Case Studies
Oita Prefecture

Enabling Swift and Efficient Initial Response, and Utilizing for Damage Assessment and Analysis.


1. Challenges before implementation, and the reason for implementation

New way of information gathering was required during a disaster

Oita Prefecture had been paying close attention to information collection through social media (SNS) for some time. In times of disasters, swift initial response is crucial, as it can significantly impact the extent of damage. Therefore, timely information such as videos and photos posted on SNS platforms was seen as valuable for proactive utilization by the prefecture. Recognizing the need for a new means of information collection, we were introduced to Spectee Pro. What particularly intrigued us was the comprehensiveness and the ability to filter out misinformation. The Spectee Pro interface conveniently displays the information we sought from multiple social media sources, including Instagram and TikTok, on a single screen, apart from Twitter. Moreover, the platform had a robust mechanism for countering the concerns associated with misinformation, which was one of our main apprehensions when using SNS information. During the Kumamoto earthquake, there was a widely known incident where a false post circulated that lions had escaped from a zoo in a neighboring Kumamoto Prefecture. However, there were many other false posts as well. Oita Prefecture, too, faced the challenge of reassuring residents that such incidents were not happening. In times of disaster, where information saturation is a reality, the need to eliminate unnecessary information is imperative. We decided to conduct a free trial of Spectee Pro immediately, and during heavy rain, we could timely grasp the situation of an urban area experiencing flooding through images and videos posted on SNS. With a limited number of staff, it’s crucial to make appropriate requests to rescue teams as smoothly as possible. Having access to visual information before heading to the scene was immensely valuable. Additionally, the map display feature allowed us to assess the situation visually, which was highly beneficial. This experience reaffirmed the utility of SNS information. We also resonated with the direction of companies and services, like Spectee, which deliver reliable information through AI and human screening, leading us to make the decision to implement the platform.

2. Utilization examples of Spectee Pro

Utilizing SNS information for rescue during the July 2020 heavy rain

While we used Spectee Pro to collect information about the extent of damage, we came across posts requesting rescue from isolation caused by events like landslides. Oita Prefecture has an official Twitter account, so we retweeted the posts we picked up with Spectee Pro to confirm the situation and convey appropriate contact information for multiple rescue efforts. We consider this a significant effort on the part of the prefecture.

Reading Aloud Feature + Dedicated SNS Team for Comprehensive Information Collection and Response

The feature that reads posts aloud, using an AI announcer, has been a valuable addition. It helps prevent our staff from missing crucial information by smoothly reading out new updates, even if they are not glued to their computer screens. Furthermore, Oita Prefecture has assigned a dedicated SNS team to respond promptly to the information obtained through Spectee Pro. Additionally, we have prepared a simplified manual that allows employees other than those directly involved in disaster response to use Spectee Pro. Thanks to these arrangements, we could consistently collect and respond to information effectively during the July 2020 heavy rain, preventing any critical oversights.

3. Effects after installing Spectee Pro

Timely acquisition of nighttime disaster scene information

One of the most valuable aspects of Spectee Pro is its ability to provide timely information immediately after a disaster, and this information often comes with not just text but also photos or videos. This is incredibly useful for initial response. In particular, gathering information about disaster scenes during nighttime when staff members may not be active used to be challenging. Having the ability to collect such information as a prefecture before it’s reported on television is a significant advancement.

Real-time visualization of differences in damage trends by river

The map display feature, which allows the location of posts to be identified, is extremely convenient for gaining an overview of the damage situation and for later analysis of the situation. In January 2020, unusual heavy rainfall occurred, and when we used Spectee Pro to map the posts related to flooding near the rivers in Saiki City, we observed that there were fewer posts regarding flooding near the river where the river mouth was not overflowing significantly, while there were many posts near the river with a narrow mouth that had significantly overflowed. The correlation between the extent of flooding and the volume of posts related to damage was immediately apparent. Previously, acquiring and analyzing such information required both human resources and time. However, Spectee Pro has significantly lowered the bar for conducting such analyses. Since we haven’t been able to perform this type of analysis adequately in the past, we are committed to focusing on it in the future.

4. Future outlook

We aim to cover the response to the increasing frequency and severity of natural disasters with cutting-edge technology: In recent years, the frequency and severity of natural disasters have been on the rise, increasing the burden on administrative staff involved in disaster response. Particularly, initial response requires immediate action, even when there is a shortage of manpower. To address these challenges, Oita Prefecture has a policy of actively utilizing cutting-edge technology in disaster preparedness. We intend to continue our efforts in collaboration with advanced technologies like AI and the support of private enterprises. Moreover, many municipalities have been taking various approaches to disaster preparedness in response to recent abnormal weather patterns. We believe that sharing innovative initiatives and working together as “Team Japan” to tackle disasters in Japan will be beneficial in the long run. We hope that Spectee Pro will play a part in this endeavor!

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