that need help, as well as monitor recovering areas. Combining sentiment analysis with Tweets provides instant feedback on the frustrations or successes that constituents are feeling and seeing.
We think this type of data mashups with Alteryx is just the beginning of what is possible with social data. If you have questions or ideas for data mashups, leave it in the comments!