Sensors, Empowerment, and Accountability: A Digital Earth View from East Africa

International Journal of Digital EarthInternational Journal of Digital Earth, Available online 21 June 2011

Yola Georgiadou, Benson Bana, Robert Becht, Robert Hoppe, Justinian Ikingura, Menno-Jan Kraak, Kate Lance, Rob Lemmens, Juma Hemed Lungo, Michael McCall, Gianluca Miscione, and  Jeroen Verplanke

“Several innovative ‘participatory sensing’ initiatives are under way in East Africa. They can be seen as local manifestations of the global notion of Digital Earth. The initiatives aim to amplify the voice of ordinary citizens, improve citizens’ capacity to directly influence public service delivery and hold local government accountable. The popularity of these innovations is, among other things, a local reaction to the partial failure of the millennium development goals (MDGs) to deliver accurate statistics on public services in Africa.

An integrated research approach regarding the feasibility and performance of a human sensor web.

An integrated research approach regarding the feasibility and performance of a human sensor web.

“Empowered citizens, with access to standard mobile phones, can ‘sense’ via text messages and report failures in the delivery of local government services. The public disclosure of these reports on the web and other mass media may pressure local authorities to take remedial action. In this paper, we outline the potential and research challenges of a ‘participatory sensing’ platform, which we call a ‘human sensor web.’ Digital Africa’s first priority could be to harness continent-wide and national data as well as local information resources, collected by citizens, in order to monitor, measure and forecast MDGs.”

Esri Health GIS Conference, 07-09 September 2011 in Washington, DC

Esri Health GIS Conference, September 7-9 in Washington, D.C. The 2011 Esri Health GIS Conference, to be held September 7-9 in Washington, DC is the place where health professionals can exchange ideas, try the Hands-on Learning Lab, attend technical sessions, and learn firsthand how to use geospatial technology to shape global health.

Keynote speaker Todd Park, chief technology officer for the US Department of Health and Human Services, will present New Incentives + Information Liberation = Rocket Fuel for Innovation.

Technical sessions will include

  • Spatial Pattern Analysis: Mapping Trends and Clusters
  • Modeling Spatial Relationships Using Regression Analysis
  • Spatial Statistics: Best Practices
  • Working with Temporal Data in ArcGIS
  • Web GIS – Leveraging ArcGIS Online and Web Viewers
  • Routing with ArcLogistics and Location-Allocation with Network Analyst

This event is open to professionals in public health, hospitals and health systems, human services, and academic health and research.