Interactive visualization and communication of hydrological information to support multi-level natural hazard reduction and resilience building

Lead Research Organisation: Imperial College London
Department Name: Civil & Environmental Engineering

Abstract

"The ubiquitous presence of internet-connected computers and mobile phones has revolutionised the way that people communicate and share information. This has resulted in an exponential rise in the use of social computer networks, and the availability of unprecedented amounts of information.
This PhD project aims to leverage this evolution to decrease human vulnerability and promote resilience building in the context of natural hazards such as floods and droughts.
The societal impact of natural hazards is increasing in many parts of the world, particularly in developing countries. However, the scarcity and low quality of existing environmental information (such as rainfall and river flow records), as well as suboptimal processing and communication of that information to the people who need it, is a major challenge.
The use of citizen and science and other participatory approaches present an opportunity to alleviate this data scarcity. Examples of such initiatives include community-based flood early warning systems, low-cost weather stations, and participatory monitoring of ecosystem services.
This project will study how new types of collaborative decision-support systems can be developed to support grassroots initiatives for the collection and communication of environmental data that can increase local resilience to natural hazards. The project will leverage new technological developments in ICT such as cloud computing and social networks, and will build upon the most recent insights in the creation of dynamic visualisation and infographics. In particular, the project will study how the visualisation of information (including inherent properties such as uncertainties) needs to be tailored and adapted to be accessible for a wide range of actors, and in particular disadvantaged groups and people with low technical and scientific background."

Publications

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