Technical Report: Identifying First Responder Communities through Social Network Analysis of Disaster-Related Traffic

First responder communities across disciplines are in constant pursuit of appropriate technologies and methods to help save lives, protect the public, and deliver their services more safely. Responders in the coming years will be challenged with identifying technologies that are most effective (and cost-effective) in performing duties ranging from law enforcement to emergency medical to fire fighting, and training professionals to use those technologies properly. Technology researchers can help define and deliver the needed technologies by helping to gather and understand responders' requirements in a timely way. Social media provides a bridge that could span the gap between the first responder and research communities. In this report we present our work on applying social network analysis to the problem locating sub-communities of first responders within universe of Twitter users and identifying current topics and active stakeholders within them. We describe the design and prototyping of a set of visualization-driven interactive tools that form a "dashboard" for interacting with aggregated data to perform focused social network analysis.


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