AAAI Publications, 2010 AAAI Spring Symposium Series

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People, Quakes, and Communications: Inferences from Call Dynamics about a Seismic Event and its Influences on a Population
Ashish Kapoor, Nathan Eagle, Eric Horvitz

Last modified: 2010-03-16


We explore the prospect of inferring the epicenter and influences of seismic activity from changes in background phone communication activities logged at cell towers. In particular, we explore the perturbations in Rwandan call data invoked by an earthquake in February 2008 centered in the Lac Kivu region of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Beyond the initial seismic event, we investigate the challenge of assessing the distribution of the persistence of needs over geographic regions, using the persistence of call anomalies after the earthquake as a proxy for lasting influences and the potential need for assistance. We also infer uncertainties in the inferences and consider the prospect of identifying the value of surveying the areas so that surveillance resources can be best triaged.


Prediction, Gaussian Process, Earthquake, Development

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