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Structured Information Extraction from Natural Disaster Events on Twitter

Sandeep Panem, Manish Gupta, and Vasudeva Varma

Abstract

As soon as natural disaster events happen, users are eager to know more about them. However, search engines currently provide a ten blue links interface for queries related to such events. Relevance of results for such queries can be significantly improved if users are shown a structured summary of the fresh events related to such queries. This would not just reduce the number of user clicks to get the relevant information but would also help users get updated with more fine grained attribute-level information.

Twitter is a great source that can be exploited for obtaining such fine-grained structured information for fresh natural disaster events. Such events are often reported on Twitter much earlier than on other news media. However, extracting such structured information from tweets is challenging because: 1. tweets are noisy and ambiguous; 2. there is no well defined schema for various types of natural disaster events; 3. it is not trivial to extract attribute-value pairs and facts from unstructured text; and 4. it is difficult to find good mappings between extracted attributes and attributes in the event schema.

We propose algorithms to extract attribute-value pairs, and also devise novel mechanisms to map such pairs to manually generated schemas for natural disaster events. Besides the tweet text, we also leverage text from URL links in the tweets to fill such schemas. Our schemas are temporal in nature and the values are updated whenever fresh information flows in from human sensors on Twitter. Evaluation on 58000 tweets for 20 events shows that our system can fill such event schemas with an F1 of 0.6.

Details

Publication typeInproceedings
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