Satellite Imagery + Social Media = A New Way to Spot Emerging Nuclear Threats
Satellites offer one kind of information; social media another — particularly inside countries that may be trying to flout inspections. But large volumes of satellite imagery and social media data aren’t similar. You can have one analyst examine satellite pictures and another look at social media posts to see if they align, but the process is time-consuming and generally far from comprehensive. The study’s authors developed a method for fusing different types of data in a machine-readable way to offer a much clearer picture.
“In light of their ubiquitous emergence, social media increasingly promise to be of great value even though associated applications have thus far remained simple, and their fusion with other data has been largely ad hoc,” the team from North Carolina State University writes in “Fusing Heterogeneous Data: A Case for Remote Sensing and Social Media.” Only by creating a new statistical method for fusing the outputs of satellite data and social media data do you get something you can use to predict what might happen next within a given area of interest, such as a specific nation’s nuclear enrichment or weapons development.
The researchers looked at satellite and social media data from August 2013, when deadly floods killed eight people and caused widespread damage in Colorado. They sought to show that if you could algorithmically identify which imagery showed the flooding from space, and which geotagged tweets described it on the ground, you could could much more quickly verify one data set against another — that is, you could determine whether incoming social media data supports the conclusions you might be reaching from your satellite data, and vice versa. https://www.nextgov.com/emerging-tech/2018/07/satellite-imagery-social-media-new-way-spot-emerging-nuclear-threats/150153/