Spatiotemporal dynamics of flood Impact by integrating satellite, VGI and social media data: rapid assessment of the October Flood

USC 2015 SC Flood Research Initiative

PI: Zhenlong Li; Co-Is: Susan Wang, Christopher Emrich, Diansheng Guo


Summary: Rapid assessment of flood impact is important for local authorities and emergency responders to quickly identify the areas for immediate attention. Remote sensing monitors the event through a synoptic view of Earth surface changes; VGI collects collaborative user-generated content through citizen science; and social media captures micro-level, real-time information via “human-as-sensors”. We innovatively integrate the three data sources to explore the spatiotemporal dynamics of flood impact within the time frame of the October flood. The data collected and model framework designed here will serve as the basis of our continuous research in assessing vulnerability and society resilience of disaster events.

a – The ALI image (acquired on Oct. 8, 2015, panchromatic view) in Columbia, SC and locations of verified tweets and five gauges; b – Water height readings at gauges during the flood.)


Wang, C., Li, Z., and Huang, X. 2018. Geospatial assessment of wetness dynamics in the October 2015 SC Flood with remote sensing and social media. Southeastern Geographer, 58(2):164-180.

Li, Z., C. Wang, C. T. Emrich, D. Guo, 2018. A novel approach to leveraging social media for rapid flood mapping: a case study of the 2015 South Carolina Floods. Cartography and Geographic Information Sciences. 45: 97-110.

Li Z., Wang C., Emrich C., Guo D., 2016. Rapid Mapping of October 2015 South Carolina Flood using Social Media, Remote Sensing and Stream Gauges. In: The South Carolina Deluge: Lessons from a Watershed Disaster, Center for Resilience Studies, Northeastern University (pp. 52-62)

Huang, X., Wang, C., & Li, Z. (2018). Reconstructing flood inundation probability by enhancing near real-time imagery with real-time gauges and tweets. IEEE Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing, 56(8), 4691-4701.

Huang, X., Wang, C., & Li, Z. (2018). A near real-time flood-mapping approach by integrating social media and post-event satellite imagery. Annals of GIS, 24(2), 113-123.