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Utilizing Disaster Information Tweeting System (DITS) To Minimize Damage By Disasters

On February 13, 2017 at University of Kochi (Ike campus), Prof. Osamu Uchida, a professor in the Department of Human and Information Science, Tokai University, Japan, presented about Disaster Information Tweeting System (DITS), a system by which we can post a disaster related tweet with position information and the appropriate hashtag easily. He is researching and developing a disaster victim support system using the information and communications technology (ICT) science to respond to the needs of each individual and that even the information illiterate can easily use. The DNGL students and faculty members were actively participated.

Prof. Uchida explained that in order to minimize the damage in case of a disaster, it is important to collect and spread accurate information quickly. Twitter is a social media having the characteristics of high immediacy, sharing information is very easy, and the number of Twitter users is very large. Since the Great East Japan Earthquake occurred in 2011, Twitter has been utilizing as a communication tool by many people. Due to the reasons mentioned above, lots of Japanese national and local governmental agencies have taken a great deal of utilizing Twitter in order to collect and distribute disaster related information in recent years.

Prof. Uchida and teams have implemented a real-time disaster related information sharing system with two functions: disaster related information tweeting function and disaster related information mapping function, and moreover conducted verification experiment. By using the proposed system, users can post disaster related tweets with geo-location information (address) and the corresponding hashtag of the form “#(市区町村名) 災害” easily even if they do not now where they are.

When asked about future issues, Prof. Uchida said that there are many issues such as confirming the safety of family members and making a system all purposes enough to cope with disasters other than an earthquake. He is developing the system in coordination with professors in a variety of fields inside and outside the university. He will try to improve the system by realizing features such as automatic useful tweets classification according to the contents of tweets, and the personalization of the tweet map according to the users’ attributes. The proposed system can be basically used only in Japan. Therefore, he will try to extend the system to so as to be used throughout the world. –(Reported by Hastoro Dwinantoaji)-