STRATEGIC REVIEW: Mapping Floods in Jakarta Tweet by Tweet

For Strategic Review, Indonesia, I wrote a 2,750 word article highlighting the impact and potential of PetaJakarta.org, a platform to map flooding in Jakarta in real time. The article appears in the October-December edition of the magazine, in print and online, and is credited to Tomas Holderness and Etienne Turpin as the article is based on their white paper.

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PETAJAKARTA.ORG FEATURED IN WORLD DISASTERS REPORT

A system that turns geo-tagged Tweets about flooding in Indonesia’s capital city, Jakarta, into valuable data in real-time is featured in this year’s World Disasters Report.

The report, commissioned by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, praises PetaJakarta.org as a case study of community-level response to disasters.

PetaJakarta.org turns geo-tagged Tweets by Jakarta’s citizens into valuable data. The platform allows citizens to share flood information with social media peers while simultaneously providing the Jakarta Emergency Management Agency (BPBD DKI Jakarta) with data to support decision making for disaster response.

The report cites the University’s partnership with both the Jakarta Emergency Management Agency and Twitter Inc., which represents a world first collaboration between Twitter, a university, and a disaster management agency.

“This is a significant achievement as this is effectively the gold standard for developments within the Disaster Risk Management sector,” Dr Tomas Holderness, one of two lead researchers on the project, said.

The World Disasters Report is produced each year by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. The Report, which was launched on 1 October 2015, examines the complexities and challenges local actors face in scaling-up and sustaining their humanitarian response.

“Local actors are always the first to respond. In 2015, we saw local people and organisations at the centre of operations rescuing thousands trapped in the rubble after the earthquake in Nepal, setting up evacuation centres in the wake of Cyclone Pam in Vanuatu, and on the frontline of the protracted conflict in Syria,” Elhadj As Sy, the Secretary General of the IFRC, said.

“But their effectiveness goes beyond their proximity. Local groups, including National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, are effective because of the perspective they bring, their understanding of language and cultural norms, and because they are permanently present in communities and able to accompany them to address risks before disaster strikes.”

Jakarta is one of the world’s fastest developing cities and is prone to flooding during the monsoon season.

“What we are trying to understand and achieve is how to blend data sources to enable those various communities – responders and the urban poor – to have transparency and access to the information that they are both using,” project co-director Etienne Turpin told the IFRC.

According to the IFRC, in 2013 alone, more than one million people were affected by flooding and 80,000 were displaced.

“Floods often happen very fast, trapping and killing people and often catching communities unawares. The Jakarta Disaster Management Agency (BPBD) in turn struggles to keep up with both flooding patterns that can change by the hour and a consequently constantly fluctuating response,” the report states.

About the report

The World Disasters Report is an annual independent publication commissioned by the IFRC, contributing evidence-based research on the challenges, trends and innovations in disaster risk reduction and crisis management. The report is an important body of research, which builds on discussions at the 2015 UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction in Sendai, and the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals. It makes a direct contribution to next year’s World Humanitarian Summit where the localisation of aid is one of the key thematic areas of focus.

Petajakarta.org
PetaJakarta.org is a web-based platform that runs on custom built open source software known as CogniCity. The system turns geo-tagged Tweets into valuable data and, importantly is transferable and could readily be deployed in other cities to address issues such as waste management, transport and traffic congestion, weather emergencies, and even elections and governance.

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For University of Wollongong

THE FAR FUTURE IS RAPIDLY DRAWING CLOSER – AND IT WORRIES US

When it comes to the future of humanity, many people fear the worst.

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A study that investigated the perceived probability of threats to humanity and different responses to them in four Western nations — US, UK, Canada and Australia — has found that many people are seriously concerned that our existing way of life will end. A significant amount of people are also concerned that humans will be wiped out within the next 100 years.

The study found that:

  • 54 per cent of people surveyed rated the risk of our way of life ending within the next 100 years at 50 per cent or greater;
  • Almost a quarter (24 per cent) rated the risk of humans being wiped out within a century at 50 per cent or greater;
  • Almost three quarters (73 per cent) believe there is a 30 per cent or greater risk of our way of life ending (30 per cent said that the risk is 70 per cent or more);
  • Almost four in ten (39 per cent) believe there is a 30 per cent or greater danger of humanity being wiped out (10 per cent said the danger is 70 per cent or more).

