Last year, I was in Dili, Timor Leste, listening to an event on big data that was partially sponsored by SciDev, a respected science communication organization. My recollection is that the speakers were talking about work done by others based on reports. So we were happy to have our research featured in an article in SciDev. The author, Nalaka Gunawardene, attended our presentation at the Sri Lanka Institute of Engineers in January and made further efforts to understand what we were doing. MNBD allows tracking and mapping of daily changes in population densities relative to midnight (‘home location’).
I must have been busy last February. That is the only possible explanation for why I neglected to blog about an article Nalaka Gunawardene and I wrote, reflecting on the experience of providing effective disaster warnings, nine years after the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami. The proliferation of information and communication technologies (ICTs) adds a new dimension to disaster warnings. Having many information sources, dissemination channels and access devices is certainly better than few or none. However, the resulting cacophony makes it difficult to achieve a coherent and coordinated response.