Digital Humanitarians: How Big Data Is Changing the Face of Humanitarian Response

1st Edition

Patrick Meier

Published January 22, 2015
Reference - 259 Pages - 23 B/W Illustrations
ISBN 9781482248395 - CAT# K23671

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  • Explains what Big Data is and why the data deluge is poses a major challenge for traditional humanitarian organizations
  • Provides an overview of what crowdsourcing is and where global humanitarian efforts are headed in the next decade
  • Describes how to create and curate "live crisis maps" for disaster response and how to sift through large volumes of social media data and satellite imagery
  • Identifies the rise of UAV/drone technology as a game changer for disaster response
  • Includes insights from the front lines of digital humanitarian response to major humanitarian crises
  • Introduces the latest in humanitarian technologies and explains how to uses these new technologies for disaster response
  • Provides guidance on how to become a Digital HumanitarianShares real-world stories about ordinary people doing extraordinary things with technology like saving lives during disasters
  • Makes complex concepts such as human computing and artificial intelligence completely accessible and particularly interesting
  • Covers how to verify social media content during disasters using social media, crowdsourcing and artificial intelligence
  • Charts how digital humanitarians and activists are responding to disasters in countries under repressive rule
  • Highlights what the next wave of Digital Humanitarians will look like along with the next generation of humanitarian technologies


The overflow of information generated during disasters can be as paralyzing to humanitarian response as the lack of information. This flash flood of information—social media, satellite imagery and more—is often referred to as Big Data. Making sense of this data deluge during disasters is proving an impossible challenge for traditional humanitarian organizations, which explains why they’re turning to Digital Humanitarians. Who exactly are these Digital Humanitarians and how do they make sense of Big Data? Digital Humanitarians: How Big Data Is Changing the Face of Humanitarian Response answers this question.

Digital Humanitarians are you, me, all of us—volunteers, students and professionals from the world over and from all walks of life. What do they share in common? They desire to make a difference, and they do by rapidly mobilizing online in collaboration with international humanitarian organizations. In virtually real-time, they make sense of vast volumes of social media, SMS and imagery captured from satellites and UAVs to support relief efforts worldwide. How? They craft and leverage ingenious crowdsourcing solutions with trail-blazing insights from artificial intelligence.

This book charts the sudden and spectacular rise of Digital Humanitarians by sharing their remarkable, real-life stories, highlighting how their humanity coupled with innovative solutions to Big Data is changing humanitarian response forever. Digital Humanitarians will make you think differently about what it means to be humanitarian and will invite you to join the journey online.