The Federal Department of Human Services is among a number of government organisations using newly developed CSIRO software to mine big data on the internet in the name of reputation management.
The tool took nearly three years to develop. It will be used by early adoptors while the CSIRO refines it over the next few years.
Alan Dorman, CSIRO services science leader, said the tool was used in the public sector "for reputation management, exploring topics and issues of relevance to the organisation, and for emergency management".
Dorman said CSIRO was likely to offer the analysis as a cloud service after the refinement period.
One of the early emergency management wins was the use of the tool by Queensland fire services to analyse Twitter posts. The analysis led to emergency services having an extra 25 minutes warning about a grass fire threatening an outback hospital.
“When you have a burst of activity on Twitter, such as with the grassfire, it can be indicative of something happening,” Dorman said.
“People tend to get on Twitter before they even call emergency services.”
Big data is often thought to be computationally intensive, however Dorman, said the tools developed by CSIRO had modest technological requirements.
“It’s basically running on a single server,” he said.