Improving the impact of digital volunteers in disaster response: user-centered design and policy approach
Author(s)Barrera Gutierrez, Gabriela(Gabriela Catalina)
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Institute for Data, Systems, and Society.
Technology and Policy Program.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Mechanical Engineering.
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Emergency and disaster management has been transformed by mobile technologies and social media. There has been growing interest and research on how to leverage the deluge of social media data for disaster management, including online platforms and tools that focus on crowdsourced data. In many cases, crowdsourced data can be more accurate and obtained faster than traditional sources, especially due to contributions by digital volunteers. Digital volunteers are those remotely located to a disaster that contribute either as individuals or within networks or organizations to the response effort. Due to the heterogeneity of possible volunteers, it is difficult to create a shared understanding of data and to ensure utility for the emergency and disaster responders on the ground. This thesis applies a human-centered design approach to understand stakeholder perceptions and motivations for being a digital volunteer and to analyze the utility and reliability of crowdsourced and digital volunteer contributions. A design perspective is used to map out important features of a digital volunteer platform, while a policy perspective sheds light on the access and limitations of digital volunteers in disaster response. This multifaceted study reveals the distributions of various types of critical information that can assist disaster responders as well as facilitate the development of crowdsourcing and social media for disaster response.
Thesis: S.M. in Technology and Policy, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, School of Engineering, Institute for Data, Systems, and Society, 2019Thesis: S.M., Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Department of Mechanical Engineering, 2019Cataloged from PDF version of thesis.Includes bibliographical references (pages 89-95).
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Institute for Data, Systems, and Society; Technology and Policy Program; Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Mechanical Engineering
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Institute for Data, Systems, and Society., Technology and Policy Program., Mechanical Engineering.