Responses to the survey were categorised as nihilism (the loss of belief in a social or moral order; decadence rules), fundamentalism (the retreat to certain belief; dogma rules), or activism (the transformation of belief; hope rules):

  • Almost 80 per cent agreed “we need to transform our worldview and way of life if we are to create a better future for the world” (activism);
  • About a half agreed that “the world’s future looks grim so we have to focus on looking after ourselves and those we love” (nihilism);
  • More than a third said “we are facing a final conflict between good and evil in the world” (fundamentalism).

The results of the study, conducted by Dr Melanie Randle of the School of Management, Operations and Marketing at the University of Wollongong, and Richard Eckersley, a Director of Australia21 Ltd, a non-profit strategic research company, is published in the journal Futures.

Read: Public perceptions of future threats to humanity and different societal responses: A cross-national study, Futures

Richard Eckersley said many of the threats we face – such as climate change, depletion and degradation of natural resources and ecosystems, nuclear and biological war and terrorism and runaway technological change — are not new. Scientists and other experts and reputable journals have warned of the dangers for decades.

“Nevertheless, the evidence is growing stronger, especially about climate change, and never before have the possible impacts been so powerfully reinforced by actual events, including natural disasters and calamities, and their sustained and graphic media coverage.”

Dr Randle said people’s responses to the study likely represent a general uncertainty and fear rather than a fear based on a considered assessment of a specific threat.

“It shows a loss of faith in a future constructed around notions of material progress, economic growth and scientific and technological fixes to the challenges we face. This loss is important, yet barely registers in current debate and political discussion.”

“At best, the high perception of risk and the strong endorsement of an activist response could drive a much greater effort to confront global threats. At worst, with a loss of hope, fear of a catastrophic future erodes people’s faith in society, affecting their roles and responsibilities, and their relationship to social institutions, especially government.”

Mr Eckersley added: “Despite increasing political action on specific issues like climate change, globally the scale of our response falls far short of matching the magnitude of the threats. Closing this gap requires a deeper understanding of how people perceive the risks and how they might respond. Offering false hope is not the solution. For the challenges to be addressed, they must first be acknowledged.

“Ultimately, the far future is rapidly drawing closer – and it worries us.”

NB: The study involved a survey of over 2,000 people in Australia, US, UK and Canada. Findings were similar across countries, age, sex and other demographic groups, although some interesting differences emerged.

For University of Wollongong. Read the original article.

REPORTING THE RIVERINA

Four journalism graduates take up post in regional NSW with WIN News Riverina.

Rural and regional newsrooms are the deep end. They’re a mainstay in their community, a source of local knowledge and news. but also a challenging (and rewarding) environment for young journalists wanting to report the issues facing regional Australia.

Since its launch in 2007, dozens of graduates from UOW’s journalism program have migrated to newsrooms in regional areas. In the Riverina area, in south-western News South Wales, locals currently get their nightly television news from four UOW graduates — Jared Constable, Tanya Dendrinos, Sarah Navin, Samara Gardner (pictured left to right above. Photo: Michael Patterson).

While some journalism students are prepared to discover their preferred medium along the way, Tanya Dendrinos, from Campbelltown, had a career in television in her sights from day one.

“If I was going to be a journalist, I was going to be in broadcast journalism and more specifically, television,” Tanya said.

“I assessed the array of journalism courses on offer at universities across the state and the UOW course stood out as the one that would best prepare me for the career I wanted. It was intensive, had television-specific subjects as well as an on-campus television station.”

Newcomers to the Bachelor of Journalism are quickly introduced to UOWTV Multimedia and are promptly prepared to begin contributing to the platform.

“Working on a nightly news bulletin is very different to putting together a UOWTV update but the skills I learnt were invaluable,” Tanya said.

