Incorporating social media analysts in emergency dispatch centers: A cross-cultural approach

An ISCRAM 2019 Workshop

Valencia (Spain), Sunday May 19, 2019


#1) Bring together practitioners and researchers in the global emergency dispatch community to discuss common opportunities and challenges regarding the incorporation of social media analytics and analysts in emergency dispatch centers. 

#2) Discuss best practices by sharing common experiences related to the use of social media in emergency dispatch work. Discussions in small-group ideation sessions will focus on issues such as information quality and verification, analyst training, software toolkits, organizational policy, and practitioner-researcher collaboration.

#3) Draft a white paper co-authored among workshop participants (attending in person and remotely) that will provide a touchstone for incorporating social media analysts and analytics in emergency dispatch centers. 

We welcome your participation! For those who cannot attend in person, there will be opportunities to participate remotely. 

For further information, please email Rob Grace (

Below are the workshop discussion topics, schedule, and organizer information. 


Integrated small groups of practitioners and researchers will choose topics for discussion (or create new topics). Within each group, attendees will be “tagged” with responsibilities to draft short use cases, relevant experiences, or discussion summaries that will contribute to the final report. “Tagging” involves handing a participant a colored index card for them to write down an experienced use case or thoughts on an aspect of a topic. Participants will also include their email to be invited to the collaborative Google Doc where they can draft their contribution in full during and after the workshop.  

Topic 1: Use cases for social media analytics 

When does social media become useful in emergency dispatch- routine incidents, local emergencies, or large disasters? What are experienced use cases for the use of social media? Use cases will be sought throughout the workshop by “tagging” practitioners and researchers.

Topic 2: Information Quality and Verification

What information elements make social media actionable? How can information obtained from social media be verified (i.e. trusted) for emergency dispatch? How can social media augment existing information sources (e.g. 9-1-1/1-1-2 calls)? 

Topic 3: Incorporating Analysts

How can social media analysts be incorporated into emergency dispatch operations? Based on the current professional practices, do emergency centers require a dedicated, new social media analyst or can existing officials take on additional, new responsibilities?  What are challenges of incorporating analysts in pre-existing practices? What training and expertise do analysts require?

Topic 4: Analysts’ Toolkit 

What social media tools do practitioners use? Do emergency dispatch centers require standalone tools or software integrated with existing Computer-Aided Dispatch systems? How can social media data needs to be collected? How should digital social networks be integrated in the pre-existing panels of tools used by practitioners? More specifically, would that be possible to interface them with pre-existing tools? 

Topic 5: Decision making and Policy

How should social media be integrated in the decision making (e.g. who decides to act on information obtained from social media)? What are the processes supporting such integration? Do social media improve the decision-making processes? What institutional policies constrain and enable the incorporation of social media in emergency dispatch?

Topic 6: Organizational Effects

Social media can have a strong impact on practitioners while they are dealing with a crisis (images, attention, etc.). Their effects are both positive (e.g. relevance of the information) or negative (e.g. over-investment on social media information due to issues of quality, format, integration, etc.). What are the effects of social media on the emergency management processes and their associated responses? What changes? What remains the same?

Topic 7: Collaboration between practitioners and researchers

How should practitioners and researchers work together to better integrate social media in emergency management? What can researchers offer in terms of empirical studies and the design of tools?


Content Format 
Welcome & Introduction
– Introduction by co-chairs (objectives, agenda, final output) 
– Each attendant presents his/her background and interests for the topic 
– Organization of integrated small-groups  
 Introductory Presentation  Round-table discussion  Groups of 3-4 (practitioners and researchers)
Session 1
– Topic(s) Discussions  
– Re-assemble for Discussion  
 Small-group discussions, including “tagging” participants with index cards who want to contribute use cases, experiences, etc.  Co-chairs lead summary discussions and assemble note cards from tagged attendees   
 The co-chairs work to create the first outline (incorporating tagged contributions) of the collaborative white paper. 
Session 2
– Topic(s) Discussions  
– Re-assemble for Discussion  
 Small-group discussions, including “tagging” participants who want to contribute use cases, experiences, etc.  Co-chairs lead summary discussions and assemble note cards from tagged attendees   
Closing session
 Co-chairs and attendants work together to prepare collaborative drafting of the main lines and conclusions of the white paper and its dissemination. Future collaborations will be addressed. 


Rob Grace
College of Information Sciences and Technology
Pennsylvania State University

Lieutenant-colonel Olivier Galichet
General Directorate Civil Security and Crisis Management
Ministère de l’Intérieur, France

Caroline Rizza
Economics, Management and Social Sciences Department
Telecom ParisTech