USGS Professional Pages
Research GeographerContact Info
Sophia B. Liu is currently a Mendenhall Postdoctoral research fellow at the U.S. Geological Survey investigating crowdsourced geographic information around earthquakes. She works with Paul Earle at the National Earthquake Information Center in Golden, Colorado as well as Barbara Poore in Saint Petersburg, Florida through the National Geospatial Program and the Core Science Systems strategy. Specifically, Dr. Liu conducts research on the integration of official and crowdsourced geographic information pertaining to earthquakes. In May 2011, she received her PhD from University of Colorado, Boulder (CU) in the Technology, Media and Society interdisciplinary program at the Alliance for Technology, Learning and Society (ATLAS) Institute. In 2006, Dr. Liu was awarded a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship. Her graduate advisor was Professor Leysia Palen in the Department of Computer Science at CU directing Project EPIC (Empowering the Public with Information in Crisis) and the Connectivity Lab, where we conducted research in the emerging area of Crisis Informatics beginning in 2005 working at the intersection of social, technical, and informational aspects of crises and disasters. Her dissertation research focused on the use of social media pertaining to historically significant crises and the emergence of socially-distributed curatorial practices as a way of managing crisis information in the social media landscape. She has given numerous invited talks and guest lectures on the emerging use of social media during mass emergencies and historic disasters.
Dr. Liu's interdisciplinary expertise brings together human-centered computing techniques with hazards and disaster research to inform the crisis informatics and crisis mapping fields. She has expertise in data curation issues that arise from social media use during crises. Specifically, she conducted an empirical study investigating the neogeographic practice emerging from the creation of crisis map mashups; the research findings were published in 2010 in the Cartography and Geographic Information Science Journal Special Issue on "New Directions in Hazards and Disaster Research" concluding that a merging of professional and participatory geotechnologies is valuable and making a significant impact in the hazards domain. This emerging form of neogeographic practice is beneficial to both neocartographers, who are progressively bootstrapping skills in GIS, and professional data providers, who can benefit from widespread cartographic engagement beyond the professional GIS community. Also, Dr. Liu presented findings from my doctoral research at the Second Annual International Conference on Crisis Mapping (ICCM) on how "socially-distributed curation" of crisis information is increasingly taking place through spatial interfaces like Google MapMaker and Ushahidi as well as other participatory geotechnologies that are becoming more pervasive.
Liu, Sophia B. (2011). Grassroots Heritage: A Multi-Method Investigation of How Social Media Sustain the Living Heritage of Historic Crises. PhD Dissertation, University of Colorado at Boulder.
REFEREED JOURNAL ARTICLES
Liu, Sophia B. and Leysia Palen. (2010). The New Cartographers: Crisis Map Mashups and the Emergence of Neogeographic Practice. Cartography and Geographic Information Science (CaGIS) Journal, Special Issue: New Directions in Hazards and Disaster Research, 37 (1), pp. 69-90.
Palen, Leysia, Sarah Vieweg, Sophia B. Liu, and Amanda Hughes. (2009). Crisis in a Networked World: Features of Computer-Mediated Communication in the April 16, 2007 Virginia Tech Event. Social Science Computer Review, Special Issue: e-Social Science, SAGE, 27(4), 467-480.
Palen, Leysia, Starr Roxanne Hiltz, and Sophia B. Liu (2007). Online Forums Supporting Grassroots Participation in Emergency Preparedness and Response. Communications of the Association of Computing Machinery (CACM), 50 (3), pp. 54-58.
HIGHLY COMPETITIVE CONFERENCE PUBLICATIONS, REVIEWED IN FULL
Palen, Leysia and Sophia B. Liu (2007). Citizen Communications in Crisis: Anticipating a Future of ICT-Supported Participation. Proceedings of the 25th ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI 2007), San Jose, CA, pp. 727-736. (25% acceptance rate)
Tang, John, Sophia B. Liu, Michael Muller, James Lin, and Clemens Drews. (2006). Unobtrusive but Invasive: Using Screen Recording to Collect Field Data on Computer-Mediated Interaction. Proceedings of the 20th ACM Conference on Computer-Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW 2006), Banff, Canada, pp. 479-482. (20% acceptance rate)
OTHER REFEREED CONFERENCE PUBLICATIONS, REVIEWED IN FULL
Liu, Sophia B. and Brad King. (2010). The Search for Meaning in Distributed Story Streams. Presented at the Popular Culture Association /American Culture Association National Conference (PCA/ACA 2010), Memory and Representation subject area, St. Louis, MO. (10 pages).
Liu, Sophia B. and Leysia Palen. (2009). Spatiotemporal Mashups: A Survey of Current Tools to Inform Next Generation Crisis Support Tools. Proceedings of the 6th International Conference on Information Systems for Crisis Response and Management (ISCRAM 2009), J. Landgren & S. Jul (Eds.), Gothenburg, Sweden. (Online proceedings, 12 pages).
