Typhoon Yolanda: UN Needs Your Help Tagging Crisis Tweets for Disaster Response (Updated)

Final Update 14 [Nov 13th @ 4pm London]: Thank you for clicking to support the UN’s relief operations in the Philippines! We have now completed our mission as digital humanitarian volunteers. The early results of our collective online efforts are described here. Thank you for caring and clicking. Feel free to join our list-serve if you want to be notified when humanitarian organizations need your help again during the next disaster—which we really hope won’t be for a long, long time. In the meantime, our hearts and prayers go out to those affected by this devastating Typhoon.

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The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) just activated the Digital Humanitarian Network (DHN) in response to Typhoon Yolanda, which has already been described as possibly one of the strongest Category 5 storms in history. The Standby Volunteer Task Force (SBTF) was thus activated by the DHN to carry out a rapid needs & damage assessment by tagging reports posted to social media. So Ji Lucas and I at QCRI (+ Hemant & Andrew) and Justine Mackinnon from SBTF have launched MicroMappers to microtask the tagging of tweets & images. We need all the help we can get given the volume we’ve collected (and are continuing to collect). This is where you come in!

TweetClicker_PH2

You don’t need any prior experience or training, nor do you need to create an account or even login to use the MicroMappers TweetClicker. If you can read and use a computer mouse, then you’re all set to be a Digital Humanitarian! Just click here to get started. Every tweet will get tagged by 3 different volunteers (to ensure quality control) and those tweets that get identical tags will be shared with our UN colleagues in the Philippines. All this and more is explained in the link above, which will give you a quick intro so you can get started right away. Our UN colleagues need these tags to better understand who needs help and what areas have been affected.

ImageClicker YolandaPH

It only takes 3 seconds to tag a tweet or image, so if that’s all the time you have then that’s plenty! And better yet, if you also share this link with family, friends, colleagues etc., and invite them to tag along. We’ll soon be launching We have also launched the ImageClicker to tag images by level of damage. So please stay tuned. What we need is the World Wide Crowd to mobilize in support of those affected by this devastating disaster. So please spread the word. And keep in mind that this is only the second time we’re using MicroMappers, so we know it is not (yet) perfect : ) Thank you!

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p.s. If you wish to receive an alert next time MicroMappers is activated for disaster response, then please join the MicroMappers list-serve here. Thanks!

Previous updates:

Update 1: If you notice that all the tweets (tasks) have been completed, then please check back in 1/2 hour as we’re uploading more tweets on the fly. Thanks!

Update 2: Thanks for all your help! We are getting lots of traffic, so the Clicker is responding very slowly right now. We’re working on improving speed, thanks for your patience!

Update 3: We collected 182,000+ tweets on Friday from 5am-7pm (local time) and have automatically filtered this down to 35,175 tweets based on relevancy and uniqueness. These 35K tweets are being uploaded to the TweetClicker a few thousand tweets at a time. We’ll be repeating all this for just one more day tomorrow (Saturday). Thanks for your continued support!

Update 4: We/you have clicked through all of Friday’s 35K tweets and currently clicking through today’s 28,202 tweets, which we are about 75% of the way through. Many thanks for tagging along with us, please keep up the top class clicking, we’re almost there! (Sunday, 1pm NY time)

Update 5: Thanks for all your help! We’ll be uploading more tweets tomorrow (Monday, November 11th). To be notified, simply join this list-serve. Thanks again! [updated post on Sunday, November 10th at 5.30pm New York]

Update 6: We’ve uploaded more tweets! This is the final stretch, thanks for helping us on this last sprint of clicks!  Feel free to join our list-serve if you want to be notified when new tweets are available, many thanks! If the system says all tweets have been completed, please check again in 1/2hr as we are uploading new tweets around the clock. [updated Monday, November 11th at 9am London]

Update 7 [Nov 11th @ 1pm London]We’ve just launched the ImageClicker to support the UN’s relief efforts. So please join us in tagging images to provide rapid damage assessments to our humanitarian partners. Our TweetClicker is still in need of your clicks too. If the Clickers are slow, then kindly be patient. If all the tasks are done, please come back in 1/2hr as we’re uploading content to both clickers around the clock. Thanks for caring and helping the relief efforts. An update on the overall digital humanitarian effort is available here.

Update 8 [Nov 11th @ 6.30pm NY]We’ll be uploading more tweets and images to the TweetClicker & ImageClicker by 7am London on Nov 12th. Thank you very much for supporting these digital humanitarian efforts, the results of which are displayed here. Feel free to join our list-serve if you want to be notified when the Clickers have been fed!

