SocialDrone: An Integrated Social Media and Drone Sensing System for Reliable Disaster Response

Md Tahmid Rashid, Daniel Yue Zhang, Dong Wang

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Social media sensing has emerged as a new disaster response application paradigm to collect real-time observations from online social media users about the disaster status. Due to the noisy nature of social media data, the task of identifying trustworthy information (referred to as truth discovery) has been a crucial task in social media sensing. However, existing truth discovery solutions often fall short of providing accurate results in disaster response applications due to the spread of misinformation and difficulty of an efficient verification in such scenarios. In this paper, we present SocialDrone, a novel closed-loop social-physical active sensing framework that integrates social media and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) for reliable disaster response applications. In SocialDrone, signals emitted from the social media are distilled to drive the drones to target areas to verify the emergency events. The verification results are then taken back to improve the sensing and distillation process on social media. The SocialDrone framework introduces several unique challenges: i) how to drive the drones using the unreliable social media signals? ii) How to ensure the system is adaptive to the high dynamics from both the physical world and social media? iii) How to incorporate real-world constraints (e.g., the deadlines of events, limited number of drones) into the framework? The SocialDrone addresses these challenges by building a novel integrated social-physical sensing system that leverages techniques from game theory, constrained optimization, and reinforcement learning. The evaluation results on a real-world disaster response application show that SocialDrone significantly outperforms state-of-the-art truth discovery schemes and drone-only solutions by providing more effective disaster response.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationINFOCOM 2020 - IEEE Conference on Computer Communications
PublisherInstitute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc.
Number of pages10
ISBN (Electronic)9781728164120
StatePublished - Jul 2020
Externally publishedYes
Event38th IEEE Conference on Computer Communications, INFOCOM 2020 - Toronto, Canada
Duration: Jul 6 2020Jul 9 2020

Publication series

NameProceedings - IEEE INFOCOM
ISSN (Print)0743-166X


Conference38th IEEE Conference on Computer Communications, INFOCOM 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Computer Science
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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