Liu, Sophia B., Leysia Palen, Jeannette Sutton, Amanda Hughes, and Sarah Vieweg. (2008). In Search of the Bigger Picture: The Emergent Role of On-Line Photo Sharing in Times of Disaster. Proceedings of the 5th International Conference on Information Systems for Crisis Response and Management (ISCRAM 2008), Washington, DC, pp. 140-149. *Tied for Best Student Paper award*
Hughes, Amanda L., Leysia Palen, Jeannette Sutton, Sophia B. Liu, and Sarah Vieweg. (2008). “Site-Seeing” in Disaster: An Examination of On-Line Social Convergence. Proceedings of the 5th International Conference on Information Systems for Crisis Response and Management (ISCRAM 2008), Washington, DC, pp. 324-333. *Tied for Best Student Paper award*
Vieweg, Sarah, Leysia Palen, Sophia B. Liu, Amanda Hughes, Sarah Vieweg, and Jeannette Sutton. (2008). Collective Intelligence in Disaster: Examination of the Phenomenon in the Aftermath of the 2007 Virginia Tech Shootings. Proceedings of the 5th International Conference on Information Systems for Crisis Response and Management (ISCRAM 2008), Washington, DC, pp. 44-54. *Tied for Best Student Paper award*
Palen, Leysia, Sarah Vieweg, Jeannette Sutton, Sophia B. Liu, and Amanda Hughes. (2007). Crisis Informatics: Studying Crisis in a Networked World. Proceedings of the 3rd International Conference on E-Social Science, Ann Arbor, MI, Oct 7-9, 2007. (Online proceedings; 10 pages)
Bevc, Christine A., Carter T. Butts, Benjamin E. Lind, Sophia B. Liu, Miruna Petrescu-Prahova, Jeannette Sutton, and Kathleen Tierney. (2006). Predictors of Dyadic Interaction in Emergent Multiorganizational Networks Following the World Trade Center Attacks. Paper presented at the XXVI International Sunbelt Social Network Conference of the International Network for Social Network Analysis, Vancouver, Canada.
INVITED ONLINE JOURNAL ARTICLE
Liu, Sophia B. (2010). Trends in Distributed Curatorial Technology to Manage Data in a Networked World. UPGRADE Journal: 2010 - Emerging Information Technologies (II), Vol XI, Num 3, pp. 18-24.
Liu, Sophia B. and Jen Ziemke. (2012). From Cultures of Participation to the Rise of Crisis Mapping in a Networked World. In Aaron Delwiche and Jennifer Henderson (Eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Participatory Cultures, New York: Routledge, pp. 251-273.
Liu, Sophia B. (2012). Socially Distributed Curation of the Bhopal Disaster: A Case of Grassroots Heritage in the Crisis Context. In Elisa Giaccardi (Ed.), Heritage and Social Media: Understanding and Experiencing Heritage in a Participatory Culture, Cambridge, UK: Routledge.
Liu, Sophia B., Leysia Palen, and Elisa Giaccardi. (2011). Heritage Matters in Crisis Informatics: How Information and Communication Technology Can Support Legacies of Crisis Events. In Christine Hagar (Ed.), Crisis Information Management: Communication and Technologies, Cambridge, UK: Woodhead Publishing Limited.
Starbird, Kate, Leysia Palen, Sophia B. Liu, and others. (2011). Promoting Structured Data in Citizen Communications During Disaster Response: An Account of Strategies for Diffusion of the ‘Tweak the Tweet’ Syntax. In Christine Hagar (Ed.), Crisis Information Management: Communication and Technologies, Cambridge, UK: Woodhead Publishing Limited.
Liu, Sophia B., Leysia Palen, Jeannette Sutton, Amanda Hughes, and Sarah Vieweg. (2009). Citizen Photojournalism During Crisis Events. In Stuart Allan and Einar Thorsen (Eds.), Citizen Journalism: Global Perspectives, New York: Peter Lang, pp. 43-64.
Liu, Sophia B., Anahi Ayala Iacucci and Patrick Meier. (2010). Ushahidi Haiti and Chile: Next Generation Crisis Mapping. American Congress on Surveying and Mapping (ACSM) Bulletin, August, pp. 10-13.
Liu, Sophia B and Anahi Ayala Iacucci. (2010). Crisis Map Mashups in a Participatory Age. American Congress on Surveying and Mapping (ACSM) Bulletin, June, pp. 10-14.
DOCTORAL CONSORTIUM PAPERS, SHORT TALKS AND ARTICLES, WORKSHOP PAPERS, POSTERS
Liu, Sophia B. (2011). Grassroots Heritage: Investigating the Narratives and Socially-Distributed Curatorial Activities of Historic Crises in the Social Media Landscape. Presented at the International Research Committee on Disasters (IRCD) Researchers Meeting in conjunction with the 36th Annual Natural Hazards Research and Applications Workshop, Broomfield, CO.
