Slandail Launches Prototype System

As the Slandail project draws to a close, we are happy to announce that we launched the Slandail prototype system on 26 April. The system includes the main technological components of both social media monitoring and emergency management systems, along with important new functions emerging from academic research within the project, that advance the state of the art in the analysis and interpretation of multiple forms of media, including social media.

The launch was covered on peak-time national radio (RTE1 ‘DriveTime’) and on the RTE website (link here)
(Trinity College – image RTE)

Slandail Launches License Agreement

The Slandail system Licence Agreement was formally launched on 15 February 2015. The licence addresses some important concerns in the use of social media by crisis response organisations, including police forces, and contributes to the discussion on the relationship between data created and published by individuals (including tweets and facebook posts) and the use of this data for the public good.

Above – Rob Corbett, a project legal expert, presents the main points of the License.

Slándáil Fifth Plenary Meeting, Berlin 2016

The Slándáil project consortium met on 17th and 18th October 2016 in Berlin. The meeting was attended by all project partners. It was the final project plenary before the review period, and marked the first large event for the project in the final six months of its run.

The meeting was split into several sessions. It opened with project management overview, followed by a demonstration of the working Emergency Management System that has been produced for the project. This represented the first time in the project that the full prototype system had been demonstrated to the entire project team at the same time. Feedback to the system was positive, and notes were taken for small improvements that can be implemented in the final months of the project.

Following this, exploitation demonstrations were given by project partners who showed software systems from a commercial end, and commented on potential commercialisation plans beyond the project. A discussion of the legal caucus’ role in legal and ethical aspects of the project was included.

The second day of the meeting focussed more on academic achievements throughout the project. This included presentations and feedback on text, image, speech and non-verbal communication analytics, and updates on terminology and ethics research and relation extraction work.

The project’s final meeting was a positive step in forward planning. Project partners will meet intermittently in early 2017 before the conclusion of the project on 31 March 2017.

Charles Ess and Damian Jackson beginning the ethics workshop at the Irish School of Ecumenics, Dublin

Slándáil hosts ethics workshop with Professor Charles Ess, Dublin

On September 5th 2016 the Irish School of Ecumenics hosted an ethics workshop on behalf of the Slandail Project. The workshop was led by Professor Charles Ess of the University of Oslo’s Department of Media and Communication.
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Slandail MUININ Workshop at ARES 2016

Slandail has hosted the MUININ workshop at the ARES conference 2016 in Salzburg, Austria.

ARES is the International Conference on Availability, Reliability and Security. The 2016 conference was hosted on August 31st-September 2nd in Salzburg, Vienna. Slandail hosted the MUININ workshop at the conference including four sessions:

  1. Emergency Management and Social Media Monitor Implementation
  2. Legal and Ethical Use of Data in Emergency Response
  3. End User Communication Practice
  4. Advanced Image and Text Analysis
Xiubo Zhang, Slandail researcher, presenting text analytic work by the project

Xiubo Zhang, Slandail researcher, presenting text analytic work by the project

The sessions allowed for presentations on different aspects of Slandail and its application as a security technology for emergency management.

Seven papers were delivered to an audience of security professionals and academics as part of the EU Symposium on day 1 of the conference. Papers presented described research from the project. Feedback was welcomed at the end of each session.

Christian Berger and Damian Jackson discussing ethical and legal aspects at the MUININ Workshop

Christian Berger and Damian Jackson discussing ethical and legal aspects at the MUININ Workshop

The presenters also took the opportunity to participate in workshop sessions by other projects.

Khurshid Ahmad presenting at LREC 2016 for Slándáil

Slándáil host EMOT workshop at LREC, Portorož, Slovenia

Slándáil partners organised the Emotions, Metaphors, Ontology and Terminology (EMOT) Workshop as part of Language Resources and Evaluation Conference (LREC) on May 23rd, 2016. The workshop presented advances in analytical methods of verbal and non-verbal communication during impending disasters. The audience consisted of academics and experts in information extraction and text analytics, disaster management and communication professionals.

