RAPID: Text Message-Based Infrastructure for Emergency Response

Project: Research project

Project Details


The 7.0 Earthquake in Haiti has mobilized the entire world to support

the relief effort, especially through novel uses of the cyberspace.

Even though the earthquake damaged much of the communication

infrastructure in Haiti, Haiti's Internet connectivity is robust

because most Haitian Internet Service Providers use satellite, rather

than the damaged undersea fiber optic cable link, to connect to the

Internet. Consequently, relief workers, regular citizens, and

non-governmental organizations (NGO's) have used Tweets extensively

to spread and share information about the needs, events, and relief

operations. However, these tweets are not easily aggregated into

meaningful topics for ease of delivery to people who critically need

the information.

The goal of this research project is to develop and

deploy, in collaboration with an NGO coordination body (NetHope),

a reusable text message-based infrastructure that classifies and

aggregates multi-lingual tweets and text messages about Haiti

relief operations by topics and regions so that they can be easily

subscribed by NGO's, survivors in Haiti, and their friends and

families. The research project leverages existing software

developed for entity extraction and topic classification so that the

system can be developed and deployed quickly to respond to the time

critical needs at Haiti.

The evaluation of the system includes

feedbacks from NetHope as well as quantitative metrics about the

usage and performance of the system. The intellectual merit of the

research is developing integrated engineering solution to automatic

identification of topics and geo-location from short-messages

utilizing contextual information, which lays important foundation

for designing the next-generation information infrastructure for

emergency response and disaster management. For further information

see the project web page: URL: http://www.emerse.ist.psu.edu

Effective start/end date3/15/102/29/12


  • National Science Foundation: $75,000.00


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