Can mobile phone data improve emergency response to natural disasters?

Gething, P.W. and Tatem, A.J. (2011) Can mobile phone data improve emergency response to natural disasters? PLoS Medicine, 8, (8), e1001085-[2pp]. (doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001085). (PMID:21918644).


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Disaster management requires accurate information and must link data collection and analysis to an immediate decision-making process. Existing approaches to assessing population movements in the immediate aftermath of disasters, such as transport surveys and manual registration of individuals at emergency-relief hubs, are often inadequate: while important for record-keeping purposes, both are slow and may exclude those groups who are unreachable and most vulnerable. Proxy analysis via aerial or even satellite reconnaissance has a potentially useful role, but can provide only a coarse geographical picture of moving populations. In practice, the most readily available sources of information are from eye-witness or media reports. Although timely, such reports are not accumulated systematically and can constitute a biased representation of events.

Item Type: Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001085
ISSNs: 1549-1277 (print)
1549-1676 (electronic)
Keywords: cellular phone utilization, demography, disasters, earthquakes, emergency medical service communication systems, haiti, humans
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HA Statistics
H Social Sciences > HE Transportation and Communications
H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare
Divisions : Faculty of Social and Human Sciences > Geography and Environment
ePrint ID: 344415
Accepted Date and Publication Date:
30 August 2011Published
Date Deposited: 25 Oct 2012 09:12
Last Modified: 31 Mar 2016 14:36

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