Groundbreaking project used twitter to create real-time flood maps of Jakarta

The SMART Infrastructure Facility’s groundbreaking flood mapping system has been showcased in an Australian National Data Service (ANDS) eBook about the best Australian research data projects. Data Impact features 16 research projects that have led to tangible real-life outcomes.

PetaJakarta was a research collaboration between the University of Wollongong’s SMART Infrastructure Facility, the Jakarta Emergency Management Agency (BPBD DKI Jakarta) and Twitter Inc.

The project used the social media network Twitter to create crowd-sourced flood maps of the Indonesian city Jakarta. One of the world’s fastest developing cities, Jakarta is prone to flooding during the monsoon season. By monitoring Twitter for mentions of the word ‘banjir’ (flood), PetaJakarta was able to create real-time flood maps that the emergency services could use to manage crisis and recovery operations in the city.

SMART Infrastructure Facility Director Professor Pascal Perez said PetaJakarta’s inclusion in Data Impact was recognition of the project’s effectiveness in addressing a real-world problem.

“The early support from ANDS to the PetaJakarta project was crucial in the design and delivery of a fully operational crowd-sourced flood mapping system to Jakarta’s Emergency Management Agency (BPBD DKI Jakarta),” Professor Perez said.

“Our social media data processing and visualisation engine contributes every year to saving lives and protecting assets in one of the largest coastal megalopolises in the world. The whole research team is proud of our inclusion in the Data Impact book.”

PetaJakarta has been commended by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, the Open Data Institute, and by the US Government, which described it as an example of best practice for using crowd-sourced information in an emergency situation.

The Data Impact eBook was created on the back of ANDS’ #dataimpact campaign, which ran through 2016. The stories are the best of the case studies ANDS found during that campaign – all examples of brilliant research leading to tangible real-life outcomes.

Words by Ben Long. Originally published on UOW Newsroom.