Recent events in France (e.g. 2016 flooding in Loiret, 2015 and 2016 terrorist attacks in Paris and Nice) have confirmed the opportunities and challenges raised by social media in crisis management, for instance: The Facebook safety check, the hashtag #parisportesouvertes, the difficulties when communicating or interacting with citizens through emergent technologyand the need from institutions to adapt to these new means.
Social media actually involve citizens into the crisis management and response processes, but could be a way for stakeholders to manage this involvement. Volunteers (i.e. “private citizens who work together in pursuit of collective goals relevant to actual or potential disasters but whose organization has not yet become institutionalized”) are often the first who take care of victims, conduct search, organize solutions on-site, etc. To do so, they also need intensive communication. In this context, social media constitute an infrastructure for real and virtual collaborations: “victims” from the ground can communicate about the situation, “actual volunteers” and stakeholders are on-site and fight locally against the effects of a crisis while the “virtual volunteers” are located anywhere and help stakeholders on the ground and crisis managers through social media including crowd sourcing based tool (e.g. Open Street Map).
These new practices induce a cultural and institutional change and call for a reconfiguration of the channels of information (flow and understanding) from both the citizen and institutional response sides (upstream and downstream). Besides, collaboration and establishment of reliable patterns between heterogeneous stakeholder groups (e.g. police, fire-fighters, infrastructure operators, public administration and citizens) are required to improve the “collaborative resilience”. Nevertheless, social media use in crisis situation raises also ethical, legal and social implications that call for specific methodology for designing emergency management systems.
Based on the previous observations, the state of the art and deep discussions with the stakeholders associated to this proposal – end-users (i.e. decision makers, crisis managers, representative of national institutions, volunteers and rescue teams), this project aims at:
1) Studying the re-organization of information flows between citizens/volunteers on-site or on-line, operational stakeholders and crisis managers at the time of a crisis to support the i) integration of volunteers and citizens in the crisis management and response processes and ii) resilience of the affected community;
2) Designing and deploying, in close collaboration with the end-users, a mediation platform dedicated to integrate efficiently and smoothly data from heterogeneous (and potentially non-dedicated) data sources, including social media, and to translate it into “understandable” information for stakeholders. By managing upstream and downstream information flows, this mediation platform should include citizens and volunteers to support the formulation of a collaborative answer to the crisis/emergency. This platform will rely on pre-existing tools (used by stakeholders) and will integrate emergent web-based techniques such as crowdsourcing. One critical requirement for that platform is to be compliant and interoperable with existing tools.
Three types of crisis have already been defined with the end-users to respond to their needs: an urban crisis (multi-terrorist attack), a disaster (flooding) and a transversal crisis (e.g. general power breakdown).
Institut Mines Télécom (Laboratoire public)
The author of this summary is the project coordinator, who is responsible for the content of this summary. The ANR declines any responsibility as for its contents.
College of Information Sciences and Technology
Institut für Informatik
Trilateral Research Ltd.
Protection Civile Européenne
Secrétariat Général de la Zone de Défense et de Sécurité Préfecture de police
Centre for Integrated Emergency Management
NUMERIQUE & DIGITAL CITIZEN
Laboratoire Techniques, Territoires et Sociétés
Institut Mines Télécom
Help of the ANR 545,933 euros
Beginning and duration of the scientific project: January 2018 - 36 Months