Machine-learning, social media data help spot flooded areas

Twitter and Flickr, along with remote sensor data, can be used to identify flooded areas, a team of university researchers say. It’s faster than using publicly available satellite images on their own. That imaging can sometimes take days to become available, the researchers say. It’s also easier to identify the flooded streets. Algorithms are the key to making all the data work together, the scientists reckon. A computer can learn what is and what isn’t water in a flood, for example. It does it by analyzing publicly posted images and thousands of public tweets and posts generated during incidents in urban flooding situations. Satellite analysis, the former method, becomes secondary. Tweets As an experiment, the team of scientists from Penn State, the University of Wisconsin, and other groups, analyzed 2013…

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