Update 9 [Nov 12th @ 6.30am London]: We’ve fed both our TweetClicker and ImageClicker with new tweets and images. So please join us in clicking away to provide our UN partners with the situational awareness they need to coordinate their important relief efforts on the ground. The results of all our clicks are displayed here. Thank you for helping and for caring. If the Clickers or empty or offline temporarily, please check back again soon for more clicks.

Update 10 [Nov 12th @ 10am New York]: Were continuing to feed both our TweetClicker and ImageClicker with new tweets and images. So please join us in clicking away to provide our UN partners with the situational awareness they need to coordinate their important relief efforts on the ground. The results of all our clicks are displayed here. Thank you for helping and for caring. If the Clickers or empty or offline temporarily, please check back again soon for more clicks. Try different browsers if the tweets/images are not showing up.

Update 11 [Nov 12th @ 5pm New York]: Only one more day to go! We’ll be feeding our TweetClicker and ImageClicker with new tweets and images by 7am London on the 13th. We will phase out operations by 2pm London, so this is the final sprint. The results of all our clicks are displayed here. Thank you for helping and for caring. If the Clickers are empty or offline temporarily, please check back again soon for more clicks. Try different browsers if the tweets/images are not showing up.

Update 12 [Nov 13th @ 9am London]: This is the last stretch, Clickers! We’ve fed our TweetClicker and ImageClicker with new tweets and images. We’ll be refilling them until 2pm London (10pm Manila) and phasing out shortly thereafter. Given that MicroMappers is still under development, we are pleased that this deployment went so well considering. The results of all our clicks are displayed here. Thank you for helping and for caring. If the Clickers are empty or offline temporarily, please check back again soon for more clicks. Try different browsers if the tweets/images are not showing up.

Update 13 [Nov 13th @ 11am London]: Just 3 hours left! Our UN OCHA colleagues have just asked us to prioritize the ImageClicker, so please focus on that Clicker. We’ll be refilling the ImageClicker until 2pm London (10pm Manila) and phasing out shortly thereafter. Given that MicroMappers is still under development, we are pleased that this deployment went so well considering. The results of all our clicks are displayed here. Thank you for helping and for caring. If the ImageClicker is empty or offline temporarily, please check back again soon for more clicks. Try different browsers if images are not showing up.

42 responses to “Typhoon Yolanda: UN Needs Your Help Tagging Crisis Tweets for Disaster Response (Updated)

  1. Pingback: Tag Tweets to Support Typhoon Relief Efforts in Philippines! « MicroMappers

  2. Hello. I am now micromapping tweets and it seems that the categories that you have proposed could be improved. There are a lot of tweets that describe the properties of the typhoon (the force of the wind and so on), and a lot of tweets that give advices to people (cover yourself, warm clothes, read this or that article that explains how to act in case of a typhoon). Why not adding these 2 more categories ? (information and advice…)

    • Thanks for your help, Xenia! The categories were requested by our UN partners based on their specific information needs. We’ll be adding “Displaced population” shortly as an additional category as per their request just now. Hope this helps. Thanks again!

  3. I’m concerned that the right tweets aren’t making it into the review stream. A large majority predate landfall, which was now 17hrs ago. Obviously there is very little connectivity in Leyte after the storm but we are reviewing a large amount of dated tweets.

    • Hi Mike, thanks for helping out. We started collecting the tweets at 5am local time, ie, 1 hour before sunrise. And we continued collecting tweets until 7pm local time, ie, which was 1 hour after sunset. Not all tweets from today’s collection have been uploaded to the Clicker yet. In any event, I don’t think it is possible that a “large majority predate landfall”, we’ve only uploaded 10% of all tweets thus far and since I have been up since 5am local, I can confirm that their were relevant tweets posted at daybreak. Thanks again for helping out.

  4. Hi, I’m from the Philippines and I just started tagging tweets. Should we base tweet relevance on disaster relief or on subject matter? For example, if the tweet contains prayers for the Philippines should that be relevant (yes, it’s about Haiyan) or should it be non-related (not about disaster relief).

  5. Also, in tweets where there are tinyURLs containing articles or photos, do we have to open the tinyURLs and consider their content in the tweet’s relevance?

  6. Sorry it’s me again. But will have clicked through 200 posts soon and am wondering what hash tags you’re using. Is it just #Philippines and #YolandaPH? For disasters these last few years we’ve been using unified hashtags #rescuePH and #reliefPH. Haven’t seen these yet on the tweets so was wondering if they’re covered in your tweet harvest.

