Tapping into social media and digital humanitarians for building disaster resilience in Canada


  1. Kaminska, K.
Corporate Authors
Defence Research and Development Canada, Centre for Security Science, Ottawa ON (CAN);Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc, New York NY (US)
Social media offers the opportunity to connect with the public, improve situational awareness, and to reach people quickly with alerts, warnings and preparedness messages. However, the ever increasing popularity of social networking can also lead to ‘information overload’ which can prevent disaster management organizations from processing and using social media information effectively. This limitation can be overcome through collaboration with ‘digital humanitarians’ – tech savvy volunteers, who are leading the way in crisis-mapping and crowdsourcing of disaster information. Since the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, their involvement has become an integral part of the international community’s response to major disasters. For example, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) activated the Digital Humanitarian Network during the 2013 response to typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda. Our previous research has shown that Canada’s disaster management community has not yet fully taken advantage of all the opportunities that social media offers, including the potential of collaboration with digital humanitarians. This finding has led to the development of an experiment designed to test how social media aided collaboration can enable enhanced situational awareness and improve recovery outcomes. The experiment took place in November 2014 as a part of the third Canada–US Enhanced Resiliency Experiment (CAUSE III), which is an experiment series that f
social media;digital volunteers;emergency management;disaster management;social network analysis
Report Number
DRDC-RDDC-2015-P091 — External Literature
Date of publication
14 Oct 2015
Number of Pages
Electronic Document(PDF)

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