Real-Time Joint Streaming Data Processing from Social and Physical Sensors

Tuesday, 16 December 2014
Yelena Yevgenyevna Kropivnitskaya, Jinhui Qin, Kristy French Tiampo and Michael Bauer, University of Western Ontario, London, ON, Canada
The results of the technological breakthroughs in computing that have taken place over the last few decades makes it possible to achieve emergency management objectives that focus on saving human lives and decreasing economic effects. In particular, the integration of a wide variety of information sources, including observations from spatially-referenced physical sensors and new social media sources, enables better real-time seismic hazard analysis through distributed computing networks. The main goal of this work is to utilize innovative computational algorithms for better real-time seismic risk analysis by integrating different data sources and processing tools into streaming and cloud computing applications.

The Geological Survey of Canada operates the Canadian National Seismograph Network (CNSN) with over 100 high-gain instruments and 60 low-gain or strong motion seismographs. The processing of the continuous data streams from each station of the CNSN provides the opportunity to detect possible earthquakes in near real-time. The information from physical sources is combined to calculate a location and magnitude for an earthquake. The automatically calculated results are not always sufficiently precise and prompt that can significantly reduce the response time to a felt or damaging earthquake. Social sensors, here represented as Twitter users, can provide information earlier to the general public and more rapidly to the emergency planning and disaster relief agencies. We introduce joint streaming data processing from social and physical sensors in real-time based on the idea that social media observations serve as proxies for physical sensors. By using the streams of data in the form of Twitter messages, each of which has an associated time and location, we can extract information related to a target event and perform enhanced analysis by combining it with physical sensor data. Results of this work suggest that the use of data from social media, in conjunction with the development of innovative computing algorithms, when combined with sensor data can provide a new paradigm for real-time earthquake detection in order to facilitate rapid and inexpensive natural risk reduction.