“UOWTV taught me the basics of putting together a news story: lining up talent, conducting an interview, shooting vision, writing, voicing, editing and working to deadlines. I have no doubt these skills got me my first job. When it came time to do an internship with WIN News, I already knew the basics, I understood the work it took to get a story together and I was able to prove myself as a young journalist and potential employee.”

Tanya started with WIN News Riverina as a journalist in April 2013. She was made Chief of Staff a year later.

“Regional news is the best start a journalist can have … you’ll never get a better opportunity to learn your craft.

“You have limited resources, a big area to cover and tough deadlines but you get an opportunity to write about everything, to learn about a wide variety of topics and tell stories that really matter to the community in which you live.”

In the six months that Sarah Navin has been a part of the team, she’s reported on a wide variety of topics.

“Some of my favourite stories so far have been a local man who stays up all night in the kitchen making nutbars to raise money for the Cancer Council, or a Charles Sturt University (CSU) researcher who has linked the enzymes in olives to preventing the onset of Alzheimer’s disease,” the Wagga Wagga local said.

“I’m loving immersing myself in the Riverina, chasing the local stories where I grew up … [and I’m learning a lot], getting the opportunity to cover everything from agriculture to medicine to politics. It’s a steep learning curve, but that’s the best way to do it.”

Sarah, 23, says Studio 20 Live, a show broadcast live via YouTube created by students with the help of Shawn Burns, was a valuable part of her education.

“We had everything from a cooking segment to game show challenges, to interviews with locals on the couch. We also designed the set and had a crew filming and producing. One day we took the show outside during lunch time which was a blast. It was just a great time experimenting with different ideas, bouncing off each other and watching the show grow, plus it was ‘live’ so that brings with it more unpredictability, which is always fun.”

A stint overseas at University of Sheffield in the UK where she had her own radio show broadcasting in the university’s cafes and medical centre, and internships with Channel 9 News and the Today Show, further provided Sarah with an insight into what a career in television involves.

“The dream has always been [to work on the travel show] ‘Getaway’, but we’ll see how that goes. I am just really passionate about television since getting a taste of it and would love to see where it takes me.”

Samara Gardner joined WIN in May 2014. The 24-year-old studied a double degree — Journalism and a Bachelor of Creative Arts (Theatre).

“I was really interested in doing a double degree with theatre and found that UOW was one of the few universities with the flexibility to combine such two very different degrees,” she said.

While a metro newsroom and an opportunity to present the news appeals to Samara, she agrees with her colleagues that a regional newsroom provides the best opportunities to learn.

“We source, interview, write and voice our own stories – an opportunity that wouldn’t be afforded to an entry level journalist in metro news … we are constantly offered the opportunity to learn, grow and expand our skill base.”

Like Tanya, Samara credits UOWTV with preparing her for the newsroom.

“UOWTV equipped me with so many essential skills that I still use daily. My favourite experience would have to be hosting our live coverage of the 2013 federal election. It was a full day and a team effort, but the experience really compounded my love of news and how exhilarating it can be to be a journalist during an event like that.”

Jared Constable, 22, from Wollongong, has dreams of being a sports reporter, breaking national and international news on a major news network such as FOX.

He’s not “wishing away his” time in regional NSW as a news and sports reporter though.

“I’m really still honing my skills and learning the trade. These communities are so alive and often go unnoticed by giant news corporation’s fixed in big cities. I want to continue telling regional stories to the wider community.”

Another former UOWTV reporter, Jared is energised by today’s fast-paced news cycle.

“Journalism is a front-row ticket to the news and you get to share with people what you see as you see it. What more could you want in a profession?”

“I constantly refer to the tools I learned while out on the job as a UOWTV reporter, whether it be the questions I ask, or the manner in which I deal with interviewees, and it underpins my moral compass when assessing every story I follow,” he said.

Originally published by the University of Wollongong

YOUNG JOURNALIST WINS PRESTIGIOUS WALKLEY AWARD

Lifting the lid on sexism in the medical profession lands UOW graduate Alice Matthews a coveted award in journalism.

Less than a year after graduating and starting as a researcher at the ABC in Ultimo, Sydney, Alice Matthews has won a Walkley Award. The 24-year-old was nominated for, and ultimately awarded, the Walkley Young Australian Journalist of the Year Award for Radio/Audio Journalism for shedding light on sexual harassment in the medical profession.

