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Financial Opportunity for New Masters Student 

Friday, 16 February 2018

Abstract: Social media monitoring tools are increasingly used by various disaster response organisations to collect, analyse and make key decisions. One of the challenges faced by various governmental and non-governmental organisations is the acquiring and configuring of the right tools to meet their goals. This work aims to evaluate the functionalities of various open source software that provide low-cost, high-quality solutions as an alternative to proprietary software. Despite the availability of open source software these organisations often lack the resources to evaluate the suitability of open source tools to make informed decisions about adopting the right software for the right purpose. Thus, the first aim of this research is to bridge this gap by evaluating the capabilities of contemporary open source software for monitoring social media data. Second, based on the case study on eliciting social media monitoring requirements for a leading earthquake response agency (GeoNet), a set of open source tools will be recommended. Third, a survey instrument will be used to assess the requirements for governmental departments and regional emergency management teams to evaluate the software needs for earthquake disaster response. Fourth, the capabilities of open source software will be mapped and evaluated against identified stakeholders’ needs. This mapping will enable appropriate recommendations to be made to different stakeholders.

Expected qualities and requirements: The student will have a solid computing background (e.g., an honours degree in a computing discipline - this could be computer science, information science or information systems). A good programming background would be desirable. The student should be a team player and possess excellent oral and written communication skills. The student's specific role within the project include the following: Based on the inputs from supervisors, the student will compare the functionalities of various open source software, interact with various stakeholders to elicit requirements from the leading earthquake response agency, government departments, city councils etc. Also, the student will produce a capability mapping scheme identifying the extent to which the open source tools meet stakeholders’ needs. The outcome of the research will be documented in the form of a masters’ research thesis. Note that the student will be expected to do some travelling for data collection (all paid by the grant). Also, the student will be expected to present their work to the funding agency in regular intervals.