How AI, Twitter and Digital Volunteers are Transforming Humanitarian Disaster Response

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Great article by Katie Collins on on how the Standby Task Force, QCRI, UN OCHA, the Digital Humanitarian Network (DHN) and others worked together to use the new tool MicroMappers in response to the earthquake that took place in Pakistan on September 24th, 2013. A big thank you to our 100 volunteers that took part in the response!

“On 24 September a 7.7-magnitude earthquake struck south-west Pakistan, killing at least 300 people. The following day Patrick Meier at the Qatar Computer Research Institute (QCRI) received a call from the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) asking him to help deal with the digital fallout — the thousands of tweets, photos and videos that were being posted on the web containing potentially valuable information about the disaster.

To help make sense of the outpouring of data, Meier mobilised two new tools he had created, but had yet to release. The first, MicroMappers is a series of microtasking apps (called Clickers), which can be used to tag the mass of online user-generated multimedia content relating to a disaster to establish its importance. OCHA also reached out to the Digital Humanitairan Network (DHN), which mobilised the Standby Volunteer Task Force (SBTF) to work with Meier’s tools. The volunteers set to work and within the first few hours, 35,000 relevant tweets had been collected.

From there the tweets were uploaded to the TweetClicker, and those with images filtered into the ImageClicker to be analysed and tagged depending on the type of information they contained — infrastructure damage and requests for help, for example — so they could be distributed to the appropriate agencies. In all, 14,000 tweets were tweets and 341 images were collected by 100 volunteers in the first 30 hours….”

Continue reading the full article here:

How AI, Twitter and digital volunteers are transforming humanitarian disaster response []

  • Results of MicroMappers Response to Pakistan Earthquake (
  • MicroMappers Launched for Pakistan Earthquake Response (
  • Social media, crisis mapping and the new frontier in disaster response (
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3 comments on “How AI, Twitter and Digital Volunteers are Transforming Humanitarian Disaster Response
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