On February 13, 2017 at University of Kochi (Ike campus), Prof. Osamu Uchida, a professor in the Department of Human and Information Science, Tokai University, Japan, presented Disaster Information Tweeting System (DITS), a system by which uses can post a disaster related tweet with geographic location information and the appropriate hashtag. He is researching and developing a support system for disaster victims using the information and communications technology (ICT) science to respond to the needs of each individual and to provide a platform that even the information illiterate can easily use. The DNGL students and faculty members actively participated.
Prof. Uchida explained that in order to minimize the damage in times of disaster, it is important to collect and transmit accurate information quickly. Twitter is a social media site with characteristics of high immediacy, easy access to sharing information, and a large number of users. Since the Great East Japan Earthquake of 2011, Twitter has been utilized as a communication tool by many people in Japan. Due to the reasons mentioned above, lots of Japanese national and local governmental agencies have taken a great deal of utilizing Twitter in order to collect and distribute disaster related information in recent years.
Prof. Uchida and his teams have implemented and conducted numerous tests on a real-time disaster related information sharing system with two functions: disaster related information tweeting and disaster related information mapping. By using the proposed system, users can post disaster related tweets with geo-location information (address) and the corresponding hashtag of the form “#(市区町村名) 災害” easily even if they do not now where they are.
When asked about future issues, Prof. Uchida said that there are many issues such as confirming the safety of family members and making a system for multi-purposes encompassing ways to report disasters other than an earthquake. He is developing a system in coordination with professors in a variety of fields inside and outside his university. He plans to improve the system by building features such as an automatic tweets classification system by relevant topic of tweets, and the personalization of the tweet map according to the users’ attributes. The proposed system can be primarily used only in Japan at present. Therefore, he will try to extend the system to so as to be used throughout the world. – by Hastoro Dwinantoaji