Automatic Classification of Eyewitness Messages for Disaster Events Using Linguistic Rules and ML/AI Approaches

Sajjad Haider, Azhar Mahmood*, Shaheen Khatoon, Majed Alshamari, Muhammad Tanvir Afzal

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Emergency response systems require precise and accurate information about an incident to respond accordingly. An eyewitness report is one of the sources of such information. The research community has proposed diverse techniques to identify eyewitness messages from social media platforms. In our previous work, we created grammar rules by exploiting the language structure, linguistics, and word relations to automatically extract feature words to classify eyewitness messages for different disaster types. Our previous work adopted a manual classification technique and secured the maximum F-Score of 0.81, far less than the static dictionary-based approach with an F-Score of 0.92. In this work, we enhanced our work by adding more features and fine-tuning the Linguistic Rules to identify feature words related to Twitter Eyewitness messages for Disaster events, named as LR-TED approach. We used linguistic characteristics and labeled datasets to train several machine learning and deep learning classifiers for classifying eyewitness messages and secured a maximum F-score of 0.93. The proposed LR-TED can process millions of tweets in real-time and is scalable to diverse events and unseen content. In contrast, the static dictionary-based approaches require domain experts to create dictionaries of related words for all the identified features and disaster types. Additionally, LR-TED can be evaluated on different social media platforms to identify eyewitness reports for various disaster types in the future.

Original languageEnglish
Article number9953
JournalApplied Sciences (Switzerland)
Issue number19
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2022


  • deep learning
  • disaster response
  • eyewitness identification
  • linguistic rules
  • machine learning
  • social media


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