Mobile Pictographs for Disaster Communication

Pictographic Disaster Communication

We investigate the use of pictographs in disaster information systems to understand the challenges for implementing a pictograph-based disaster communication system on mobile phones with the capability to save life and livelihoods in disaster situations.

Why Pictographs?

30% of the Asian and Sub-Saharan populations are low-literate. Present day ICT-driven disaster and climate change communication does not provide the means for sharing risk information with and receiving risk information from low-literate or linguistically challenged populations. There is no established pictograph dictionary and semantics. Our challenge is to validate the concept of pictographic disaster communication and to stimulate feedback on design requirements.

What is the Solution?

Pictograph enabled communication will empower communities of practice in disaster and climate change to include all linguistically challenged populations. It will bring about change in ways which risk is perceived and communicated by the low-literate and linguistically challenged. Moreover, pictograph enabled communication empowers interconnection of these marginalised populations for knowledge mobilisation in the given context.

What is the Goal?

We are pursuing this project within the scope of HIF's "recognition" phase. We aim at developing a first version of a dictionary and semantics for pictographic disaster communication. This will allow for initial testing and confirming with practitioners on their requirements for national implementations.

People & Contact

Nuwan Waidyanatha, Sahana Software Foundation
Lutz Frommberger, Sahana Software Foundation
Indrani Medhi Thies, Microsoft Research India
Muki Haklay, ExCiteS, University College London

Project News


Work has started on Mobile Disaster Pictographs

30% of the Asian and Sub-Saharan populations are low-literate - that means, we cannot really reach them through textual messages ...

Project Info

This project is supported by Elrha’s Humanitarian Innovation Fund - a grant making facility supporting organisations and individuals to identify, nurture and share - innovative and scalable solutions to the most pressing challenges facing effective humanitarian assistance. - The Humanitarian Innovation Fund is a programme of Elrha and is funded by aid from the UK Government and the Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA).