Engaging communities in hazard reporting & safety
How might we better prepare & deal with natural disasters in Australia?
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Aggregation of low-quality data to supplement delivery of government services
Video ACT: https://youtu.be/K6omPV7Ubfg
Video National: https://youtu.be/rozFa5jzRxA
The data that dictates government policy is usually the product of a clearly defined set of standards. Such high-quality data is very good at telling us what has happened and modelling what might happen.
This approach works well during business-as-usual practices, but creates difficulty when an immediate response is required. Governments MUST learn how to leverage real-time indicators if they wish to deploy cutting-edge solutions to unprecedented events.
In particular, policymakers face several recurring questions that high-quality data struggles to address in a timely fashion:
1. What do people need from the government?
2. How are people reacting to the situation?
3. How will people's reactions change as the situation changes?
This is particularly relevant in times of crisis, as low-quality data data can reveal trends that provide an earlier answer, or in some cases, an answer where high-quality data cannot.
Evidence of Work
Description of Use This data is recorded at monitoring sites every 15 minutes with most data being sent hourly to a central location for processing, archival and dissemination. In the interest of making this data available as quickly as possible, the data is provided largely "as-is", i.e. it has come directly from the devices that have recorded it. However, there is often a large distance between monitoring sites and some rivers are not monitored at all. The community could provide on ground observations of the height of the flows and any changes in water quality near them to supplement this data. This real time data is very useful during floods and water quality issues to help manage the situation.
Description of Use This is a report which aims to aid disaster recovery by increasing understanding of the interacting influences of social, built, financial, political, human, cultural and natural capital on wellbeing outcomes. The understanding of almost all of these areas - particularly social, political, human and cultural - could benefit from low-quality data, which provides a look at the immediate state of the areas and allows for a more up-to-date understanding of how wellbeing and recovery are progressing. This project also provides an excellent example of how high-quality data can be used to build benchmarks. Low-quality data can then be used to draw earlier conclusions on when these benchmarks have been met, as well as suggesting whether progress is trending towards or away from these benchmarks at any given time.
Description of Use This tells us how much people are using public transport. This can be combined with other transport data to give us an indication of people's movements (both pre-COVID and post-COVID) to build measurable indicators of how COVID has affected people's movements and build indicators/benchmarks of when people's movements return to normal.
Description of Use To help manage bushfires, this high quality dataset could be used with low quality data that is provided by the community to identify signs of bushfires starting. If bushfires can be identified when they are small, they can be quickly controlled and do not have the opportunity to grow into unmanageable firestorms. This satellite thermal infra-red data shows areas that are hotter than the surrounding landscape. This does not mean a fire has started but the area has been identified as having a high risk of a fire occurring. Data on these areas, such as any signs of smoke, fleeing animals or flames could be reported by the community. This would be especially important in areas that are remote and have very little state emergency staff.
Description of Use This is an example of aggregated low-quality data that is easily available- in this case, detailing people's movements around Canberra (regardless of means of transport used). This can be combined with other transport data to give us an indication of people's movements (both pre-COVID and post-COVID) to build measurable indicators of how COVID has affected people's movements and build indicators/benchmarks of when people's movements return to normal. Furthermore, the data used in this report is always collected, and thus can be used to supplement existing transport reports (such as public transport or street parking reports) with immediate data - particularly useful if the government is trying to identify whether the public's post-COVID behaviour is becoming closer to or further from the 'normal' benchmark.
Description of Use We can use this data to determine how much people are using street parking. This can be combined with other transport data to give us an indication of people's movements (both pre-COVID and post-COVID) to build measurable indicators of how COVID has affected people's movements and build indicators/benchmarks of when people's movements return to normal.
Description of Use This is a high quality data set that establishes a mechanism for monitoring and reporting on the status of biodiversity at regular intervals, this includes modelling potential areas where rare and endangered species may occur. Monitoring of biodiversity across NSW is a large, complex task requiring novel approaches to data collection and use, including the application of models to help track change. This data set could be updated by low quality data from the community as the species of interest are sighted and as potential habitat changes because of droughts and flooding.
Description of Use This is an example of a high quality data set that predicts how high the largest storm events will likely reach on natural sandy beaches directly exposed to large wave/surf conditions. During storm events local observations such as the timing and height of the waves, could be combined with this data set to help manage the effects of these storm events. This will be particularly important when climate change starts to affect wind and weather conditions and sea-level rise with the subsequent modification to the occurrence of the largest storm-driven water levels.
Description of Use This high-quality data provides the location of public spaces. Low-quality data could be used to supplement this in the following ways: (a) Location mapping could be used to show how public spaces are used, and how this has changed in the wake of the 2020 crises. This could help create one measurable criterion for what 'normality' is and one benchmark for how close the ACT is to returning to it at any given stage, aiding COVID response and recovery planning. (b) Where engagement with community facilities has decreased, social media trends could provide an indication of what activities have replaced them and how the ACT government can best support the community. (c) Where engagement with community facilities has decreased, social media trends could provide an indication of whether this is a long-term decline or whether behaviours are likely to revert post-COVID, thus allowing for earlier recovery planning.
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