Assessing Disaster Resilience from Nighttime Light and Social Media in Hurricane Sandy

Authors: Jinwen Xu*, University of South Florida, Yi Qiang, University of South Florida
Topics: Spatial Analysis & Modeling, Hazards, Risks, and Disasters, Geographic Information Science and Systems
Keywords: Nighttime Light, VIIRS, Hurricane Sandy, Disaster Resilience, Social Media
Session Type: Virtual Paper
Day: 4/7/2021
Start / End Time: 3:05 PM / 4:20 PM
Room: Virtual 7
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Night-time lights captured from satellites have been proved to be a reliable indicator of human activities on the Earth surface. Nighttime light remote sensing images can show human dynamics and economic changes in natural disasters. Hurricane Sandy, one of the deadliest hurricanes that happened in recent years, had caused around 62 billion dollars in damage in the United States. Such disastrous events can cause both short-term and long-term impacts in local economy. Observing the fluctuation (loss and recovery) in nighttime lights and comparing its variation from places to places can help to understand local community resilience. On the other hand, social media data can reflect real-time public perception and have been widely used to detect and appease emergencies. Comparing the temporal patterns of the two indicators with the damage caused by Hurricane Sandy can uncover the connections underneath nighttime lights and social media to the damage, and provide additional temporal scales to analyze the loss and recovery oflocal communities. This study utilized daily VIIRS satellite imageries and real-time social media data (Twitter) to monitor socio-economic impact of Hurricane Sandy and recovery patterns in communities in the affected area. This study demonstrates the possibility of integrating remote sensing imagines with social media data to model disaster resilience. The developed methods of this study are widely applicable to other regions affected various types of natural disasters.

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