Ignite Talks: Galen Evans

This is a liveblog post from the International Conference on Crisis Mapping at Tufts University.  You can also follow tweets from the event’s many open laptops at the #ICCM10 hashtag.

Galen Evans of the World Bank takes the stage for an Ignite Talk.

Immediately after the earthquake, Evans’s team had a couple of different options: a ground survey, guessing, or a remote damage assessment.  What they found was that, in doing building assessments, satellite imagery didn’t work.  In the sense of time, they did an aerial imagery collection, collecting images from January 21-27, with help from the Rochester Institute of Technology, collecting data from Port-au-Prince to Jacmel.

Due to export restrictions and flight permissions, they faced numerous challenges.  He notes the importance of “keeping the people with the guns happy.”

“How do you analyze terabytes of information quickly?” asks Evans.  He explains that they needed a different system, and that the solution was to utilize the crowd, in this case earthquake engineers.  “How do you find them?” he asks. The answer was to partner with earthquake engineering institutions in the US and UK to mobilize volunteers quickly.

He said that people wanted to help, and could do so from their homes, making it an effective mobilization.

They were able to determine the damage in about 50% of buildings, giving them a basis to conduct further assessment.  “We found value in putting the information imagery in the public domain,” he explains.

Evans thanks the audience.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.