By broadcasting the concerns of vascular surgeon Dr Gabrielle McMullin about sexism among many male surgeons, Alice helped spark a conversation that has continued until today, even prompting universities to consider implementing sexual harassment education in health courses.

“This was a story that landed in my hands on my very first reporting shift for radio current affairs. A colleague, Lindy Kerin, passed on an alert for an e-book launch last minute and I just had to run out the door. I attended thinking I would cover the launch and the book. But I was also given an article by Dr McMullin which I read in the cab on the way, and that led me to believe she had a lot to say.”

“What I thought the story would be is not what the story became. Dr McMullin’s words changed it. The story she told was powerful, she was frank and what she said was shocking. She was very brave to speak out and even braver for following through. I kept pursuing the story because Dr McMullin sparked an important discussion and I wanted to make sure that continued, and hopefully led to change.”

Alice said she learnt a lot doing th

e story: “It taught me that journalism, someone’s story, can be an instigator of change or at the very least create widespread awareness … It made me realise the impact giving someone a voice can have, and highly value the role journalism can play.”

About Alice’s work, the award judges said: “Alice’s stories help expose behaviour that seems unimaginable in Australia in 2015. Acting on instinct, and working within tight time constraints, Alice has detailed the sexual abuse suffered by women training to be surgeons and the steps educators have now been forced to implement to deal with the controversy. Gripping, revealing and a wonderful example of powerful current affairs.”

From Bathurst to Broadcast

Winning a Walkley is a defining moment for many journalists. In 2008, the Walkley Foundation launched the Young Journalist of the Year Awards to recognise the hard work, creativity, and skill of new and emerging talent in Australian journalism. For those who are recognised early on in their career, it’s an event that opens doors in a competitive industry that is continuously in a period of change.

“It’s awesome to see people get behind young people entering the industry,” Alice said, adding that, though awarded to an individual, the award recognises the work of many. “I think the most validation is for the people involved in the story. It’s an indication that the issues Dr McMullin raised have been brought to light, acknowledged and given the time they deserve.”

Alice said she chose to study journalism because she wanted to tell stories. “Journalism seemed to be a profession where I could combine everything I loved. It was a way I could work with people, be creative, write, take photos and learn about sound. But I think the main reason I chose journalism was because I fell in love with storytelling. I was always fascinated by the stories of my mum and dad and that has always stuck with me.”

Before she became a Walkley Award winning journalist, Alice, who was born in Bathurst, naturally had moments of doubt, wondering if she had made the right decision.

“I went through what I call a mid-degree crisis. I questioned why I was studying journalism and worried that maybe it wasn’t for me. I think that was a valuable experience because I was forced to solidify the reasons to keep going and get past the challenges.”

UOW’s journalism lecturers, including journalism lecturer Shawn Burns and oral historian and documentary maker Dr Siobhan McHugh, played a significant role in maintaining her enthusiasm for the job, providing encouragement and assurance along the way.

“My experience with my teachers is what I valued most while studying journalism. They showed me that journalism can be a beautiful craft. Undoubtedly, it was their encouragement that kept me going when I thought I didn’t want to. They were supportive, patient, passionate, and talented and I have so much respect for them and their work. My teachers gave me the opportunities to connect to the industry and the survival skills to stay in it.”

Alice studied broadcast journalism under Dr McHugh and received internships at both ABC Illawarra and ABC Sydney. Alice was a reporter with UOWTV, she contributed to an extended feature with Dr McHugh about improving outcomes for recipients of Meals and Wheels in the Illawarra, which also aired on ABC Illawarra, and was among a group of students who travelled to Paris to work with journalist and academic Julie Posetti and World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA), working on the UNESCO Internet Study: Privacy and Journalists’ Sources.

“Alice was one of those students that always went the extra mile,” Dr McHugh said. “From day one, Alice was blown away by the capacity of radio. She was open to all forms of media but she understood that radio can go deeper than just news. She appreciated that an audio story allows the listener to focus on what’s being said and how it’s said.”

