Social Media Meets Emergency Response


Data can improve decisionmaking, whether it’s managing tank levels or dispatching repair trucks. Contextualizing this data can be even more helpful in interpreting and acting upon it. Location data is one way to provide context within an M2M-connected solution. For first responders who rely heavily on realtime data in the field, location can be a critical factor in creating context, and ultimately, situational awareness.

A new partnership between Esri,, and Geofeedia,, will combine Esri’s ArcGIS platform with Geofeedia’s location-based social-media tools to create a robust, geographically aware solution for the public-safety industry. Esri is a provider of GIS (geographic information system) technology through ArcGIS—a platform to help companies apply geographic knowledge to their solutions. Geofeedia offers a location-monitoring service and a unique approach to mining social-media data.

The partnership will allow public-safety professionals to monitor, integrate, and analyze emergency data in realtime. For instance, they will be able to search for keywords across social-media platforms such as Twitter, Instagram, Flickr, and YouTube and identify geolocated text, photos, and videos that can be plotted on maps and analyzed for relevance to an event or situation.

Location-tagged social data can help gather realtime intelligence and enhance the level of transparency during natural disasters, criminal investigations, and other crisis situations. By adding context, the data can help professionals enforce the law, identify “hot spots” of activity, and more efficiently respond to an emergency.

The companies say this “social data” can be even further enhanced when combined with information such as city infrastructure and utility networks, or dynamic data such as weather patterns and video feeds from traffic cameras. Together, these location-specific data points will offer public-safety professionals a more connected and complete understanding of what they’re facing in the field.

With increased situational awareness thanks to realtime information, first responders can more quickly and easily size up a situation, deploy the needed personnel and assets, and make adjustments as a crisis evolves. By adding both context and intelligence to an emergency responder’s data, M2M-enabled solutions can improve decisionmaking, which can increase security, shorten response times, and maybe even save lives.

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