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With the aid of Twitter and AI, researchers to develop flood warning system

In a study, published in the journal Computers & Geosciences, the researchers showed how AI can be used to extract data from Twitter and crowdsourced information from mobile phone apps to build up hyper-resolution monitoring of urban flooding.

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AI can play a key role in future flood warning and monitoring systems
AI can play a key role in future flood warning and monitoring systems

London, Dec 26: Researchers are combining Twitter, citizen science and artificial intelligence (AI) techniques to develop an early-warning system for flood-prone communities in urban areas.

In a study, published in the journal Computers & Geosciences, the researchers showed how AI can be used to extract data from Twitter and crowdsourced information from mobile phone apps to build up hyper-resolution monitoring of urban flooding.

“By combining social media, citizen science and artificial intelligence in urban flooding research, we hope to generate accurate predictions and provide warnings days in advance,” said Roger Wang from University of Dundee in Britain.

Urban flooding is difficult to monitor due to complexities in data collection and processing.

This prevents detailed risk analysis, flooding control and the validation of numerical models.

The research team set about trying to solve this problem by exploring how the latest AI technology can be used to mine social media and apps for the data that users provide.

They found that social media and crowdsourcing can be used to complement datasets based on traditional remote sensing and witness reports.

Applying these methods in case studies, they found them to be genuinely informative and that AI can play a key role in future flood warning and monitoring systems.

“The present recording systems — remote satellite sensors, a local sensor network, witness statements and insurance reports — all have their disadvantages. Therefore, we were forced to think outside the box and one of the things that occurred to us was how Twitter users provide real-time commentary on floods,” Wang said.

“A tweet can be very informative in terms of flooding data. Key words were our first filter, then we used natural language processing to find out more about severity, location and other information,” Wang said.

The researchers applied computer vision techniques to the data collected from MyCoast, a crowdsourcing app, to automatically identify scenes of flooding from the images that users post.

“We found these big data-based flood monitoring approaches can definitely complement the existing means of data collection and demonstrate great promise for improving monitoring and warnings in future,” Wang said.

Twitter data was streamed over a one-month period in 2015, with the filtering keywords of “flood”, “inundation”, “dam”, “dike”, and “levee”. More than 7,500 tweets were analysed over this time.

“We have reached the point of 70 per cent accuracy and we are using the thousands of images available on MyCoast to further improve this,” Wang said.

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Micro-blogging Site Twitter Adding GIFs, Polls, Emojis to TweetDeck

TweetDeck was set up in 2008 by Iain Dodsworth and was later acquired by Twitter in 2011

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Twitter, tweets, India
The Twitter logo appears on a phone post on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.. VOA

Micro-blogging site Twitter plans to update its social media dashboard app TweetDeck with support for GIFs, polls and emojis.

In a Twitter poll, users were asked to choose the missing features that people would most like to see incorporated into TweetDeck, The Verge reported on Friday.

The company plans on bringing the above mentioned new elements as well as support for threads and image tagging to TweetDeck.

Twitter, India, Smartphone
Twitter on a smartphone device. Pixabay

“It’s not that TweetDeck is really suffering from not having these features. But it’s a gesture of goodwill from Twitter to bring these features to TweetDeck, if only to show that the app is still in its good graces,” the report said.

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For now, the features are in the test phase and details about the public roll-out remain unknown.

TweetDeck was set up in 2008 by Iain Dodsworth and was later acquired by Twitter in 2011. (IANS)