Online Tool to Help in Emergencies

Purdue University ( has developed a new online platform called the “Social Media Analytics and Reporting Toolkit” known as SMART to help first responders monitor social media posts to find people in need of help and being rescued.

First responders can use SMART to select key words and themes such as flooding or medical emergencies which are then visually displayed and highlighted on a map as they are these topics are talked about on social media within a specific geographic area.

“SMART distills social media data down to relevant and usable information in real time,” said David Ebert, Director for Purdue’s “Visual Analytics for Command, Control and Interoperability Environments” (VACCINE).

VACCINE operates as a Center of Excellence for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and is being funded by the DHS Science & Technology First Responders group. Although the system has not been released publicly, official first-responder organizations can request an account to use SMART during Hurricane Florence by contacting David Ebert at The video at explains how the platform works.

The Purdue Office of Technology Commercialization has worked with the team to patent SMART. Now the team is looking to license or sell the technology.

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