Using Social Media for Crisis Response : The ATHENA System
Part of book or chapter of book
- Publisher: Academic Conferences and Publishing International Limited
Social media is now prevalent in all aspects of society. Any major news event is now accompanied by a stream of real-time social media posts. The ATHENA system turns this stream of information into a vital resource in crisis and disaster response for Law Enforcement agencies (LEAs). The ATHENA system scans the social media environment during a crisis, recognises and collects information relevant to the crisis, and synthesises that information into credible and actionable reports. Via an automated process of classification, these reports are delivered by ATHENA to the stakeholders that most need the information: from the LEA Command and Control Centre managing the crisis, to the first responders on the ground, and to the citizens themselves via a mobile application. The automatic extraction of location data from social media posts allows ATHENA to pin-point crisis activity and resources on a map-based user interface. The citizen, via a mobile device, is provided with fast and reliable alerts of danger, the location of medical help and vital supplies, and direct communication with emergency services. The first responder is given the same intelligence along with additional information pertinent to their search and rescue actions. Command and Control have the ultimate access to all information being processed by the system, where their decision making is supported by computer generated estimates of priority and credibility. Command and Control have the responsibility of validating crisis information before it is disseminated to the public. Social media are also key to the dissemination of crisis information. Dedicated social media entities on the most popular sites are maintained by Command and Control to provide a focal information, advice and instruction broadcasting presence as a trusted source. These social media presences are designed to encourage collaboration between the public and first responders and to provide a channel for communication between all the crisis stakeholders. Thus ATHENA empowers the LEA and the public with a collective intelligence, enabling both to safeguard themselves and others during a crisis.