The Signal Program

on Human Security and Technology

The Signal Program on Human Security and Technology (Signal Program) was founded by the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative in 2012. The program works to advance the safe, ethical, and effective use of information technologies by communities of practice during humanitarian and human rights emergencies.

The program's ongoing research and scholarship
focuses on the following three areas:

Tools and Methods

Design and scientifically test tools and methods that remotely collect and analyze data about humanitarian emergencies

Standards and Ethics

Help lead the development of technical standards and professional ethics for the responsible use of technology to assist disaster-affected populations

Mass Atrocity Remote Sensing

Conduct retrospective analysis of satellite imagery and other related data to identify remotely observable forensic evidence of alleged mass atrocities

Satellite Imagery Interpretation Guide: Intentional Burning of Tukuls

During armed conflict in East and Central Africa civilian dwellings are intentionally targeted and razed. These traditional civilian dwellings are known as tukuls which are primarily mud and thatch huts.

This guide is the first to focus on tukuls because they are a uniquely valuable metric for both documenting attacks on civilians during armed conflicts and assessing potential mass displacement that can result from these incidents.  

Nathaniel Raymond at TedX Fulton Street

Signal Program Director Nathaniel Raymond spoke at the TedX Fulton Street Conference on Sunday, September 20, 2015. Raymond discussed the intentional burning of tukuls and the work of the Signal Program.

More information on the event can be found here


Imagery Analysis Manager, Signal Program on Human Security and Technology
Director, Signal Program on Human Security and Technology

Principle Investigator: Michael VanRooyen, MD, MPH