Obtaining real-time information about a hazard event as it unfolds, such as a flood or earthquake, was until relatively recently largely limited to the professional media. However, social media (e.g. Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Flickr etc.) have in recent years been increasingly used to gain situational awareness. More and more people are looking to social media as additional, more immediate sources of information.
GeoSocial (v2.0) is a tool that allows users, including BGS scientists, to display geoscience-related posts from social media sites such as Twitter. Social media provide a different channel for gathering potentially useful information for scientific analysis from the public. The aim of GeoSocial is to explore whether BGS can make use of the wealth of information that is publically available through such sites to help advance scientific understanding and provide better more timely advice.
GeoSocial identifies potentially relevant postings about different geoscience themes (e.g. landslides, aurora, flooding, volcanic eruptions and earthquakes) from Twitter and, if they can be locatable, displays them on a map interface. The application currently relies on keyword filtering and currently only searches for English terms. As such, some relevant postings may not be retrieved where they do not meet the predefined search criteria. Equally, although a level of filtering has been conducted, the posts that are displayed are content provided by Twitter and outside of the BGS's control. The BGS therefore cannot guarantee that these postings won't contain obscenities or cause offence. Over time, we hope to be able to build on the methods behind this data filtering to improve the relevance of the content that is displayed.
We hope to develop this tool further to improve the usefulness of the information it returns. This may be through:
In time, we also hope to provide analysis of the usefulness of this type of information to (BGS and other) hazard scientists when it is compared alongside structured data holdings, field observations and models. We will also explore opportunities to transfer the knowledge gained to other science themes.
Where through any error, act outside our control or misjudgement, the BGS is found to hold any of your personal information, we promise to handle it in line with our policy, which will include:
Please inform us via email@example.com of any content you wish to have removed from this site and we will promise to act to review and remove that content as required.
For further information about citizen science in the BGS contact bgscitizenscience.