Typhoon Pablo: OCHA activates Crowdsourcing Community

Map plotting the data collected created by a SBTF volunteer.
Credit: ESRI/SBTF

The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) activated the Digital Humanitarian Network (DHN) on December 5th to collect all relevant tweets about Typhoon Pablo posted on December 4th and 5th; identify pictures and videos of damage/flooding shared in those tweets; geo-locate, time-stamp and categorize this content. OCHA requested that this database be shared with them by 5am Geneva time the following day. As per DHN protocol, the activation request was reviewed within an hour. OCHA was informed that the request had been granted and that the DHN was formally activated at 4pm Geneva.

The DHN is composed of several members who form Solution Teams when the network is activated. The purpose of Digital Humanitarians is to support humanitarian organizations in their disaster response efforts around the world. Given the nature of the UN’s request, both the Standby Volunteer Task Force (SBTF) and Humanity Road (HR) joined the Solution Team. HR focused on analyzing all tweets posted December 4th while the SBTF worked on tweets posted December 5th. Over 20,000 tweets were analyzed. The completed database was shared with OCHA at 4.55am Geneva time.