Using social media and satellite data for damage assessment in urban areas during emergencies

Guido Cervone, Emily Schnebele, Nigel Waters, Martina Moccaldi, Rosa Sicignano

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

39 Scopus citations


Environmental hazards pose a significant threat to urban areas due to their potential catastrophic consequences affecting people, property and the environment. Remote sensing has become the de-facto standard for observing the Earth and its environment through the use of air-, space-, and ground-based sensors. Despite the quantity of remote sensing data available, gaps are often present due to the specific limitations of the instruments, their carrier platforms, or as a result of atmospheric interference. Massive amounts of data are generated from social media, and it is possible to mine these data to fill the gaps in remote sensing observations. A new methodology is described which uses social networks to augment remote sensing imagery of transportation infrastructure conditions during emergencies. The capability is valuable in situations where environmental hazards such as hurricanes or severe weather affect very large areas. This research presents an application of the proposed methodology during the 2013 Colorado floods with a special emphasis in Boulder County and The City of Boulder. Real-time data collected from social media, such as Twitter, are fused with remote sensing data for transportation damage assessment. Data collected from social media can provide information when remote sensing data are lacking or unavailable.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationSpringer Geography
Number of pages15
StatePublished - 2017

Publication series

NameSpringer Geography
ISSN (Print)2194-315X
ISSN (Electronic)2194-3168

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Urban Studies
  • Nature and Landscape Conservation
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)


Dive into the research topics of 'Using social media and satellite data for damage assessment in urban areas during emergencies'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this