A few weeks back I decided to try out Yahoo Pipes and see if I could create a custom media feed about what was going on in my home town Gothenburg. Inputs for this custom feed was the Police’s RSS feed for daily situation reports and the RSS feed from three local newspaper, GP, GT and Metro. I decided to filter these feeds to only cover news articles about fires, the rescue service, police and the ongoing civil unrest. It only took a few minutes to construct the stream, and a bit of tweaking to let the correct items pass through the filter.
News and media are often used by the fire and rescue service to see what media is reporting, this is to get input about the situation and build situation awareness. In a discussion with Jonas Landgren we talked about how this tool could be used in ongoing or emerging situations. The idea was that a Yahoo pipe easily could be created to cover an event from a vast amount of media and official sources, thus eliminating the need required to manually locate news about the event. There might however be some problems with this approach. One problem is that you might lose news not picked up by the filter, and another problem is that Pipes can get quite slow when a lot of sources are added. Even though there might be a few problems I think that there could be a really interesting development in this area. If social networks more easily could be added, improved openness in systems used by response actors could be achieved and smarter filters were added this type of service would be even better. Custom media streams could be a great resource for getting information and building awareness on the development, effects and emergence on a variety situations affecting the society.