Alice said: “I value that people don’t get as intimidated by a microphone like they do a camera. There is something about not showing your face than seems safer. A voice is very powerful, because when it’s on its own people don’t tend to judge, instead you listen and you hear details in a voice that communicate emotions in a very raw way. Siobhan McHugh opened up my eyes to this. Also, I love podcasts.”

Written for the University of Wollongong

MOTHER AND DAUGHTER DEDICATED TO QUALITY EDUCATION

Ann and her daughter Claire Rogerson happened to graduate during the same ceremony in July 2015, despite pursuing their studies under different faculties.

Having completed her Honours, Claire is moving straight in to do her PhD and has a clear view of where she’s going.

While her Honours focused on how school teachers teach music, her PhD will focus on how students learn music. Her desire to understand and promote music education can be tied to her own experience as a young student at a private school in Darlinghurst, Sydney.

“I had great teachers at school and I attribute my desire to teach to them and I want to continue with their good work in public schools,” Claire said.

“I went to private school and was privileged to have music all the way through primary school and high school every week for 40 minutes twice a week. Many children don’t have that now,” she added.

Music is known to contribute to emotional, social and cognitive growth. According to Music Australia, however, 63 per cent of primary schools and 34 per cent of secondary schools offer no classroom music.

“Many people just haven’t learnt how to teach [music education] … I really want to show teachers how simple it can be.”

Claire said she sought out UOW to do her primary education degree because of its reputation; she was pleased also to find a number of academics on hand to help her find her feet as a researcher and write academic papers. Her mother, though, remains her primary source of inspiration.

“Seeing my mother do her PhD really inspired me. It’s been seven years in the making for mum. If she can do it, I can do it too.”

Ann Rogerson is a lecturer in organisational behaviour in the Faculty of Business and a course director for the Master of Business program, drawing on years of experience working in industry.

Her Doctor of Business Administration thesis, Accommodating demographic differences in managerial face-to-face conversations in Australian workplaces, addresses how differences need to be accommodated in order to achieve effective communication outcomes and limit the influence of subjective biases and stereotypes.

Though it’s not her primary field of expertise, Ann also conducts research in the area of academic integrity, understanding how and why students may cheat.

“It’s about trying to engage students in learning and the benefits they will have in actually doing the work themselves.”

Published by the University of Wollongong

PERSISTENCE PAYS OFF FOR ILLAWARRA HAWKS CAPTAIN

Professional basketballer and captain of the Illawarra Hawks Oscar Forman graduated with a Bachelor of Business degree on 22 July.

Oscar has been working toward this moment for 13 years, and though the focus of his studies shifted (between marketing, commerce and public relations) at different times, his interest has always been in the business side of things.

“Through basketball I have good relationships with sponsors and I enjoy that side of the sport,” he said.

“I’ve learnt a lot during the past 15 years playing basketball; I feel there can be similar lessons drawn from what builds successful sport teams and successful businesses.”

Oscar acknowledged that playing full time and studying has meant taking the long road to graduation day: “My parents have flown over from Adelaide to attend my graduation ceremony, maybe just to make sure I’m telling the truth that I have finally graduated after 13 years,” he joked.

But dedication and a supportive environment have helped pave the way.

“I remember playing a game in Townsville one year and having to sit an exam with the team Physio acting as an examiner in the hotel room, which was luckily attached to the stadium. I sat the exam in my uniform and had just enough time to join the team for warmups afterwards.”

There were also times when study had to be put on hold entirely, including when Oscar relocated to join the New Zealand Breakers. Upon moving to Wollongong, however, Oscar was “lucky enough” to become involved with the Graduates of League and Athlete Education Foundation programs and get his studies back on track.

“Without the support of these programs I have no doubts that I wouldn’t be graduating,” he said.

“The guidance and help of people, especially Holly Scheeringa and Sam Jebiele, has been instrumental in helping me choose appropriate courses and streamline the process of obtaining valuable communication with the faculty.

“The assistance of personal tutors has been invaluable during times when I haven’t been able to attend lectures due to travel commitments or when my playing schedule has been incredibly busy and assignments are piling up.”