Liu, Sophia B. (2011). Digital Commemoration: Surveying the Social Media Revival of Historical Crises. Proceedings of the 29th ACM SIGCHI Conference Extended Abstracts on Human Factors in Computing Systems for Student Research Competition (CHI EA 2011), Vancouver, Canada. (33% acceptance rate)
Liu, Sophia B. (2010). Crisis Culture Curation. Presented at the 2nd Annual International Conference on Crisis Mapping (ICCM 2010). Ignite talk: http://bit.ly/CrisisCultureCuration
Liu, Sophia B. (2010). The Rise of Curated Crisis Content. Proceedings of the 7th International Information Systems for Crisis Response and Management (ISCRAM 2010) Conference, Seattle, WA. (5-page short paper: http://scr.bi/CuratedCrisisContent; Video: http://bit.ly/CurationVimeo).
Liu, Sophia B. (2010). Grassroots Heritage in the Crisis Context: A Social Media Probes Approach to Studying Heritage in a Participatory Age. Proceedings of the 28th ACM SIGCHI Conference Extended Abstracts on Human Factors in Computing Systems Doctoral Consortium (CHI EA 2010), Atlanta, Georgia, pp. 2975-2978. (26% acceptance rate)
Liu, Sophia B. (2010). The Emerging Ethics of Studying Social Media Use with a Heritage Twist. “Revisiting Research Ethics in the Facebook Era: Challenges in Emerging CSCW Research.” Workshop at ACM Conference on Computer-Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW 2010), Savannah, GA.
Liu, Sophia B. (2010). The Living Heritage in the Age of Social Media. “Death and the Digital” Workshop at ACM Conference on Computer-Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW 2010), Savannah, GA.
Liu, Sophia B. (2009). Drawing Inspiration from Spatiotemporal Crisis Mashups for the Hazards Community. Presented at the 6th International Research Committee on Disasters (IRCD) Researchers Meeting, Broomfield, CO.
Liu, Sophia B. (2009). Informing the Design of Next Generation Social Media to Support Crisis-Related Grassroots Heritage. Proceedings of the 6th International Information Systems for Crisis Response and Management (ISCRAM 2009) Doctoral Consortium, Gothenburg, Sweden.
Liu, Sophia B. (2008). Grassroots Heritage: Designing Social Media to Support Civic Curation. “Tinkering, Tailoring, & Mashing: The Social and Collaborative Practices of the Read-Write Web” Workshop at Conference on Computer-Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW 2008), San Diego, CA.
Liu, Sophia B. (2008). On-Line Photo Sharing in Times of Disaster: Going from Study to Design. Presented at the First Colorado Celebration of Women in Computing (CCWIC), Boulder, CO.
Sutton, Jeannette, Leysia Palen, and Sophia B. Liu. (2007). Studying Disaster in a Networked World: How Expanding Scale, Technology & Attention Challenge Empirical Study. Presented at the 4th Hazards and Disasters Researchers Meeting (HDRM), Broomfield, CO.
Bevc, Christine A., Carter T. Butts, Ben Lind, Sophia B. Liu, Miruna Petrescu-Prahova, Lorien Jasny, Jeannette Sutton, and Kathleen Tierney. (2006). Emergent Multiorganizational Networks following the World Trade Center Attacks. Poster presented at the Annual All-Hands Meeting of Responding to Crises and Unexpected Events – Information Technology Research (RESCUE-ITR), San Diego, CA.
My Science Topics
My USGS Science Strategy AreasA National Hazard, Risk, and Resilience Assessment Program
Data Integration & Interoperability
The Integration of Official and Crowdsourced Geographic Information Following Earthquakes
I systematically investigate the official and crowdsourced mapping activities that took place after recent earthquakes (i.e., 2010 Haiti earthquake and the 2011 Japan and New Zealand earthquakes) to understand what kind of cross-agency collaborations formed and how geographic data from government agencies, satellite imagery companies, and the general public were integrated together to better facilitate emergency response efforts. This will provide implications for how to design and develop future U.S. Geological Survey products and services like the National Map, and also strengthen cross-agency collaborations with national and international emergency management agencies to better facilitate emergency response efforts.
Furthermore, the USGS Earthquake Hazards Program has already begun to investigate how to harness crowdsourced geospatial data from social media sites like Twitter (http://twitter.com) to rapidly characterize earthquake effects. Paul Earle and Michelle Guy developed a prototype software application that collects tweets containing the word “earthquake” and uses spatial data mining techniques to map and summarize short personal accounts that are reported within seconds after an earthquake strikes. This type of crowdsourced geographic information can be a useful supplement to instrument-based estimates of quake location and magnitude. My research will help determine how crowdsourced data from sites like Twitter can best augment the quantitative data traditionally collected by the U.S. Geological Survey, particularly at the National Earthquake Information Center (NEIC).
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