Disaster mitigation by crowdsourcing hazard documentation

Yulong Yang, Michael Sherman, Janne Lindqvist

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionScientificpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Natural disasters can cripple communities in many ways, including cutting off access to power and water. Documenting and resolving hazards, such as, broken utility poles prior to such disasters can mitigate the damage caused by them. However, this task involves time and resource-intensive manual labor: considerable amount of well-trained municipal staff are needed. Our work showed that, with a crowdsourcing approach, even a very simple mobile app could make large-scale volunteer effort practical. Our application instructed the user step by step through the needed tasks to document an identified hazard. Each documented hazard was then automatically uploaded to a server. Such approach allowed nearly real-time coordination, and prevented duplicated effort. We cooperated with a local township, helping them to use our system to document hazards in their township. The volunteers recorded 349 distinct hazards in eight days. In total, eight volunteers participated. After a short period of training, all volunteers were able to complete the documentation tasks without issues, even though most of them were not familiar with the system before. With the collected data, the township committee was able to bring in utility companies to review and fix all of potential hazards before the hurricane season in 2014. This operation created a large positive impact for the township.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 4th IEEE Global Humanitarian Technology Conference, GHTC 2014
PublisherIEEE
Pages93-98
Number of pages6
ISBN (Electronic)9781479971930
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2014
MoE publication typeA4 Article in a conference publication
EventIEEE Global Humanitarian Technology Conference - San Jose, United States
Duration: 10 Oct 201413 Oct 2014
Conference number: 4

Publication series

NameProceedings of the 4th IEEE Global Humanitarian Technology Conference, GHTC 2014

Conference

ConferenceIEEE Global Humanitarian Technology Conference
Abbreviated titleGHTC
CountryUnited States
CitySan Jose
Period10/10/201413/10/2014

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