The workshop consisted of presentations that focused on the terminology, type of content and emotional involvement of messages sent and received during disasters, particularly in social media. Statistical and semantic processing of these messages facilitates the creation of useful databases and ontologies, which can be used by emergency managers to situate and confront a disaster more efficiently and effectively. If the emergency handlers understand what kind of information is disseminated in different types of social media, they can direct their efforts with a greater confidence. The topics covered included the emotive and terminological language used in disaster related data, automatic extraction and evaluation of terminology from messages, the social media communication by civilians and volunteers, disaster monitoring and mitigation and the creation of a disaster ontology.

The authors who contributed to this workshop have been working on how to specify, design and trial disaster management systems that use social media as one of their inputs. Their focus is on extracting information from continuous data streams including text, speech and images. Khurshid Ahmad, the project coordinator, opened the session introducing Slándáil to the audience. University of Padua partners presented two works, one mainly focused on emotions and non-verbal communication during disasters and the other focusing on terminology and software training.

Slide on gesture analysis from LREC showing different images of news reporters using gesture

Busà and Cravotta presented work carried out on gestures and speech of Italian reporters working in areas threatened by natural disasters like floods. They suggest that hand gestures and the modulation of voice may influence the perception of the speakers’ emotional involvement and professionalism. Speakers’ emotional involvement can correlate with the severity of an impending disaster. Musacchio, Panizzon, Zhang and Zorzi presented their work on the use of terminology and ontology for detecting impending and current emergencies in social media streams. Their work was aimed at identifying communicative strategies, linguistic characteristics and sentiment of text messages that can be used to filter disaster-related communications on social media.

Maria Spyropoulou from Trinity College Dublin gave a presentation on the content found in textual and audial disaster-related messages. It showed that speech recordings from the preparedness or recovery phase of a disaster are more suitable for sentiment analysis. A further paper was presented as a feasibility study aimed at building terminology and ontology in the domain of disaster management. A corpus-based text analytic system was evaluated, CiCui, which combines frequency, collocation and linguistic analyses to extract candidates terminologies from corpora comprised of domain texts from diverse sources. CiCui was assessed against four terminology extraction systems and the initial results show that it has an above average precision in extracting disaster-related terms.

INFAI presented work on topic modelling and information extraction from Facebook and Twitter. The paper studies the results of a German case study on social media use during the flood 2013 in Central Europe. In their investigation, the researchers applied state-of-the-art Natural Language Processing technology, mainly topic modeling, to test and demonstrate its usefulness for computer-based media analysis in modern disaster management.

The audience actively responded to presentations with questions and comments and the workshop became a welcoming forum for people sharing ideas and advances in the field. Project Slándáil received very positive feedback from attendants.

The proceedings of the workshop are available at LREC online.


Slándáil hosts emergency planning meeting, Dublin

The Irish branch of The Business Continuity Institute and the Emergency Planning Society co-hosted their latest forum meeting at Trinity College Dublin with Slándáil. Over 60 attendees from universities, industry and emergency management agencies were in attendance.

The meeting focussed on flood preparedness, with speakers Mark Adamson of the Office of Public Works giving a presentation on the CFRAM mapping program for Irish regions, and Westmeath County Council’s Patrick Nally presenting on the recent flooding in the Shannon region of Ireland. Slándáil project manager Shane Finan gave a presentation on system development and progress to round up the discussion on flood preparedness, and extended an invitation for independent evaluation from BCI and EPS members.


The latest version of Slándáil’s emergency management platform was demonstrated at this event.

The BCI’s annual forum meeting was also co-hosted by Slándáil in 2015.

Slándáil || Project Video

We are delighted to share our project video, documenting the first 18 months of our project’s technical integration. This video shows how we are moving together emergency management and social media tools in order to collate and aggregate information.

