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Big data to Mitigate the Impact of Disasters

  • 23 Aug 2019
  • 3 min read

According to the report by the UN‘s Asia-Pacific social agency, technological innovations like big data can better predict disasters in the Asia-Pacific region and help to reduce its impact.

  • The report stated that, since 1970, natural disasters in the Asia-Pacific region have killed two million people i.e. 59% of the global death toll.
  • Rising global temperatures and climate change have increased the frequency and intensity of floods, cyclones and droughts in the region.
  • Further, disasters also cause more damage in Asia and the Pacific, measured as a percentage of GDP, than the rest of the world, and this gap has been widening.
  • In this context, technologies intervention caused by big data can help identify and locate those most at risk, to warn people ahead of a disaster, and deliver targeted relief afterwards.
  • This data can come from a range of sources, including satellite imagery, drone videos, simulations, crowdsourcing, social media and global positioning systems.
  • Application of Big Data in Disaster Risk Reduction:
    • There are four main phases of disaster management i.e. prevention, preparedness, response and recovery.
    • A Big Data-driven sensor network can help mitigate disaster in the following ways:
      • Flood and cyclone forecasting now rely on computer simulations, machine learning can help predict the location and severity of floods.
      • Sensor webs and the Internet of Things can enable efficient earthquake early-warning systems.
      • Remote sensing via satellites and drones provide quick assessments of damage and people affected so that disaster response can be prioritized.
      • Public data like India’s digital ID system (Aadhar) can help deliver targeted benefits to millions of small and marginal farmers affected by drought.
    • Big data applications have led to substantial reductions in mortalities and economic losses due to typhoons in the north and east Asia.

Big Data

  • Big Data, broadly characterize data sets so large they cannot be stored and analysed by the traditional data storage and processing methods.
  • It has three characteristics, referred to as the three V’s – Volume, Velocity and Variety, that distinguish Big Data from other forms of data.
  • The emergence of Big Data has primarily been, due to the decrease in the cost of sensory and mass digitization of systems and processes around the globe.

Source: THBL

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