Message to Our Readers

Featured Image Credit:

#GFI4SD – Post 4: Can New Media Outlets Provide Accurate Information?


Many panels met during the Global Festival of Ideas for Sustainable Development to discuss maintainable actions that will hopefully result to radical innovations towards the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Various countries are keen to ensure that they increase the number of cities and businesses that drive changes that will meet the SDGs by the year 2030. This post follows the ‘disillusionment’ talk held on March 1st 2017, in particular a segment by Gonzalo Fanjul, Policy Director at ISGlobal and Co-founder of the Fundacion por Causa about media and its role in society (58’).

Continue reading #GFI4SD – Post 4: Can New Media Outlets Provide Accurate Information?

Spatial Big Data, Mapping and Geographic Information Systems

Source:  GlobalGiving

Over the last few weeks, I have been writing on spatial data and mapping. Those of you who read my previous posts, may have noticed my interest in Meier’s book Digital Humanitarians: How Big Data Is Changing the Face of Humanitarian Response. Last week, Meier sent a message on Twitter to remind his followers of his 2011 TED talk, titled “Changing the World… One Map at a Time”, and encourage them to watch it.

The presentation that you can watch below demonstrates examples of the recent history of digital crisis mapping, from the 2008 post-election situation in Kenya and the earthquakes in Haiti in 2010 and in Japan in 2011, to the 2011 protests in Libya. Meier concludes his talk by emphasising the use of live maps for activism purposes in several countries like Syria, Sudan, Egypt, Lebanon, Yemen and Tunisia.

Continue reading Spatial Big Data, Mapping and Geographic Information Systems

Big Data: Blessing or Curse? Part 2

Source: Vishal Krishna/ (27 June 2016)

Big Data are mostly discussed for two reasons. The first reason is whether those data that include personal information are safe or not. The second one is about how the data that are provided are used.

To begin with, I need to clarify what I am talking about when I use the term Big Data. CERN also uses Big Data but with another meaning for example. In this post I refer to the specific kind of Big Data that include private information and are mostly generated by humans through social media platforms or records of mobile phone lines.

Continue reading Big Data: Blessing or Curse? Part 2

Infodemiology in the Battle Against Ebola: Mining the Web for Public Health Surveillance

“Infodemiology includes the analysis of queries from Internet search engines to predict disease outbreaks; monitoring people’s’ status updates on microblogs such as Twitter for syndromic surveillance; detecting and quantifying disparities in health information availability; identifying and monitoring of public health relevant publications on the Internet” (Eysenbach, 2009)

Internet data, especially search engine queries and social media postings, have shown promise in contributing to syndromic surveillance for several communicable diseases, including Ebola. Much has been written about the global response to the 2014 Ebola outbreak in West Africa, “lessons learned” have often focused on operational reasons why health systems faltered and why the humanitarian response came late, often taking donors and international aid agencies like the World Health Organisation (WHO) to task for mishandling the crisis.

A systematic review published in 2014 by Nuti and his colleagues, highlighted that in recent years, researchers have been increasingly utilising online search data for a diversity of health topics with some successful applications in the field of infectious disease surveillance, especially in countries with high Internet penetration levels (Nuti et al., 2014).

Continue reading Infodemiology in the Battle Against Ebola: Mining the Web for Public Health Surveillance