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MIT Crowdsourcing Project Helps Florida Residents Track Irma Flooding

Florida residents look out at the flooding outside their home in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma in Immokalee, Fla., Monday, Sept. 11, 2017.

Florida residents look out at the flooding outside their home in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma in Immokalee, Fla., Monday, Sept. 11, 2017. // Gerald Herbert/AP

Residents of Broward County, Florida, have an additional resource to navigate the effects of Hurricane Irma.

On Friday, MIT's Urban Risk Lab launched a free open-sourced platform to map flooding in Broward County. Having up-to-date information on flooding is essential for both emergency responders and citizens.

The platform, known as RiskMap, lets citizens submit their reports through direct messages to MIT chatbots on social media platforms Twitter and Facebook. The reports include the location of the flooding, a description and a photo showing the water level.

The MIT video below details the process exactly: 

“This project shows the importance that citizen data has to play in emergencies,” said Tomas Holderness, a research scientist at MIT who led the design of the system. “By connecting residents and emergency managers via social messaging, our map helps keep people informed and improve response times.” 

Eventually, the MIT team would like to make the map available to other locations in Florida and to add other social media platforms. 

By Caitlin Fairchild September 11, 2017

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