Structured Data for Humanitarian Technologies: Perfect Fit or Overkill?
Papers from the 2015 AAAI Spring Symposium
Lalana Kagal, Hemant Purohit, Oshani Seneviratne, Program Chair
Technical Report SS-15-06
Published by The AAAI Press, Palo Alto, California.
Technology is playing an increasingly important role in all aspects of humanitarian operations including search and rescue, early warning, and coordination of logistics. However, applications that support humanitarian operations often consume data stored in standalone databases, or in spreadsheets requiring manual steps for data merging and management. Moreover, the data structure is driven by schemas developed in isolation as opposed to ontological structures supported by the community such as the humanitarian exchange language (HXL) and management of a crisis (MOAC). Consequently, the increasingly unorganized and scattered information becomes noise in the overall system, slowing down decision-making processes.
Our objective is to assess the role of structured data (SD) standards such as linked data, which can be quickly reused, integrated and extended, in the humanitarian space. Using SD would permit effective integration of and analysis over data generated by multiple parties, including informal communities that is, the crowd, relief organizations, and more formally by government agencies. However, there are several important challenges that prevent its widespread adoption such as the lack of data sources, lack of mature libraries, and lack of standards across different humanitarian sectors. This symposium proposes to investigate the role of SD in the humanitarian relief domain. Is the technology mature enough to warrant further investigation or do the disadvantages outweigh the utility of SD for this domain? We invite both position papers discussing these issues as well as technical papers that demonstrate the effective use of SD in the humanitarian domain or where another comparable technology has been used to address the reuse and integration issues.