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FEWS Community Talk 7 - June 11, 2024

11 Jun 2024 16:00 - 17:00 CET online

FEWS Community Talk - Validating forecasts via social media monitoring

How can you stay informed about current flooding? How do you know whether it flooded, after you issued a warning? And when no warning was issued, are you 100% certain that everything remained dry? When evaluating your data and models, do you have a reliable timeline of events, big and small?

Social media data holds answers to these questions. It provides real-time, location-specific information for the validation of forecasts. Platforms such as X, YouTube, Bluesky and News Outlets offer flood observations, including flooded streets, affected areas, overflowing embankments, stranded individuals, and so on. Many meteorological services, disaster management agencies, insurers and operators of SAR are already using this information. But is this also something for your organization? And if so, how do you connect to it in a meaningful way? What are the pitfalls? And how can you involve and convince your organization to embrace using social media as a data source?

Today we will listen to two speakers who, from their own experience, can explain how social media data works for them and how they have been using the software FloodTags to connect to it. They are Rob Cowling of the Environment Agency and Marc van Dijk of Deltares:

  • Rob Cowling is hydrometeorologist at the joint Environment Agency and Met Office Flood Forecasting Centre (FFC) in the United Kingdom. The FFC has been using social media for more than two years as support for operational situational awareness, real-time updates of forecasts, post-event verification and the generation of impact datasets. In this talk Rob will explain the challenges and benefits of using social media data, and how this data is incorporated their work processes. It’s a real story that aims to draw out the pros and cons of using social media data in your own organization.
  • Marc van Dijk is hydrologist at Deltares. Deltares recognized the potential of social media data in an early stage and collaborated with FloodTags in multiple projects. In his talk Marc will explain the attributes of social media and how you can connect social media data to Delft-FEWS by making use of the FloodTags API. He will demonstrate what he finds in the data, that helps you validate your forecasts. Examples will be shown how social media information can be combined in the Delft-FEWS software.

After these two main speakers we finalize with Jurjen Wagemaker of FloodTags. As introduced in the presentations of Robert and Marc, FloodTags is a Software as a Service that collects and analyzes social media. Jurjen will now explain how you can easily connect to FloodTags yourself, via the new online onboarding process on their website (to be launched in June 2024).

At the end of the talk you:
•    Have insight in the pros and cons of using social media data
•    Know how you can start using social media in your organization

The session will be chaired by Gerben Boot of Deltares.

Hope to see you soon!


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