Cyclone Pam: Realtime Disaster Cataloging

This past December in response to Typhoon Ruby, GDELT collaborated with Andrej Verity of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) and Patrick Meier to provide a realtime global situational awareness system tracking worldwide reports of humanitarian aid pertaining to the disaster to feed into the MicroMappers platform.   Based on the excitement generated by this pilot aid tracking system, we collaborated once again earlier this month to create a permanent standing realtime feed of all global news coverage monitored by GDELT across 65 languages that relates to any of the disasters currently being tracked through OCHA’s ReliefWeb site.

Just a single week after debuting the new GDELT Live Disaster Stream, it saw its first production deployment in support of the relief efforts for Cyclone Pam, feeding a live-stream of global coverage of the devastation in Vanuatu to MicroMapper's global network of volunteers.  With the GDELT Live Disaster Stream's automatic tracking of the ReliefWeb disaster list, no human intervention was required to begin feeding global coverage of the relief efforts – within one hour of ReliefWeb adding the disaster to its official alerts catalog, GDELT immediately began including all monitored coverage of the cyclone's aftermath in its filtered disaster streams.  All of the imagery and related details, such as aid and humanitarian organizations mentioned, are fed in realtime to MicroMapper's vast network of volunteers to catalog and annotate the live-stream of emerging details of the aftermath.