    • Thanks very much for helping! We’re using about 30 different hashtags, including #rescuePH and #reliefPH. Full list here:

      #PhanRang, #Cyclonethirty, #Vietnam, #Philippines, #Cambodia, #KaohKong, #Pouthisat, #KampongCham, #KampongChhnang, #Kandal, #KampongSpoe, #KampongThum, #PhnumPenh, #PreyVeng, #Kracheh #TayNinh, #MondolKiri, #VietNam, #DacLac, #KhanhHoa, #LamDong, #NinhThuan, #PhuYen, #SongBe, #BaRia-VungTau, #DongThap #HoChiMinh, #KienGiang, #LongAn, #TienGiang, #BenTre, #CanTho, #Soctrang, #TraVinh, #VinhLong, #Philippines, #SouthernTagalog, #palau, #HoChiMinhCity, #PhnumPénh, #ThànhPhoHoChíMinh, #PhanRang, #LongAn, #cyclone, #tropicalcyclone, #thirty13, #PhanRang, #ThonTriThuy, #ApBinhBa, #TuyPhong, #ApVinhHao, #HoaDa, #ApHoiTam, #ThonLacNghie, #ThonSonHai, #ApVinhTrieu, #Roxas, #SanNicholas, #Rizal, #Malcampo, #stormsurge, #typhoon, #haiyan, #Palani, #yolanda, #typhoonyolanda, #QuangNam-DaNang, #ThuaThienHue, #CentralVisayas, #WesternVisayas, #Bicol, #SouthernTagalog, #EasternVisayas, #Calbayog, #Kalibo, #Roxas, #Babatñgon, #Barugo, #Carigara, #Palo, #Ormoc, #Burauen, #Tacloban, #Tanauan, #Guiuan, #Dulag, #Mamburao, #Masbate, #SanJose, #Romblon, #Calbayog, #Kalib0, #Roxas, #Ormoc, #DanielZRomualdez, #Guiuan, #Pinamalayan, #Borongan, #SicogonIsland, #CaticlanMalay, #Dolores, #Wasig, #BiliranNatl, #Catbalogan, #Borongan, #Catbalogan, #RomblonIsland, #Tacloban, #Pinamalayan, #Caminawit, #Odiongan, #PortBarrera, #GenMacarthur, #Guiuan, #Talalora, #Leyte, #Ormoc, #Palompon, #Villaba, #Arevalo, #Calubian, #SantaFe, #PortCapiz, #typhoon, #PalauWave, #31w, #YolandaPH , #rescuePh, #reliefPH, #floodsPH, #walangpasok

  7. Hi Patrick,
    There is substantial lag time between clicking on the appropriate category and receiving the next tweet to analyze. In an hour’s time frame (12:30pm – 1:30pm EST), I was able to categorize 100 messages. The majority fell into either the Relevant but Other or Not Relevant category. 6 fell into the other categories: 1 Request for Help/Needs; 3 for Infrastructure Damage; 1 for Population Displacement; and one for Not English. Some of the categories allow room for misinterpretation. Thanks for all you do Patrick!

  8. Hi Patrick,
    There is lag time between clicking on the appropriate category and receiving the next tweet. In an hour’s time frame (12:30pm – 1:30pm EST), I was able to categorize 100 messages. The majority fell into either the Relevant but Other or Not Relevant category. 6 fell into the other categories: 1 Request for Help/Needs; 3 for Infrastructure Damage; 1 for Population Displacement; and one for Not English. I feel some of the chosen category names allow room for misinterpretation. Thanks for all you do Patrick!

  9. Please consider for next app upgrade: Have some visual clue that a click to classify has taken. That would reduce uncertainty during lag… Thanks.

  10. Way too slow to deliver the next one.
    But fantastic app.

  11. Pingback: How You Can Help ‘Crowdsource’ Typhoon Yolanda Response | DisasterNet

  12. It would be good if there is a category for General News Stories. I’m putting them as Relevant but Other.

    • Thanks Paul, the categories were given to us by our colleagues at UN OCHA based on their own specific information needs for the relief efforts. Our partners at Translators Without Borders have been handling non-English reports. In the (near) future, we’ll have a TranslateClicker that will help them in this task.

  13. Also is there a special site for the Overseas Filipino Workers to classify the non-English reports?

  14. Also a category for Fraud or Phishing scams. I haven’t seen any yet but they are bound to occur.

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  17. Pingback: MicroMappers, plataforma colaborativa para ayudar a Naciones Unidas en la respuesta a Tifón Yolanda | iRescate

  18. Thank you! I also posted the cnn help link.

  19. Hi Patrick,
    TweetClicker was faster today. For ImageClicker, 100 images were assessed in 10 minutes. 5 of them were placed in the category of severe; 1 in mild; and the remainder in none. Recommend “clickers” be patient as you’ll see many of the same images over and over (for example, the purple screen capture of the Viper notification).

  20. Hi, how do you want tweets which contain info on how to give aid categorized?

  21. Pingback: A Few updates Regarding Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda) | Speed Evidence Project

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