ICCM 2013: Beth Tellman, Yale: Predicting Socio-ecological Vulnerability on the Fly & in the Cloud

Beth Tellman from Yale University discusses Predicting Socio-ecological Vulnerability on the Fly and in the Cloud. "Imagine if the world visualized live streaming data of who was most vulnerable and where in New Orleans as Hurricane Katrina approached. Could this have increased public awareness and inspired crowdsourced aid? What if we could use the science of human and natural systems to predict risk at a high resolution for any disaster around the globe? This is a talk by social and hydrological scientists demonstrating the potential of highly parallelized cloud computing to model socio-ecological disaster vulnerability at high spatial and temporal resolution. We are developing a web application to communicate to the public their vulnerability to extreme weather given publicly available data, cutting edge disaster science, and geotech cloud capabilities. In collaboration with the Google Earth Outreach Team, we have developed a proof of concept in the new Google Earth Engine API. Our algorithm uses a series of social and ecological indicators of vulnerability to flooding in order to predict who is most at risk from extreme weather in the US. The platform draws from data in the cloud, including elevation, satellite imagery, and census data, allowing the model to dynamically refine a surface of risk inside a coarse resolution flood prediction zone from a weather service. Adding this predictive layer to crisis map mash-ups could help citizens understand their own vulnerability in near real time." @pazjusticiavida