Sunday, December 4, 2011

Social Media: Hurricanes, cyclones and real-time reporting, oh my!

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Summary: Esri.com offers a real-time interactive map covering hurricane Irene activity with integrated content from sites like Twitter, Flickr and YouTube posted by those living on the east coast.

Esri.com has a really cool interactive map where you can view information about cyclones and hurricanes in your area. The hurricane feeds update every 15 minutes with the latest information on things like hurricane paths, both projected and historical, as well as precipitation levels. Storm surge information is also updated every 20 minutes. This is key considering that storm surges are the biggest threat to property and life from hurricanes. One of the coolest features of this map is that anyone posting videos, photos, or tweets can attach it to this map. Small icons representing the user’s social media channel of choice cover sites like YouTube, Flickr, and Twitter.

The social data provided on this map goes through all the standard social channel API’s plus the PDC (Pacific Disaster Center). Here’s the breakdown:

News Feeds: We gather the headline news from various on-line news agencies and pass each link through the RSStoGeoRSS web service. We use the Aggregated Live Feeds methodology to take the returned GeoRSS XML serve the data through ArcGIS Server as a map service.

Tropical Cyclone: Tropical storm data is provided by the Pacific Disaster Center (PDC) as part of the active hazards map service. The data are dynamically updated in real-time.

YouTube Videos: The videos are added to the application using the YouTube API. The YouTube data API allows you to request videos given a latitude and longitude position along with a search radius and keywords. From here we parse the response from YouTube and use the coordinates with each returned record to draw the point and incorporate the results into the ArcGIS API for JavaScript InfoWindow.

Tweets: The Twitter API is used to identify tweets that match a specified query and area. In this case, only the tweets that return a coordinate value within the current visible map extent are added to the map. The Twitter API sends the results of the query back to the application as JSON which is easily incorporated into the ArcGIS API for JavaScript.

Flickr: The Flickr API is used to identify Flickr photos that match search terms and a collection of other parameters identified in the Flickr API help pages. The Flickr API sends the results of the query back to the application as JSON which is easily incorporated into the ArcGIS API for JavaScript.

If you have friends and/or loved ones on the East Coast right now and are monitoring the activity of hurricane Irene, this is a good place to not only monitor hurricane activity but to also get a more personal reporting experience from those that are out there taking photos, shooting video, and tweeting about it as they experience it live.

If you have friends and/or loved ones on the East Coast right now and are monitoring the activity of hurricane Irene, this is a good place to not only monitor hurricane activity but to also get a more personal reporting experience from those that are out there taking photos, shooting video, and tweeting about it as they experience it live.

Also check out…

Riding out the hurricane with your cell phone

Hurricane Irene images as it nears East Coast (gallery posted yesterday)

Rich Harris has been a web marketer for over 10 years, with over 14 years experience in high-tech, both in the consumer and enterprise spaces.


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