The era of big data and analytics is opening up new possibilities for disaster management (DM). Due to its ability to visualize, analyze and predict disasters, big data is changing the humanitarian operations and crisis management dramatically. Yet, the relevant literature is diverse and fragmented, which calls for its review in order to ascertain its development. A number of publications have dealt with the subject of big data and its applications for minimizing disasters. Based on a systematic literature review, this study examines big data in DM to present main contributions, gaps, challenges and future research agenda. The study presents the findings in terms of yearly distribution, main journals, and most cited papers. The findings also show a classification of publications, an analysis of the trends and the impact of published research in the DM context. Overall the study contributes to a better understanding of the importance of big data in disaster management.