[HOT] Science on the Street Level

Stéphane Henriod s at henriod.info
Tue May 22 08:46:54 BST 2012


I like the idea of "letting the people map what they want".. Anyway, it is
not really possible to "forbid" any type of object / tag but the question
is rather "should we proactively encourage and organize specific processes
and tags?"

In the case of risk, this would mean developing some kinds of ontology, to
avoid that everyone ends up mapping garbage and flood areas in a totally
different manner. Ontologies for hazard areas, ontologies for vulnerability
classes, ontologies for building types.

So how far should we go? I am quite a partisan of developing ontologies for
all those and to make sure that they are

   - simple enough for any "non-specialist" to be able to apprehend and use
   - complex enough in order to be relevant for some kind of risk analysis

but this is an ongoing discussion in HOT, with partisans on both sides!

Of course, this will never reach the precision of costly scientifically-led
risk analysis. But maybe better than nothing, mainly in data-poor
environments? And could always be enriched in the future.

The 2 main points for me are:

   - Local people often know where the risks are (at least for some types
   of risks) and a costly scientific analysis might bring only marginal added
   value when it comes to humanitarian action
   - We absolutely need to be prepared for the next disasters, and this
   requires an early identification of at-risk zones (to avoid IDP camps in a
   flood zone...) and at-risk populations (to be able to engage with big NGOs
   and donors to promote safety with structural and non-structural initiatives)

Thanks Om and Fred for your contribution


"Le mot progrès n'aura aucun sens tant qu'il y aura des enfants malheureux"
-- Albert Einstein

"A journey does not need reasons. Before long, it proves to be reason
enough in itself. One thinks that one is going to make a journey, yet soon
it is the journey that makes or unmakes you." -- Nicolas Bouvier

Photos de voyages, photos de montagne: http://www.henriod.info

On Tue, May 22, 2012 at 9:22 AM, Om G <om.imap at gmail.com> wrote:

> Fred, thank you so much for this
> > For me, we need to let the people represent their area as they want (and
> > in Cite Soleil it is an area at risk, and they are mapping several
> > object, garbage, most flooded area, school, .... ) and perhaps the
> > scientific world forget something to mention on a Micro Level.
> OSM's strength is that users can add what matters to them. People doing
> 'real' risk modeling have a great deal of resources in comparison with
> those 'at risk' and might also be quite reluctant to make some of these
> vulnerable locations public for fear of legal repercussions or giving away
> information of possible strategic value to an 'enemy' of some sort.
> When individuals on the ground have capacity to share what they perceive
> to be a risk we learn what they care about and quite often will also find
> things that qualify as "real" risks.
> Another important point, being shown again and again, that participatory
> mapping is not a one shot experience, but rather the beginning of an
> ongoing conversation. The first step of including self perceived risks will
> start communication flow in the right direction and quickly identify folks
> who would provide much higher quality results for a second phase. This also
> provides a nice progression from basic skills to more advanced work for the
> citizen mapper.
> For both, we need something general enough to manage individual inputs and
> accurate enough for the risk modelers and researchers to make valid use of.
> I think it would be very interesting to see how closely the citizen's risk
> evaluation matches up with the scientist's.
> Om
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