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Assessing disaster resilience from social media and nighttime light

Authors: Jinwen Xu*, University of Hawaii - Manoa, Yi Qiang, University of Hawaii - Manoa
Topics: Hazards, Risks, and Disasters, Spatial Analysis & Modeling, Remote Sensing
Keywords: nighttime light, VIIRS, Hurricane Sandy, disaster resilience, social media
Session Type: Paper
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Night-time lights captured from satellites have been proved to be a reliable indicator of human settlements and economic activities. Night-time lights can show human dynamics and economic decline after natural disasters, such as disastrous hurricane. For instance, Hurricane Sandy, one of the deadliest hurricanes happened in recent years, had caused around 62 billion dollars damage in the United States. Such disastrous events can cause both short-term and long-term impact in local economy. Also, the spatio-temporal variations of economic loss and recovery can be explained by community resilience which varies from places to places. Finding a consistent method to quantify the resilience is important and will benefit future disaster mitigation and preparation. Much work has been done to analyze both quantitative and qualitative aspects on disaster resilience after Hurricane Sandy. This study utilized fine-scale VIIRS satellites to analyze post-disaster night-time light change in northeast United States. The study also utilizes social media data (Twitter) to validate the observed spatio-temporal variation of NTL. The objectives of the study include: 1) analyzing disaster resilience of impacted counties according to temporal changes of NTL and social media; 2) comparing the indicative power of NTL and social media; 3) quantify underlying factors of community resilience using statistical/machine learning methods. The outcome from the study can give suggestions on integrating remote sensing imagines with social media data to model disaster resilience. The findings and methods of this study can be transferred to other regions experiencing hurricanes and natural disasters.

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