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

Sri Lankan low-literate communities enjoy symbology in disaster communication

In general low-literate community members, in Sri Lanka, struggled with comprehending the Sri Lanka Meteorological Services text bulletins - that ...

“Help, Pirates!” – Insights from a Disaster Communication Exercise with Experts

Last year, we approached a group of disaster communication experts at the 2016 CAP Implementation Workshop in Bangkok, about 60 ...

Extending Early Warnings to Linguistically Marginalized Populations

In a work for the World Meteorological Organization, M. Golnaraghi [1] stated that “it is crucial that warning messages are ...

Towards a Research Design: Pictographs in Disasters

The Research Team met at Microsoft Research India, in Bangalore, to formulate a practical and appropriate research design to test ...

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).