Publication of Real-time Mapping of Natural Disasters using Citizen Update Streams

Iranga Subasinghe, a third-year Ph.D. student in Spatial Information Science and Engineering, served as lead author on a research article recently published in the International Journal of Geographical Information Science in a special issue on “Real-time GIS for Smart Cities.” The research was accomplished through a team effort among personnel in the UMaine School of Computing and Information Science (SCIS) and the UMaine Department of Civil Engineering (CE).

Natural disasters such as flooding, wildfires, and mudslides are rare events, but they affect citizens at unpredictable times and the impact on human life can be significant. Citizens located close to events can provide detailed, real-time data streams capturing their event response. In this investigation, researchers built a Citizen Disaster Reaction Multi-Agent Simulation (CDR-MAS), a multi-agent system that simulates the reaction of citizens to a natural disaster in an urban region. In a simulation using data from an actual disaster, experimental evaluation showed that event mapping based on citizen update streams is significantly influenced by the amount of citizen participation and movement. Results showed that citizen update streams can provide timely information for disaster response and recovery assuming a smart city infrastructure.

Additional researcher and authors from SCIS included Associate Professor Silvia Nittel and Michael Cressey, a second-year Master’s student. Further participants from CE include Associate Professor Melissa Landon and Prashanta Bajracharya, a second-year master’s student. The work was supported by the National Science Foundation, Division of Information and Intelligent Systems [1527504].

For more information, consult the publication: Iranga Subasinghe, Silvia Nittel, Michael Cressey, Melissa Landon & Prashanta Bajracharya (2019) Real-time mapping of natural disasters using citizen update streams, International Journal of Geographical Information Science, DOI: 10.1080/13658816.2019.1639185