is featured as the sixth chapter in a new book by Springer “Social Media for Government Services”. Created by colleagues Surya Nepal and Cécile Paris at CSIRO (Data 61) and Dimitrios Georgakopoulos from RMIT; the book explores the role of social media for governments at local, state and federal scales to improve communication, participation and transparency with citizens.

Chapter 6: From Social Media to GeoSocial Intelligence: Crowdsourcing Civic Co-Management for Flood Response in Jakarta, Indonesia

by Tomas Holderness & Etienne Turpin


Here we present a review of, a system designed to harness social media use in Jakarta for the purpose of relaying information about flood locations from citizen to citizen and from citizens and the city’s emergency management agency. The project aimed to produce an open, real-time situational overview of flood conditions and provide decision support for the management agency, as well as offering the government a data source for post-event analysis.

The platform was designed as a socio-technological system and developed as a civic co-management tool to enable climate adaptation and community resilience in Jakarta, a delta megacity suffering enormous infrastructural instability due to a troubled confluence of environmental factors—the city’s rapid urbanization, its unique geographic limitations, and increasing sea-levels and monsoon rainfalls resulting from climate change. The chapter concludes with a discussion of future research in open source platform and their role in infrastructure and disaster management.

Download pre-print (.pdf) | Link to publisher

The Hansard transcript of my testimony to the Australian Government’s enquiry into Smart ICT is now available online. Presenting the project as evidence I described to the committee how open data and open source software underpinned by metadata standards can be used to integrate multiple information sources into one platform. During extreme weather events, this integrated map of intelligence can be used to improve decision making by both governments and residients in real-time.

Transcript is linked below. You can read the original submission here (pdf).


To say that Indonesia’s capital is prone to flooding would be an understatement. Well over 40% of Jakarta is at or below sea level. Add to this a rapidly growing population of over 10 million and you have a recipe for recurring disasters. Increasing the resilience of the city’s residents to flooding is thus imperative. Resilience is the capacity of affected individuals to self-organize effectively, which requires timely decision-making based on accurate, actionable and real-time information. But Jakarta is also flooded with information during disasters. Indeed, the Indonesian capital is the world’s most active Twitter city.


So even if relevant, actionable information on rising flood levels could somehow be gleaned from millions of tweets in real-time, these reports could be inaccurate or completely false. Besides, only 3% of tweets on average are geo-located, which means any reliable evidence of flooding reported via Twitter is typically not actionable—that is, unless local residents and responders know where waters are rising, they can’t take tactical action in a timely manner. These…

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The paper “Network modelling for road-based Fecal Sludge Management“ has won the Institute of Civil Engineers’ James Hill Prize for best paper in Journal Municipal Engineer. As a result of the prize the paper will be made open access.

View the annoucement at or read the previous post about the paper.

…the symposium brings together leading scholars, researchers, critics, and practitioners for a series of discussions about the consequences of big data, data-driven design, and their latent potentials for design, planning, and activism.

As forays into big data analytics support increasingly innovative design strategies, and as new theoretical approaches and policy frameworks shape the future of urban data politics, the symposium asks how, why, and for whom: Data Made Me Do It.

Accountabilities Panel Presentation
Hacking Twitter to build evidence based flood response in Jakarta