Tools and methods for capturing Twitter data during natural disasters

Axel Bruns, Yuxian Eugene Liang


During the course of several natural disasters in recent years, Twitter has been found to play an important role as an additional medium for many-to-many crisis communication. Emergency services are successfully using Twitter to inform the public about current developments, and are increasingly also attempting to source first-hand situational information from Twitter feeds (such as relevant hashtags). The further study of the uses of Twitter during natural disasters relies on the development of flexible and reliable research infrastructure for tracking and analysing Twitter feeds at scale and in close to real time, however. This article outlines two approaches to the development of such infrastructure: one which builds on the readily available open source platform yourTwapperkeeper to provide a low-cost, simple, and basic solution; and one which establishes a more powerful and flexible framework by drawing on highly scaleable, state-of-the-art technology.


natural disasters; crisis communication; Twitter; computer science; research methodology

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