Date of Graduation

8-2016

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Engineering (PhD)

Degree Level

Graduate

Department

Industrial Engineering

Advisor

Ashlea B. Milburn

Committee Member

Edward A. Pohl

Second Committee Member

Chase Rainwater

Third Committee Member

Clarence Wardell III

Abstract

In recent years, there has been a growing interest among emergency managers in using social data in disaster response planning. However, the trustworthiness and reliability of posted information are two of the most significant concerns, because much of the user-generated data is initially not verified. Therefore, a key tradeoff exists for emergency managers when considering whether to incorporate social data in disaster planning efforts. By considering social data, a larger number of needs can be identified in a shorter amount of time, potentially enabling a faster response and satisfying a class of demand that might not otherwise be discovered. However, some critical resources can be allocated to inaccurate demands in this manner. This dissertation research is dedicated to evaluating this tradeoff by creating routing plans while considering two separate streams of information: (i) unverified data describing demand that is not known with certainty, obtained from social media platforms and (ii) verified data describing demand known with certainty, obtained from trusted traditional sources (i.e. on the ground assessment teams). These projects extend previous models in the disaster relief routing literature that address uncertainty in demand. More broadly, this research contributes to the body of literature that addresses questions surrounding the usefulness of social data for response planning.

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