Technology developed by the Qatar Computing Research Institute (QCRI), one of Hamad bin Khalifa University’s three research institutes, has been used to provide information to local responders following the 7.8 magnitude earthquake which shook Ecuador on 16 April.

Social media data collected and categorised with QCRI’s Artificial Intelligence for Disaster Response (AIDR) technology and MicroMappers can be used to provide insights following an emergency. MicroMappers is collaboration between the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN OCHA) and the digital volunteers response agency, Standby Task Force.

Data from the text and images collected can help humanitarian decision-makers direct resources to the areas most in need.

QCRI senior software engineer Ji Lucas, who is among the scientists who developed the technology, said AIDR provided information from 57,184 tweets in categories including infrastructure damage and urgent needs, following the earthquake.

Lucas said:

Together with our partners in SBTF we elected to do a small MicroMappers deployment to support their Ecuador response. The results were given to their humanitarian partners. Every time we activate we aim to make a difference while learning and improving our technology.’

AIDR and MicroMappers have previously been deployed via UN OCHA and SBTF to assist with emergency responses following the 2015 Nepal earthquake, Cyclone Pam in Vanuatu the same year, and with typhoons Hagupit and Haiyan in the Philippines in 2014 and 2013.

For more information, visit qcri.qa.