Disaster information: the use of social media

Disaster information

14 February 2013

The Disaster 2.0 team recently hosted the second Masterclass at the Federation of Enterprises in Belgium to discuss the role of social media and web technologies in providing information during disasters.    

Emergency management experts and researchers from across Europe attended the two day event, to share lessons and their experiences on the use of social media and technologies.  Speakers at the event included representatives from EUROCONTROL (Belgium), Greater Manchester Police and the European Journalism Centre.  Researchers from Finland and Greece presented their experimental results in using semantic web and geographical systems for disaster response and highlighted the need to be able to use data that is linked, visualised and interactive as being particularly important in system development.             

The Masterclass explored a range of areas, including the positive impact that social media can have as a means of communication in disaster situations such as the recent earthquake in Japan. It also highlighted the problems associated with using social media to target elderly members of the public not typically engaged with new media.

Dr Christopher Brewster, Principal Investigator of 2.0, said; Dr Christopher Brewster, Principal Investigator of 2.0, said; The Masterclasses provide an excellent opportunity for emergency management experts and researchers to exchange knowledge on prominent issues. Collaborating makes it easier to develop solutions that will be beneficial during disaster response. I would like to thank the European Commission for their financial support which has enabled us to continue our research.

For further media information please contact Eva Tabora University Communications on 0121 204 4292

For more information on these events and the Disaster 2.0 project please email disaster20@aston.ac.uk and for information on the Masterclass visit the webpages


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Notes to Editors

To access the slides from Masterclass 2, please visit http://www.disaster20.eu/masterclasses/masterclass-2/.  

The presentation recordings from the first Masterclass held in November 2012 are available at http://www.youtube.com/user/d2masterclass

The team are holding two further events in the UK this year as part of the Disaster 2.0 project.   The second hackathon for disaster response (h4d2) and the SMERST 2013 conference: Social Media and Semantic Technologies in Emergency Response will be held in April. 

The two Masterclasses were held as part of the Disaster 2.0 project.  The 2-year project explores how governments across Europe currently and can potentially use Web 2.0 applications (e.g. Twitter, Facebook, Ushahidi) and Semantic Technologies in disaster response.  The team is working with government organisations in Belgium, Germany, Greece, Italy and Poland to understand their perspectives on the potential of these technologies. The 950,000 project is funded by the Prevention, preparedness and consequence management of terrorism and other security-related risks programme, European Commission Directorate-Home Affairs (HOME/2010/CIPS/AG/002), Aston University and The University of Warwick.