The use of social media in the disaster response actions during the Elbe flood of 2013 has had a great impact, the extent of which was unforeseen and unexpected by Saxon state capital Dresden. Within the course of only a few hours, a group of people the size of about a quarter of the city’s population – over 140,000 citizens – connected on social networks in order to get current information and offer private help. The operations managers and civil protection staff, however, were not appropriately equipped to analyze and restructure the massive amount of data and information shared on social networks, which made it difficult for them to manage the crowds of volunteers in a sensible way.

The project aims at developing methods for adapting to the increasing number of disaster situations caused by floods and at improving the adaptability of social systems. Focus tasks are the preparation and processing of data from social networks, as well as the development of foundations for the management of large crowds with regard to decision support.

Funded by the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety
on the basis of a resolution passed by the German Federal Parliament.