Disaster Response in Nepal and The Zooniverse

These guys are real role models: the folks over at Zooniverse are assisting with the disaster relief efforts following the earthquake in Nepal. Citizen Scientists, just doing their bit.

Zooniverse

Very soon after the recent magnitude-7.8 earthquake in Nepal, we were contacted by multiple groups involved in directly responding with aid and rescue teams, asking if we could assist in the efforts getting underway to crowdsource the mapping of the region. One of those groups was Rescue Global, an independent reconnaissance charity that works across multiple areas of disaster risk reduction and response. Rescue Global also works with our collaborators in machine learning here at Oxford, combining human and computer inputs for disaster response in a project called Orchid. And they asked us to help them pinpoint the areas with the most urgent unfulfilled need for aid.

And so we sprang into action. The satellite company Planet Labs generously shared all its available data on Nepal with us. The resolution of Planet Labs’ imagery – about 5 metres per pixel – is perfect for rapid examination of…

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