Lead Research Organisation: University of Cambridge
Department Name: Architecture


The commercial opportunity being pursued through follow-on funding is bringing to the market a new class of systematic and independent monitoring and evaluation (M&E) data that meets the need of the key stake holders such as the national governments, international donors and NGOs. The proposed follow on project will use the outcomes of EPSRC project 'Indicators for Measuring, Monitoring and Evaluating Post-Disaster Recovery' (EP/F015232/1), where a suite of twelve Performance Indicators spanning core recovery sectors were extracted from high-resolution satellite imagery. The prototype M&E datasets resulted from pilot testing the recovery performance indicators in the cities of Ban Nam Khem, Thailand after the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, and Muzaffarabad, Pakistan after the 2005 earthquake. The Recovery Project Team delivered the following research outcomes: (1) a transferrable methodology for monitoring and evaluating post-disaster recovery using satellites; and (2) a range of data representations, e.g. GIS maps, graphs, bar charts, tables for displaying the recovery information. The main objective of the follow on project is to: (1) identifying and developing database structures and data packages that suit the needs of aid agencies with different geographic foci and scales of operation; and (2) identifying and developing delivery protocols that suit the workflow of aid agencies, taking into account the fact that different data in different forms are required at different operational stages. These aims will be achieved by engaging the end user community to robustly test the prototype indicators within operational situations, and thereby fine-tuning them into a commercial M&E data offering.Monitoring and evaluating (M&E) progress made on the ground is a fundamental requirement for aid projects that provide assistance to long term recovery. An investment in data that enables donors to provide accountability to stakeholders will allow more efficient agency intervention. It will ultimately improve project outcomes by impartially assessing whether objectives are being met at key stages during the lifetime of a project.

Planned Impact

Each work package in the proposed Follow on Fund project has a component that will help the team to achieve market penetration for remote sensing-based long term monitoring and evaluation (M&E) of recovery after natural disasters, both through collaboration with early adopters and the end of project workshop. This is critical to both the potential take-up of the methodology, and for paving the way for expanding needs-based implementation of remote sensing technology for development M&E and other emerging aid-related requirements (e.g. intelligent placement of relief camps after disasters in areas that do not pose secondary hazards). At the onset of this project, the team will carry out consultations with the potential end users of our M&E data services. The aim of the consultation is to establish specific pathways for incorporating our data into agencies existing workflows. However, not only that but the consultation process itself will serve as a platform to further disseminate the outcomes from the previous EPSRC funded RECOVERY project that this Follow on Fund is based upon. By introducing this new concept of monitoring and evaluation through these collaborations, we can expect the potential clients to consider the use of remotely sensed data in myriad situations, increasing our chances of further engaging in operational implementation. In the last phase of the project, the planned end of the project workshop will provide an opportunity to showcase the M&E data within operational settings, specifically framing the presentation in NGOs and donors own language. A keynote speaker such as Dr. Doekle Wielinga, the GFDRR Team Leader Sustainable Recovery, will be invited to lead the discussion, paving the way for others to see the commercial interest in and potential of our M&E data. This workshop will also specifically address operational strategic and financial considerations that aid agencies and NGO's will have. It is expeected that through this network of contacts, cutting edge solutions and standards of excellence that are the essence of our offering, the Recovery Project Team will in turn be invited to present our work at industry meetings, such as the PDNA forum in Brussels which, coming full circle, marked the very start of our EPSRC recovery research.


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Description The follow-on funding for this project was successfully used in our research programme between 01 April 2011 and 30 March 2012. We used research from a previous EPSRC-Funded project 'Indicators for Measuring, Monitoring and Evaluating Post-Disaster Recovery' project [EP/F015232/1], and applied it in the field toward commercializing the research.

We worked closely with potential users of our indicators for recovery, and developed two pilot projects in Haiti and two detailed reports on post-earthquake recovery in Chile and New Zealand. We finished the year with a workshop on "Geospatial tools and information needs in post-disaster recovery," March 29-30 2012.

In detail, our work on this project began with a trip to the World Bank/UN sponsored Global Facility for Disaster Risk Reduction conference (April, 2011) in Geneva. There we presented the findings from the "Indicators" project, and launched the idea of doing this in an applied, non-research-based context with project partners and potential technology users. The conversations we had were extremely useful in steering our thinking about making the scientific research as relevant as possible, and for finding implementation partners with whom we could develop the research further. Out of this came two opportunities in Haiti, one with the British Red Cross (BRC) and the other with UN-HABITAT.

The projects in Haiti were initially intended to be consultations, but on developing them further they became full-fledged projects, in which Daniel Brown (Cambridge University) was able to work in Haiti for a few months with the BRC and UN-HABITIAT. His two reports are attached separately. As a way of working this became quite useful, as it put our methodology to the test in the field, and allowed us to understand aspects of it which were more (or less) suitable to NGOs, governments and others working in post-disaster environments. Most significant came a realization that our methodologies with satellites were equally useful in planning disaster response, and possibly more important.

Prof Steve Platt (Cambridge Architectural Research) was also able to discuss our methodology on two trips he took to post-earthquake Chile and New Zealand. These trips allowed us to understand how we might be able to adjust the technology for developed countries and developing economies. The offering of geospatial planning from our consortium, ReBuilDD, is certainly of interest to governments and agencies.

We founded ReBuilDD ( as a way to commercialise the research. We are still a consortium, rather than a company, as we have yet to decide on the best way forward. We are taking advice from Cambridge Enterprise, the commercial arm of the University, and our project partners. We have a management committee including all three partners, and an agreement (attached separately) for on-going collaboration.

During the year we met with a number of potential users of the technology, and got useful feedback for refining the application of the research. One of the most useful was extended discussions with Kamran Akbar of the World Bank in Kabul, who had also participated in Pakistan's recovery after its floods and earthquake. His insight was very valuable, and we hope to continue working with them.

We closed the year with a two-day workshop for 30 people, including leading practitioners from around the world. This was a lively and successful end to the year of funding, and we continue to work together to apply the EPSRC-funded research.

Two personnel outcomes are worth mentioning. Dr Keiko Saito, Co-Investigator on this project, now has a long-term position with the World Bank in Washington, DC working in this field. Dr. Emily So, who was not funded on this follow-on project, but was on the EPSRC-funded precursor project, is now a Lecturer at Cambridge University. In both cases the EPSRC-funded work directly contributed to their success, and the knowledge they gained through the work will be extended in academia and practice.
Exploitation Route Our work is being taken forward in further funding (EU) and through the World Bank
Sectors Construction,Creative Economy,Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software),Environment,Other

Description ReBuilDD uses state-of-the-art satellite image analysis and geospatial techniques to plan, monitor and evaluate disaster relief, recovery and reconstruction after major natural catastrophes. The methods offered by ReBuilDD provide a quantitative, systematic and replicable workflow that can be used to create maps and statistics to measure and visualise spatial-temporal variation in the progress of relief and recovery. Detailed gap analysis allows stakeholders to better understand the post-disaster situation on the ground to plan reconstruction through better-informed planning decisions, identification of where resources are required most, and improving the speed and efficiency of recovery projects.
First Year Of Impact 2012
Sector Construction,Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software),Environment,Other
Impact Types Societal,Policy & public services