Exploitation of Social Media for Emergency Relief and Preparedness
Organizers: Marie-Francine Moens, Gareth Jones, Saptarshi Ghosh, Debasis Ganguly, Kripabandhu Ghosh and Tanmoy Chakraborty
Keywords: Emergency preparedness, Post-disaster relief, Online Social Media, Dataset
The ever-increasing amounts of user-generated contents on online social media (OSM) platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, WhatsApp, etc. have become important sources of real-time information during emergency events (e.g. natural disasters like earthquakes, cyclones, floods, fire, epidemics or man-made disasters like terror attacks, riots). During such an event, various information is posted on OSM, which can contribute significantly to relief operations. Additionally, crowdsourced content from OSM can also be utilised for emergency preparedness, such as for identifying disaster-prone regions and infrastructures, developing early warning systems, developing emergency-resilient communities, and so on. [Note: the terms “emergency” and “disaster” are used inter-changeably in this proposal.] Given the huge volume and the rapid rates at which content is posted on OSM, automated techniques and information systems need to be developed for extracting, summarizing and presenting the critical information in a useful way. The proposed workshop aims to provide a forum for researchers working on related fields to present their insights. The workshop aims to bring together researchers from diverse fields — Information Retrieval, Data Mining and Machine Learning, Natural Language Processing, Social Network Analysis, Computational Social Science, Human Computer Interaction — who can potentially contribute to utilising social media for emergency relief and preparedness. One specific objective of SMERP 2018 will be to promote multi-modal and multi-view information retrieval, i.e., developing methods for aggregating information from multiple online and offline data sources (including text, images, and video). Another objective of the SMERP workshop series is to provide the research community with real-life datasets to foster research on the theme. Along with a general track, the workshop will include a data-focused track, where we will make available a large dataset of content posted during a recent emergency event, and invite participants to develop methods for solving practical challenges on the dataset (details provided under Workshop topics and themes).
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