Designing actionable and equitable earthquake impact information

Sabine Loos

Mendenhall Fellow, USGS, NHC

Date & Time
Microsoft Teams

Many data sources that become available after a disaster—such as satellite imagery or reconnaissance surveys—have immense power to inform decisions that influence the trajectory of the affected country for years afterwards. However, often these data sources prioritize specific user groups, easy-to-measure metrics, and short-term understanding. In this talk, I will present on three main examples of designing earthquake information to be more actionable by centering user needs and more equitable by prioritizing vulnerable populations. The first is on developing actionable damage data, in which we identify how different sources of damage data can be applied to post-earthquake decisions to then inform a method to integrate multiple sources of building damage data to be more useful and accurate. The second is on developing post-earthquake data that acknowledges inequities in recovery, a relatively more complex phenomena than damage, looking at how we can integrate data on natural, social, and physical factors to estimate the spatial distribution of populations who will lag during recovery. The third is on current research to improve USGS’s near-real-time earthquake products to be more actionable and equitable, by taking a user-centered approach which combines focus groups with key stakeholders and web analytics to inform updates to current contend and the design of future content. Broadly, evaluating the what, why, and who of earthquake information supports the thoughtful design of future products that are more useful to local planners, reflect the multiple disciplines that study disaster, and, ultimately, inform decisions that lead to more effective and equitable outcomes.

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