Descriptive and visual summaries of disaster events using artificial intelligence techniques: case studies of Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Citations (Scopus)


People increasingly use microblogging platforms such as Twitter during natural disasters and emergencies. Research studies have revealed the usefulness of the data available on Twitter for several disaster response tasks. However, making sense of social media data is a challenging task due to several reasons such as limitations of available tools to analyse high-volume and high-velocity data streams, dealing with information overload, among others. To eliminate such limitations, in this work, we first show that textual and imagery content on social media provide complementary information useful to improve situational awareness. We then explore ways in which various Artificial Intelligence techniques from Natural Language Processing and Computer Vision fields can exploit such complementary information generated during disaster events. Finally, we propose a methodological approach that combines several computational techniques effectively in a unified framework to help humanitarian organisations in their relief efforts. We conduct extensive experiments using textual and imagery content from millions of tweets posted during the three major disaster events in the 2017 Atlantic Hurricane season. Our study reveals that the distributions of various types of useful information can inform crisis managers and responders and facilitate the development of future automated systems for disaster management.

Original languageEnglish
JournalBehaviour and Information Technology
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2019



  • disaster management
  • image processing
  • named-entity recognition
  • Social media
  • text classification
  • topic modelling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Social Sciences(all)
  • Human-Computer Interaction

Cite this