PREP1: a social media analysis tool for PREParedness

Organisation: Trilateral Research Ltd.

Partners: Global Disaster Preparedness Center

Location: UK

Type of grant: Core – invention

Status: Completed

  • Media Screens Global Disaster Preparedness Center. Credit Niki Clark, American Red Cross

  • Mobile Data Collection in West Africa. Credit Vlad Sorin Cozma

Trilateral Research are collaborating with the Global Disaster Preparedness Center to collect (humanitarian) user requirements to develop a social media analysis tool, PREP1, for disaster preparedness and risk reduction purposes, thereby enhancing the efficiency and effectiveness of their engagement with social media.


Social media is used across the globe, engaging with its users is a crucial step in preparedness. Previous research has identified Red Cross Red Crescent (RCRC) actors desire to engage with social media for preparedness, yet they face barriers preventing their use of applicable analysis tools. Barriers range from not being able to afford commercial tools, lacking the skills required to use the tools and understand their outputs, and tools not possessing the functionality required. Against this backdrop, this study seeks to work with RCRC actors to collect and validate user requirements for designing and developing an appropriate tool, PREP1.


Social media is a resource that presents a unique tool for humanitarian organisations to reach multiple stakeholders to help facilitate greater preparedness to disasters and risks. However, to gain maximum value from social media, it is vital to analyse social media data.

In 2015 the Global Disaster Preparedness Center funded a project completed by Trilateral that sought to understand what SMAT were available for preparedness. This involved an analysis of 94 commercial and open sourced SMAT and research with representatives from Red Cross Red Crescent (RCRC) societies and industry to understand the user and tool related barriers. The study revealed a gap in existing tools, that this project will begin to address. In the long-term PREP1 yields the ability to significantly contribute to humanitarian actors’ preparedness efforts with local communities and other actors interacting on social media.


This project will take the next step in developing an open sourced SMAT for preparedness, PREP1, thereby negating the barriers faced by the humanitarian sector.

This step involves identifying and validating user requirements and developing an initial design and functionality of the software. This will be accomplished by conducting (virtual) interviews and an online validation workshop with Red Cross Red Crescent actors from across the globe. The primary output of the study will be a report revealing the user requirements and an initial design of PREP1 validated by end users. PREP1 is envisaged to be placed in the open software domain to encourage the long-term sustainability and longevity of the tool (e.g., GNU Affero General Public License). Filling this gap is crucial to supporting humanitarian organisations in their efforts to use social media for preparedness.

Elrha is a registered charity in England and Wales (1177110).

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