Purdue Social Media Technology Could Help Track Hurricane Doriane Damage

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WEST LAFAYETTE Ind.(WLFI)-With Hurricane Dorian set to make landfall in the next couple of days, social media is filled with people posting about their preparations.

“You can look at topics important keywords and it can allow you to understand the situation at hand and hows it’s evolving over time,” said Luke Snyder the Developer for SMART.

SMART stands for social media and analytics and reporting tool kit.t The technology was created at Purdue University. The online platform allows first responders to monitor social media posts to find people in need of help.

“The whole goal of people in public safety is to really understand the situation so they can become more effective,” said David Ebert a Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Purdue.

Ebert says the idea was the brainchild of multiple people. Despite its usefulness around the country, the idea came from right here in Tippecanoe County.

“We started working on the project with the Tippecanoe county law enforcement as well as Indianapolis,” added Ebert. We wanted to try and see what kind of information they were interested in getting out of it, how they wanted the system to work and what they wanted to see.”

It’s been used locally during large events like Purdue football games, which once helped save someone’s life.
“They were actually able to see a tweet of someone thinking that someone had a heat stroke,” said Ebert. “They immediately sent a first responder who was able to treat the person before they became very ill.” Now the platform is used by 300 entities nationwide.

“It’s been used during hurricanes in 2017 for all four that made landfall in the United States,” said Ebert. “It was available to the coast guard last year and we are making it available this year as well.”

The University provides the resource to first responders and local cities for free.
“The fact that we can do something to help them be more effective and improve the safety of our community is very rewarding,” says Ebert.

For more information about SMART click here.

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