Flood expected? The Crowd is saving lives

Flood, monitoring, Floodtags, Indonesia, maps, live-saving

Floodtags offers the local perspective, the ground-truth on floods, by listening to and anticipating on the flood observations of citizens on social media. After filtering and enriching the data with water- and geolocations, Floodtags delivers the ground-truth data as a service for flood management.

The crowd is saving lives during flood disasters. How? FloodTags is receiving all flood related tweets, starting in Indonesia. 

Tweets about major floods are being turned into a mapping tool that could be used by emergency services and disaster response teams to evacuate an area, save lives and provide aid.

“This method is really fast,” Deltares flood expert Dirk Eilander told the Thomson Reuters Foundation. “It can produce a map within around a minute of messages being posted.”

Real-time Indonesia

Hundreds of tweets when it happened

  • Some 900 flood-related tweets per minute were sent in the Indonesian capital Jakarta during floods in February 2015These tweets tend to have a very detailed description:
    • including pictures
    • information on the precise location
    • sometimes even water depth


Analysis is also being carried out on tweets about floods in Serbia. If people tweet about floods, there are observations that could be used to protect lives. World Wide!

Data mining

Floodtags developed a data system that uses Twitter data to create maps of areas to be targeted for post-disaster assistance. Flood-related tweets are mined for data on water depths and location.

The information is compared to digital maps of low-lying and flood-prone areas, as well as district-specific data on the number of tweets and water depth per tweet.

Floodtags combines this information and shows flood probability maps. These maps are showing how likely it is that a flood is occurring at a specific time at a specific place.

These maps are very useful information for emergency services, for example to find people who are affected or to plan for evacuation.


In March, Twitter chief Dick Costolo said the company would work with Indonesian authorities to warn people about natural disasters.

More info

E. info@betterworldsolutions.eu

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