Using Digital Comics – For the power of good!?
Spanish researchers at the Universidad Carlos III of Madrid have developed a computer application that allows georeferenced images that have been uploaded to social networks on the Internet to be recovered, located on maps and organized like a comic to create a visual perspective of a specific story, such as a crisis situation or an emergency.
The system the UC3M researchers have created, with the collaboration of La Sapienze University of Rome (Italy), facilitates the search for photographs related to a specific theme, time or place that internauts post on social networks like Flickr. Afterwards, the application allows those images to be placed on maps based on their geographic coordinates, and filtered to include only those that the user is most interested in. The result is a digital story that can be shared with other users and which creates a visual summary that can aid in the understanding or documentation of a certain situation. “This is a tool – explains one of its creators – for exploring and studying emergency situations during the mitigation phase, in order to learn from them and improve the contingency plans or to establish better preparation mechanisms for citizens”, says Paloma Díaz, Full Professor in UC3M’s Computer Science Department.
The application, baptized with the name eStorys, can help the professionals involved in emergency management to obtain data and images to understand how citizens perceive these situations or to detect flaws and areas that can be improved, according to the researchers. In addition, it allows information to be retrieved very quickly, since there is a tremendous amount of communication traffic in networks like Flickr, Twitter or Facebook during crisis situations. This has already been demonstrated in several cases, such in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina or the terrorist attacks in London in 2005, when these systems proved to be very useful for contacting victims, updating alerts or following the course of the events.
read the rest at: A georeferenced digital ‘comic’ to improve emergency management.