Harnessing SOCIAL MEDIA to respond to natural disasters 

For the 28 million residents of Jakarta, flooding is a very real issue. Every year during monsoon season, large sections of this megacity are inundated with floodwaters.

Concerned with the ongoing threat of flooding to the people of Jakarta, University of Wollongong researchers saw an opportunity to make a real impact with their research via social media.

With the aid of a Twitter Data Grant, a web-based platform was created to harness the power of social media to gather, sort, and display information about flooding for Jakarta residents in real time.  PetaJakarta joined forces with Jakarta Emergency Management Agency, enabling the city’s emergency services to gain a real-time snapshot of flooding as it occurs and how to allocate the necessary resources to deal with it.

In 2016, the project expanded to include information gleaned from other data sources, such as citizen journalism, government information, and river gauges, to provide a more accurate and comprehensive picture of the flooding situation.

PetaJakarta has had a considerable impact on the landscape of Jakarta; during the monsoon season of 2014-2015, the platform’s flood map was accessed 160,000 times with information gathered from more than 100,000 tweets. Jakarta’s residents are said to feel safer and better able to navigate their own city during monsoon season, while emergency services have immensely improved through the ability to respond to situations quickly and efficiently.  

Drawing expertise from geomatics, urban resilience, spatial simulation and participatory modeling, researchers aim to translate PetaJakarta to other megacities that also face extreme weather conditions, a move set to have a positive impact on the way residents interact with their city and respond to disaster situations.

Learn how mapping twitter data is helping the country stay dry.   


Download the case study or visit Global Challenges. 

    Awarded a Twitter Data Grant
    Partnerships with 6 external agencies, including Indonesian government agency
    Lead by Early Career Researchers
    Achieved global media coverage
    100,000 tweets recorded during 2014-2015 flood season
    Featured in 2015 WorldDisasters Report for “community-level response to disaster.”
    Human Geography
    Information Technology
    Jakarta, Indonesia
    Wollongong, Australia