MS2016-10: Anticipating floods in Jakarta

posted Oct 7, 2016, 7:32 AM by Marco Spruit   [ updated Aug 30, 2017, 2:42 AM ]
During the rain season in Jakarta many parts of Jakarta will flood. Part of this is caused by construction that extends the town ever further inland and preventing natural water flows. Part of it is also caused by blockage of riverbeds by garbage and slums. Due to the latter it is impossible to create accurate models of the whole delta and predict floods accurately. The riverbeds and sewage canals change too often (and illegal) to be reliably modeled.

In the Peta Jakarta project ( a consortium (led by the university of Wollongong) tried to use twitter reports to get real-time reports about the flooding situation in order to accurately anticipate and react to the floods. Although there were some partial successes it seemed that people were not willing to send official flooding reports by twitter. However, they did twitter a lot to friends and relatives. In these tweets no direct reports were given about the flooding, but the tweets indirectly are giving a lot of information that might be used.

In this project the student will look at the collected twitter data and see which linguistic techniques can be used to extract as much information as possible about the flooding situations.

More information about the original project can be found at:
or from Dr. Frank Dignum. E-mail:

starting time: any time from October 2016