I was particularly pleased to see this study appear in the top-tier journal, Nature. (Thanks to my colleague Sarah Vieweg for flagging). Earlier studies have shown that “human communications are both temporally & spatially localized following the onset of emergencies, indicating that social propagation is a primary means to propagate situational awareness.” In this new study, the authors analyze crisis events using country-wide mobile phone data. To this end, they also analyze the communication patterns of mobile phone users outside the affected area. So the question driving this study is this: how do the communication patterns of non-affected mobile phone users differ from those affected? Why ask this question? Understanding the communication patterns of mobile phone users outside the affected areas sheds light on how situational awareness spreads during disasters.
Phi Beta Iota: N-GRAMS, from 1985, is still the best thing around and applies to any communication medium in any language. It’s not an expensive enough solution for people that lack integrity and have no interst at all in creating ethical evidence-based decision-support. For the same reason, we continue to lack the all-source analytic workstation with the eighteen functionalities defined in 1985.