“Digital smoke signals” used as disaster alert in Indonesia

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UN Global Pulse Lab Jakarta

An innovative approach to mining data from mobile phones and the internet has been developed in Indonesia as a tool to better understand and address development issues.

The United Nations’ Pulse Lab Jakarta, located in Indonesia’s capital, is using so-called “digital smoke signals.”

These signals are created when people are impacted by slow-onset crises and change how they use certain services, such as mobile phones, Twitter and Facebook.

The Lab’s goal is to identify and analyse these changing patterns of usage, and alert policy makers that vulnerable populations could be in trouble.

Pulse Lab Jakarta is the first innovation lab of its kind in Asia.

It is part of the United Nations Global Pulse project, created in 2009 to respond to the need for more timely information to monitor the impacts of global and socio-economic crises.

UN Radio’s Stephanie Coutrix spoke with Giulio Quaggiotto, the Lab Manager in Jakarta, who explained how they are tracking data to protect populations from shocks.

Duration: 2’23″

Filed under Today's Features.
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