Social Media Analytics and Decision Support Systems: Applications to Public Health and Crisis Management

This specialist meeting (workshop) is co-funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) project award #1416509, IBSS: Spatiotemporal Modeling of Human Dynamics Across Social Media and Social Networks and award #1634641, IMEE: Integrated Stage-Based Evacuation with Social Perception Analysis and Dynamic Population Estimation .The goal of this workshop is to foster the multidisciplinary collaboration in related research disciplines, including geography, linguistics, computer science, political science, public health, civil engineering, and communication. The two-day workshop (August 15 and August 16, 2017), organized by the Center for Human Dynamics in the Mobile Age (HDMA) at San Diego State University, brought together over 30 specialists drawn from many disciplines. The workshop assessed the current state of the art technologies and tools for studying social media analytics and decision support systems, identify and prioritize a research agenda, and begin the development of a research community of collaborating scholars working on these Big Data, social media, and decision support systems (DSS) issues.

Over 30 specialists and scholars were invited by the NSF IBSS and IMEE project team, consisting of PI Ming-Hsiang Tsou (Geography) and Co-PIs Brian Spitzberg (Communication), Jean Mark Gawron (Linguistics), Heather Corliss (Public Health), Jay Lee (Geography, Kent State), Xinyue Ye (Geography, Kent State), Xuan Shi (Geosciences, U of Arkansas), Atsushi Nara (Geography, SDSU), Xianfeng Yang (Civil Engineering, SDSU), and Sahar Ghanipoor Machiani (Civil Engineering, SDSU). The meeting included plenary presentations by invited experts, lightning talks, and focus group discussions. This workshop generated a final report to be published on the IBSS and IMEE project website. This year, our research theme was “Social Media Analytics and Decision Support Systems: Applications to Public Health and Crisis Management”. The dynamic supply of big data from millions of social media messages, GPS tracks, medical records, wireless sensors, electronic health records, web pages, and cellular phones, becomes an important research domain. Big data provide untapped potentials for analyzing dynamic human problems and enabling intelligent decision support systems for business analytics, disease outbreaks, crisis management, traffic patterns, urban dynamics, bioinformatics, and environmental changes. Big data offer golden opportunities for scientists to develop new smart decision support systems, which require transdisciplinary collaboration and research methodologies to integrate multiple perspectives into collaborative research endeavors.

This workshop will build a collaborative platform for scientists and researchers to work together. Specific research questions addressed in the workshop included: 1. What theoretical models can facilitate prediction of public health crisis information diffusion and response?2. What are some innovative ways that health behavior theories have been applied to understanding the influence of social media on human behavioral health and health outcomes? 3. What critical information are potentially obtainable through crowd sourcing during crisis management, and what is an efficient process to produce insight and use this information?4. How to effectively consider the uncertainty of evacuation demand and deal with the trade off between efficiency and robustness in the evacuation model?5. Regarding user interface design and functionalities on a web-GIS based decision support system for crisis management, what are key elements that can be beneficial to stakeholders?  

PI, Co-PIs, and Senior Personnel:

Dr. Ming-Hsiang Tsou (PI, SDSU)

Dr. Brian Spitzberg (IBSS Co-PI, SDSU)

Dr. Mark Gawron (IBSS Co-PI, SDSU)

Dr. Heather Corliss (IBSS Co-PI, SDSU)

Dr. Michael Peddecord (IBSS SDSU Affiliated)

Dr. Atsushi Nara (IMEE Co-PI, SDSU)

Dr. Sahar Ghanipoor Machiani (IMEE Co-PI, SDSU)

Dr. Xianfeng Yang (IMEE Co-PI, SDSU)

Dr. Jay Lee (Co-PI, Kent State)

Dr. Xinyue Ye (Co-PI, Kent State)

Dr. Xuan Shi (Co-PI, University of Arkansas)


Participant List IBSS Project National Visiting Committee Members:

Dr. Anatoliy Gruzd (Associate Professor, Director of the Social Media Lab, Ryerson University, Canada)

Dr. May Yuan (Ashbel Smith Professor, Geospatial Information Sciences, UT-Dallas)


IMEE National Visiting Committee Members:

Dr. Satish Ukkusuri (Professor, Civil Engineering, Purdue University)

Dr. Tom Cova (Professor, Geography, Director of Center for Natural & Technological Hazards, University of Utah) 

Mr. Michael Robles (San Diego County OES staff)



Dr. Haizhong Wang, Oregon State, (Assistant Professor in Civil Engineering)

Dr. Annice Kim (Senior Social Scientist, RTI International) 

Dr. Hilary McMillan (Associate Professor, Geography, SDSU)

Dr. Lourdes Martinez (Communications, SDSU)

Ms. Leslie Ray (Senior Epidemiologist, County of San Diego HHS)

Dr. Xiaobai Liu (Computer Science, SDSU)

Dr. Ilkay Altintas (UCSD and CalIT2)

Mr. Ray Chaney (211 San Diego)

Dr. Jesse Nodora (UCSD Moores Cancer Center)

Dr. Gabriel Doyle (SDSU Linguistics)

Dr. Su Han (HDMA Post Doc, SDSU)


HDMA Center Research Team:

Alejandra Coronado (Geography, SDSU) Hao Zhang (Geography, SDSU) Rick Zhang (Geography, SDSU) Eva Sanchez (Urban, SDSU) Nick Mesler (Civil engineering, SDSU) Alpita Masurkar (Computer Science, SDSU) Chanwoo JIN (new Ph.D. student) Jaehee Park (new Ph.D. student) Chi-Feng (Jeff) Yen (new M.S. student) Ashley Aure (Linguistics, SDSU) Caitlin Cole (Public Health, SDSU)