Annika Nitschke from the THW helped coordinate the conference

Slándáil Presented at I4CM DRIVER conference, Berlin

Research and development in the Slándáil project was presented to an audience of approximately 150 emergency response representatives at the I4CM conference in Berlin, December 8th and 9th 2015. The conference, organised by the DRIVER FP7 project, allowed emergency responders to participate in open conversation with various EU projects that work with emergency response and security. Some of the responses included emergency responders seeking greater involvement in project planning, and results from DRIVER simulations were outlined.

Sebastian Wustmann (CID) presents his partner's Topic Analyst system to an audience of emergency practitioners, including the president of the German Federal Agency for Technical Relief (THW).

Sebastian Wustmann (CID) presents his partner’s Topic Analyst system to an audience of emergency practitioners, including the president of the German Federal Agency for Technical Relief (THW). Topic Analyst forms part of the Slándáil emergency management platform.

Slándáil presented a poster stand with project research including up-to-date information on text and image analytics, and the project Ethical Framework. Visitors were invited to attend a ten-minute presentation of the current coupled software system, presented by Sebastian Wustmann from project partner CID. This was presented in German, the conference’s first language, with interpretation in English for non-German speaking visitors. The presentation showed our coupled emergency management and social media systems.

The project coordinator Professor Khurshid Ahmad (Trinity College Dublin), and Professor Gerhard Heyer (INFAI, University of Leipzig) presented the research and goals of our project during presentation sessions on the second day of the conference. This presentation highlighted the state-of-the art development that is grounded in academic research, which the project has produced since its inception. It focussed on the needs of emergency responders to use social media data for planning for the future, as this is a key form of communication. The role of image analytics and the groundwork for a legal framework in our project were also highlighted.


Attendees were invited to join the Slándáil mailing list and to take part in future exploitation work, which will take place in 2016.

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Slándáil legal and ethical caucus

A meeting of our new ‘Slándáil legal and ethical caucus’ was held on 30th October 2015.

Project beneficiaries from TCD, INFAI, UNIPD, Stillwater, Pintail and the Gardaí met and discussed the legal and human rights issues surrounding the Slándáil project.

The aim the meeting was to introduce the new experts in Human Rights Law, Copyright Law, Data Protection and Privacy Law and Internet Law to the other beneficiaries involved in the legal and ethical work of the project. We have brought these experts on board to help ensure that the research and technology development work carried out in Slándáil aligns with current and emerging international law.

This work is ground breaking in that it aims to provide a comprehensive overview of the legal landscape which pertains to the harvesting of social media data in emergency response. The caucus’ experience in human rights law, data protection, privacy, copyright and internet law will be drawn upon and opinions in all of these areas will be drawn up which give an account of the legal provisions at both European and national levels.

Recent developments including the safe harbour decision and the upcoming proposed legislation in the UK colloquially known as the “snooper’s charter” were discussed. Other key concerns are the appropriate treatment of harvested potentially personally-identifying data post-response, when limitations to privacy rights in circumstances of disaster response no longer pertain.

The caucus was created as a result of findings made in earlier work on societal and ethical impact. This research highlighted the need for a rigorous and comprehensive understanding of the relevant legal landscape. This is illustrated in the timeline below. The societal impact report considered issues around privacy. The legal and ethical research which led to the ethical framework and the initial guidelines for factual provenance of data highlighted the implementation of derogation and limitation provisions in human rights law. However issues data protection and copyright law were raised and so it was decided to create the legal and ethical caucus to get expert legal opinion on these and other legal questions.

The participants were Khurshid Ahmad, Damian Jackson and Paul Hayes (TCD), Rebecca Bury (Stillwater), Victoria Macarthur (Pintail), Paolo de Stefani (UNIPD), Taiwo Oriola and Bryan Scotney (University of Ulster), Christian Berger (INFAI), Rob Corbet (Arthur Cox Solicitors) and Brian Halligan (An Garda Síochána)


Legal Caucus Meeting