Though challenging, Oscar believes it is worthwhile for professional athletes to further their education.

“A number of Hawks players are at university, but I do think it is something that needs to be further promoted across all levels as it is very easy to get caught up in the playing lifestyle and not look ahead to after playing days.”

“The time that this degree has spanned should win some awards for staying power, but my parents kept me going by always reminding me that I need to have qualifications to help prepare for life after basketball.”

Originally published by the University of Wollongong

RITES OF PASSAGE: A FILM ABOUT YOUNG PEOPLE BY YOUNG PEOPLE

A raw feature-length film inspired by the real life experiences of youth in the Illawarra is stimulating conversation about life as a teenager in Australia.

Shot over a period of three years, Rites of Passage addresses themes of romance, school, family violence, grief, peer pressure, drugs and crime, through narratives inspired by the experiences of the cast, who were also the crew.

“None of the young people involved had acted before and their authentic performances blur the line between fact and fiction,” director Phillip Crawford said.

“They might live in public housing and come from families who have seen disadvantage and hardship. But with frankness and courage, these young people have dipped below the surface of their often tough exteriors to reveal what’s going on inside their lives.”

Lakia, 19, said: “Being a part of a long term project like Rites of Passage gave us time to grow and become valued members of our society whereas previously we were looked down on by others. It also gave us some of the most incredible experiences of our lives”.

The film’s key cast was supported by a small team of filmmakers working for Beyond Empathy, an Australian not-for-profit community, arts and cultural development organisation, as well as dozens of volunteers in various roles.

Several UOW performance students, some now alumni, put their hand up to play supporting roles in the film, from a mother who is sick to a Shakespeare teacher.

UOW participants included: Louisa Raft, currently in her final year of a BCA (Dean’s Scholar) with a major in Theatre; Lajos Hamers, a current PhD student; Alice Burns-McClintock, who completed a BCA (Performance) in 2011; Matthew Abotomey, who completed a BCA/BA with majors in Performance and History in 2012 and a BA (Honours) in 2013; Toby Davis, who completed a BCA (Performance) in 2011; and Kim Griffin, a staff member in Careers Central.

The film has been screened internationally and been recognised by numerous awards.

In 2013, Rites of Passage was screened in Poland at the Warsaw Film Festival, an International Federation of Film Producers Association Official Competitive Film Festival. The film was awarded a Special Jury Prize in the Free Spirit Competition (for independent and rebellious films from around the world) with the judges noting the way in which working with the community and young people produced a unique vision.

The film has also been recognised in various categories at festivals such as the Auburn International Film Festival for Children and Young Adults, the Cyprus International Film Festival, the International Film Awards Berlin, and the Social Justice Film Festival.

Reviews have also been a source of validation for the film.

Łukasz Kamiński, film critic,at The Warsaw Gazette in Poland wrote: “In the film Rites of Passage Australian youth tell stories about growing up. Themes of sex and violence, love and trust are inextricably intertwined. And whether Rites of Passage is a documentary or fiction, you’ll have to decide for yourself.”

Evan Williams, film critic at The Australian, said: “It is an example of community filmmaking in the most literal sense. Credit for the finished work belongs principally to Phillip Crawford, but the film is essentially a co-operative enterprise involving scores of young people (and many older ones) in Wollongong’s southern suburbs, all of whom have shared in some way in the creative process as performers, extras or production assistants.”

LASTING IMPACT

Some participants of the film have continued pursuing their interest in film since Rites of Passage.

Some have made their own short films, which have been screened at Festivals and won awards in their own right.

Daniel De Filippo is studying digital media at UOW while Elias Ress has been cast in the first series of Redfern Now and the feature film Around the Block.

For others, the film has been a stepping stone to seek career advice or assistance for drug and alcohol addiction, Mr Crawford explained.

“For everyone involved it has been a welcome confidence boost and a way to help people feel like they’re contributors to their community,” Mr Crawford said.

Rites of Passage will air on ABC 1 Sunday June 28 at 10.30PM.

http://media.uow.edu.au/news/UOW197587.html

STUDENT PERFORMANCE GROUP TAKES THE STAGE IN SINGAPORE

A student directed show travelled to Singapore to perform in June 2015.

