I recently published a short essay in the IEEE Technology & Society Magazine about the opportunities and research challenges that social media present as a data source for understanding complex urban systems in informal settlements.  The post below is a synopsis of the article posted on IdeaPod.

Social media, driven by the explosive uptake in mobile computing, has caused a systematic shift in personal communications on a global scale. From the Arab Spring to the Occupy Movement it is apparent that social media is becoming an integrated part of our global communication infrastructure. Critically, much of this information is underpinned by geographical content such as mobile GPS coordinates, which enable the user to tie their media to a specific location on the Earth’s surface. In this new paradigm, social media are effectively forming a human-powered sensor network.

PetaJakarta_FloodReport 2

As world populations continue to grow, and we face the social, climatic and economic challenges of the 21st century, how can we leverage the potential of this new global network of intelligence sensors? How can we use this data to inform us about the urban system and adapt to global change?

Article originally published in IEEE Technology & Society Magazine Spring 2014: http://ro.uow.edu.au/smartpapers/119/