University of California Riverside: When disaster strikes, a search website for first responders will save lives. “When Mount Vesuvius erupted almost 2,000 years ago, it took hours for a single message from Pompeii to reach rescuers 18 miles away. Today we have the opposite problem during disasters: too much rapid information from many sources, with consequences just as fatal for some people. Engineers at the University of California, Riverside are working to change this with a tool that searches real-time text, photo and video from social media and surveillance cameras alongside data from sensors, like fire detectors and security alarms. With the tool, for example, firefighters could search the terms ‘fire’ and ‘crowds’ in a particular location and time and receive data from multiple sources.”
Government Technology: Arizona Creates Landslide Database to Monitor Instability. “Geologists at the Arizona Geological Survey have created a statewide landslide database that documents more than 6,000 landslides, debris flows and rock slides. The tool will help better inform roadway projects.”
UKAuthority: Environment Agency feeds flood alerts to Google. “The Environment Agency is to begin sending flood alert information to Google for it to appear on its search engine and Public Alerts map.”
University of California, Irvine: Beware: Fake Twitter accounts exploit emergencies to spread misinformation. “When earthquakes, firestorms or hurricanes strike, people often turn to Twitter for instant updates from government agencies, news outlets and neighbors. But user beware: networks of automated fake Twitter accounts, or ‘bots,’ exploit exactly these emergency situations to spread propaganda or misinformation, says University of California, Irvine sociology graduate student Richard Gardner.”
St. Louis Public Radio: A New Tool Can Help Mississippi River Cities Plan For Future Floods. “The Mississippi River Cities and Towns Initiative (MRCTI) and the U.S. Department of the Interior created an electronic portal in response to this year’s near-record flooding. The MRCTI Imagery and Information Viewer aggregates maps, weather forecasts and up-to-date data on floods and droughts — all information necessary for cities to better plan for natural disasters.” The tool contains historical water level data as well.
Digital Trends: A.I. cameras could help stomp out wildfires before they become disastrous. “This summer marks one year since California’s deadliest and most destructive wildfire season ever. And while not for a second diminishing the devastation caused by that disaster, it’s not an isolated event. Many countries around the world are experiencing unprecedented heat waves, which pose similar fire risks. Could cutting-edge technology help?”
Newswise: Machine-learning competition boosts earthquake prediction capabilities. “Three teams who applied novel machine learning methods to successfully predict the timing of earthquakes from historic seismic data are splitting $50,000 in prize money from an open, online Kaggle competition hosted by Los Alamos National Laboratory and its partners.”