Tuesday, May 25, 2021

Achieving Situational Awareness with Geolocated Social Media

Tuning back to our work on geosocial analysis we (Xiaoyi Yuan, Ron Mahabir, Arie Croitoru and myself) recently had a paper published in GeoJournal entitled "Achieving Situational Awareness of Drug Cartels with Geolocated Social Media." 
The overarching objective of this paper is to develop an approach that would enable the extraction of potentially relevant situational awareness-related information from geolocated raw data streams (in this example we use Twitter). We accomplish this goal by focusing on Named Entities (NEs) related to drug cartels rather than the raw text as a whole. Specifically, our analysis is performed on the NEs by first extracting them and then clustering them to identify relevant concepts/themes (using TextRazor). This approach gives rise to themes that can then be assessed for temporal and spatial patterns based on frequency in order to gain underlying insights into drug cartels. If is of interest to you below we provide the abstract to the paper, a diagram of our workflow and a sample of our results along with the link to the paper. Also the complete code for the analysis and results is available at https://bitbucket.org/xiaoyiyuan/cartel.

Abstract: Using geolocated tweets to achieve situational awareness is an often researched topic in disaster and emergency management. However, little has been done in the area of drug cartels, which, as transnational crime organizations, continue to pose great risk to the stability and safety of our communities. This paper made an initial effort in using geolocated social media (specifically Twitter) to achieve situational awareness of drug cartels through temporal and spatial analysis of derived named entity clusters. The results show that detecting peaks in the time series of frequently occurring entity clusters enabled the tracking of important events in public discourse surrounding drug cartels. Correlations between time series also provided valuable insights into the synchronicity between different events. Further examining the spatial distribution of key events for different countries, we identify thematic hotpots of public discourse on cartel activity. Our methodology also addresses issues of language ambiguity when working with noisy social media data in order to achieve situational awareness on drug cartels.

Keywords: Cartels, Social Media, Situational Awareness and Temporal and Spatial Analysis.

The workflow of achieving situational awareness of drug cartels using geolocated tweets.

Tweet and entity counts by language and geolocation.

An example of tweets of high frequency on peak day in Venezuela

Heat maps of frequencies of a Cluster for Day 14 and Days 18-21.

Full Reference:
Yuan, X., Mahabir, R., Crooks, A.T. and Croitoru, A. (2021), Achieving Situational Awareness of Drug Cartels with Geolocated Social Media, GeoJournal. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10708-021-10433-2 (pdf)

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