The National Science Foundation has recently awarded a research grant to researchers at the University of Maryland, Baltimore for a “human sensor situation network” to map and model oil dispersed from the Deepwater Horizong Gulf Oil Spill.
This project aims to develop an instrument that acquires servers to collect, extract, locate, and process Gulf oil spill data from the existing social media sources such as Flickr, You Tube, Twitter and integrate them into a cloud. As a result, the project provides instantaneous spatial distributions and temporal frequencies of oil slicks, tar balls, distressed and dead animals, along the complete coastline of Gulf Border States. Moreover, the “human sensor web” data is likely to lead to more accurate operational oil dispersion forecasts for dissemination to decision makers.
This research hopes to act as a prototype for future disaster responses that can more adequately take inputs from social media sources.