Mapping the Change in Spatial Distribution of Tweets on the Day of Hurricane Harvey

Authors: Shadi Maleki*, Texas State University - San Marcos, Milad Mohammadalizadehkorde*, Texas State University - San Marcos
Topics: Geographic Information Science and Systems, Hazards, Risks, and Disasters
Keywords: Hurricane Harvey, big data visualization, disaster analysis
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/5/2019
Start / End Time: 8:00 AM / 9:40 AM
Room: Forum Room, Omni, West
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Previous research indicates that in times of crisis people often leverage social media to understand the changing conditions of the disaster, to ask for help, or to let their family and friends know that they are safe. The use of social media has also proven valuable to emergency responders and practitioner responsible for disaster planning. Twitter has emerged as one of the more popular platforms for these exchanges. In turn, geographic information science (GIScience) scholars have investigated social media as a data source supporting the analysis of disasters. The purposes of this study are to add to the growing body of GIScience research related to social media and to discover the influence of one disaster on the Twitter patterns of a large urban area. Geotagged tweets were collected within the city of Houston, Texas before, during, and after Hurricane Harvey in 2017 to assess the storms influence on Twitter activity. Statistical methods and a geographic information system (GIS) were used to analyze the temporal and spatial patterns of tweets during our period of analysis. Results of this analysis are presented along with qualitative interpretations of the tweets’ contents. In addition to understanding the pattern of tweeting activity related to the hurricane event in the study area, this study offers insight into techniques that can be leveraged to improve the visualization of big data.

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