Mapping Social Media and Sedona's Slide Fire

Today I'm mapping social media posts related to the Slide Fire, burning 7 miles north of Sedona in the world renowned Oak Creek Canyon. Following topics or events on social media is a great way stay up to date and get the latest news. That must be why the Slide Fire has its own Facebook page.... Posts on social media sites are often sent from mobile devices that, when location enabled, can determine their location on the earth using satellites, cell towers, and other modern witchcraft- and those locations can be put on a map.

First, I wanted to create an updated map depicting the latest boundary of the Slide Fire. As of this posting,  the wildfire has grown to over 10,000 acres and counting- despite all of humanity and nature's efforts to contain it. There are close to 1,000 personnel including 36 crews, 46 engines, nine helicopters, and two air attack tankers currently assigned to the fire. In addition, mother nature gifted us with brief intermittent rainstorms late last night.

Next, I wanted to include social media posts on the map. I've seen so many posts by so many people about the Slide Fire, sharing incredible photos, air quality warnings, road closure information, words of hope, even offering their homes up to evacuees. What if you could display these on a map, I wondered...well, you can!

I discovered that I could add locations from Instagram, Twitter, Flickr, and Web Cams in the Table of Contents using ESRI's Wildfire Activity Public Information Map. To access the Table of Contents, click on the icon that looks like 3 lines in the upper left corner of the map. To access Layers, click on the 3rd column in the Table of Contents. Then scroll down to Media Layers. You can check the boxes to toggle the media layers off and on, and also modify the search terms for both Twitter and Flickr, by clicking on the gear shaped icons that appear to the right of the layer name.

These posts represent only those where the user has enabled, or at least not disabled, location tagging on their mobile devices or computers. However, looking at the amount of tweets generated by a simple Storify search (showing tweets in real-time), you can see that there are a lot more posts on Twitter regarding the #SlideFire than appear on the map above. But I still think the concept of social media mapping is pretty cool....

No comments:

Post a Comment