Undergraduate director Mark Churchill, with student performers Simon Arthur, Liam Megarrity, Bernice Mumbulla, Adrian Tolhurst, and technician Gigi Gregory, travelled to the island state having raised more than $6,000 to support their trip.

The show, Duet and Bogey Man, combines two plays by Australian multi-award winning playwright Daniel Keene. Duet, is about two men living in a sewer while Bogey Man is about a couple dealing with a stillbirth.

The Asian Pacific Bureau Theatre Schools Festival aims to promote professional development among theatre schools and practitioners in the region.

Sarah Miller, Head of the School of the Arts, English and Media, and Chris Ryan, Director and Lecturer of Theatre and Performance, also travelled to Singapore to speak at the Director’s Conference and lead a skills workshop respectively.


View more Instagram snapshots on @UOWCreative
Originally published by the University of Wollongong

STUDY REVEALS VALUE OF CROWD-SOURCING TWITTER DATA TO RESPOND TO DISASTERS

Researchers at the UOW’s SMART Infrastructure Facility have developed a system to map flooding in real-time using crowd-sourced data from Twitter.

A pilot study mapping floods in one of the world’s fastest developing cities has revealed the value of crowd-sourced data to support disaster risk management for governments and citizens.

PetaJakarta.org is led by co-principal investigators Dr Etienne Turpin and Dr Tomas Holderness of UOW. The web-based platform runs on custom built open source software, called CogniCity, which turns the geo-tagged Tweets by Jakarta’s citizens into valuable data.

The platform allows citizens to share flood information with social media peers while simultaneously providing the Jakarta Emergency Management Agency (BPBD DKI Jakarta) with data to support decision making for disaster response. Furthermore, the information shared via Twitter is visualised in real-time with an online map so citizens can warn each other about flood-affected areas and can safely navigate around the city.

“Jakarta’s population is one of the most active on Twitter in the world, so it is the ideal place to trial CogniCity, which is open-source, specifically designed for disaster management, and capable of consuming more than 240 tweets per second,” Dr Holderness said.

The pilot study was conducted during the 2014/2015 monsoon season in collaboration with the BPBD DKI Jakarta, and Twitter Inc., and is a world-first collaboration between Twitter, a university, and a disaster management agency.

“Information collected by the platform complements existing disaster response systems and helps BPBD DKI Jakarta respond faster to flood situations, which frequently occur across the CBD and outer city regions during the monsoon,” Dr Turpin said, adding that recent trends in weather intensification have exacerbated the problem.

Since the project’s official launch by Jakarta Governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama in December 2014, thousands of people have reported flood problems to PetaJakarta.org via their mobile devices. At peak times, PetaJakarta.org handled more than 3,000 users per hour.

With the support of Twitter, two-way communication protocols to help solicit flood reporting from the public were also trialled; more than 89,000 programmatic invitations have been disseminated to Twitter users in Jakarta, resulting in more than 2.2 million Twitter impressions.

“Due to its prevalent use, rich multimedia capabilities, and geolocation parameters, Twitter sees huge amounts of valuable data being shared by its users. And, as we’ve seen with the PetaJakarta.org project, CogniCity has the ability to make sense of this information in the context of disaster management so it can be analysed and acted upon,” Dr Turpin said.

Importantly, CogniCity is transferable software and could readily be deployed in other cities to address issues such as waste management, transport and traffic congestion, weather emergencies, and even elections and governance.

A White Paper with information about the CogniCity software and its capabilities, and a review of the recent PetaJakarta.org Joint Pilot Study, was announced at the “What Works” session of the New Cities Summit in Jakarta on 10 June 2015.

The White Paper will also be highlighted in the U.S. by Twitter’s Jim Moffitt at the 2015 National Hydrologic Warning Council Training Conference & Exposition on 15 June.

The White Paper, PetaJakarta.org: Assessing the Role of Social Media for Civic Co-Management During Monsoon Flooding in Jakarta, Indonesia, is available online:http://petajakarta.org/banjir/en/research.

For University of Wollongong. Read the original article.