How can Twitter actually assist in Humanitarian Assistance Disaster Relief efforts? The near real-time and extraordinarily available nature of Twitter lends itself to save lives, impact disaster response, and powerfully change how decision makers in general public, emergency managers, and global community all understand what the problems are, what can be best done to help, and how to get the job accomplished. Haiti changed the disaster response world forever. But how do you really use tools like Twitter to save lives? How do you practice and see how decision makers can ingest, utilize, and capitalize on Twitter tools and architecture? x24 is an open-source community doing this--how do we solve some of these incredibly important tasks before they are needed? How do we link across language and country barriers where the power of Twitter is extraordinary? Just as performers (e.g. @Shakira) connect countries & languages, disaster response/recovery tools can do the same things. This is x24.Exercise 24 (x24) has done three iterations of using Twitter as a powerful tool to demonstrate that lives can be saved and decisions made in very rapid and compelling ways by combining near real-time Twitter inputs both as crowdsourcing (acquiring information) and notification (sending out information). In Humanitarian Assistance Disaster Relief efforts like Haiti, the Japanese quakes/tsunamis, and many other events, rapid flow of information across challenged networks saves lives and greatly assists decision-making. To actually unequivocally demonstrate this, x24 has worked to simulate real disasters and their resulting responses working with many of the real people who respond in global disasters. x24 has done five major things: 1) linked social media (Twitter) to existing real decision tools in national and international settings--so the tweets go into the real decision places who are learning how to accept, analyze, and respond to this extraordinary input. 2) x24 has helped clearly articulate the advantages of these data sets with the abilities to do querying, geospatial and temporal analytics, and content organization and response. 3) x24 has assisted in finessing the Twitter API to build compelling dashboards to display multiple feeds along with geospatial and content organization of the feeds on a global and cross-language basis. 4) x24 has worked with many dozens of countries to use Twitter to bridge the language and cultural chasms that prevent information flow during disasters. 5) x24 has linked Twitter to web services that we provide such as rapid processing of global satellite imagery, terabytes of geospatial and infrastructure data, and linkages to other decision feeds such as field information from smartphones, camera information as for wildfires, sensor information as from volcanic eruptions and fire fuel load (sensors tweeting information), and fusing the data to provide freely available insight and tools to global first responders, Non-Governmental Organizations, and groups seeking to use compassion and technology to impact the lives of those struck by disaster. x24 has helped enlighten many agencies who have been able to kick-the-tires of Twitter as a life-saving tool seeing how a university can appropriately process massive amounts of data respecting privacy but using critical information to save lives and reduce suffering. x24 are real-play exercises and have been directly used in numerous real responses to real disasters in real time.
http://vizcenter.net/x24 is last event (Feb. 7-10, 2012) with US-Mexico interaction including with Assistant Secretary of DHS for International Affairs Alan Bersin and 3-star Admiral Gomez from Mexico. x24 Europe in March 2012 had 92 countries and over 49,000 involved. First one in Sept. 2011 had 79 countries and over 12,000 collaborating to use Twitter to impact lives during global disaster (with Adam Sharp from Twitter Federal in both of first two exercises). #x24 and @Exercise24 are part of the http://vizcenter.net/x24 aggregation dashboard, wiki, web services, and visualizations used in this effort for this global, real-play humanitarian assistance disaster relief effort.
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