EMPANADA: Emergency Preparedness Against Natural Disasters
Dr. Ming Zhao
During natural disasters, locating and acquiring needed goods (such as food, water and gasoline) can become a difficult task because of severed communications. This deficiency in communications can be caused by outages in power grids, land lines, cable, fiber, etc. The affected communities may be left uncommunicated for hours or days, leaving them with no means to pinpoint where to obtain the products that they require. Social media and social networks are often employed by government agencies, private companies and individuals to report information about natural disasters. However, this information is spread across many different websites and social networks, with no consolidated place where to find it. Mobile devices, social media and cloud computing could provide a solution to this problem. The Emergency Preparedness Against Natural Disasters (EMPANADA) system is designed to improve the preparedness of communities under the impact of a disaster by utilizing social media in such a way to extract information to keep the affected areas informed. The objective of EMPANADA is to not need direct user input but, instead, to use existing data from social media to gather information in real-time.