A graph-based method for social sensing of infrastructure disruptions in disasters
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2019Computer-Aided Civil and Infrastructure Engineering Damages in critical infrastructure occur abruptly, and disruptions evolve with time dynamically. Understanding the situation of critical infrastructure disruptions is essential to effective disaster response and recovery of communities. Although the potential of social media data for situation awareness during disasters has been investigated in recent studies, the application of social sensing in detecting disruptions and analyzing evolutions of the situation about critical infrastructure is limited. To address this limitation, this study developed a graph-based method for detecting credible situation information related to infrastructure disruptions in disasters. The proposed method was composed of data filtering, burst time-frame detection, content similarity calculation, graph analysis, and situation evolution analysis. The application of the proposed method was demonstrated in a case study of Hurricane Harvey in 2017 in Houston. The findings highlighted the capability of the proposed method in detecting credible situational information and capturing the temporal and spatial patterns of critical infrastructure events that occurred in Harvey, including disruptive events and their adverse impacts on communities. The proposed methodology can improve the ability of community members, volunteer responders, and decision makers to detect and respond to infrastructure disruptions in disasters.