Tweet Earthquake Dispatch uses social networks to support earthquake response and report information about related hazards. Through the TED system, the U.S. Geological Survey’s National Earthquake Information Center analyzes data from social networks to detect earthquakes within seconds of their occurrence. TED harvests real-time tweets through a continuous connection to Twitter. The system applies a query parameter to reduce the stream to tweets that contain the keyword earthquake in several languages. For each tweet filtered by keyword, TED archives the creation time and text, the Twitter user location, the Twitter tweet ID, and the time the tweet appeared in the TED database. Around the clock, TED also ingests seismically derived earthquake information from the USGS’s near-real-time internal global earthquake stream. TED archives the earthquake time, region, magnitude and hypocenter (latitude, longitude and depth). It also records the source of the scientifically derived earthquake information. TED detects two to three earthquakes a day, on average. Especially in regions with few seismometers, TED reports often come in before traditional seismic networks detect an earthquake, giving seismologists early warning. TED sometimes detects earthquakes entirely missed by USGS’s automatic processing system, thereby increasing the number of felt events known to the agency. In addition, the tweet text and attached images sometimes offer a rapid qualitative assessment of an earthquake’s impact.
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