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Human Security & Technology

Signal works to advance the safe, ethical, and effective use of information technologies by communities of practice during humanitarian and human rights emergencies.

Remote Sensing & Digital Forensics

Featured work: Remote forensics in Syria

“Present in the imagery from March 1st and March 4th of the prison, there are dark elongated objects, similar to each other, measuring approximately five to six feet in length,” said Isaac Baker, imagery analysis manager at the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative’s Signal Program on Human Security and Technology. “While analysis and available data does not prove, it does corroborate, and is consistent with, eyewitness accounts of mass executions at this facility.” Read the entire article here.

Standards & Ethics

UAViators Code of Conduct

Signal Code publication cover

The UAViators Code of Conduct is the gold standard for how to effectively, securely, and respectfully operate drones in the humanitarian sector. We're excited to be working more closely with the UAViators and WeRobotics to steward this latest round of updates. More at

Our Featured Paper

Signal Code publication cover

Signal Code

Identifying, defining, articulating, and translating existing international human rights standards into the context of HIAs and the use of information, data, and ICTs in humanitarian contexts.

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Other Notable Papers

Early Warning & Atrocity Prevention

Our Work

The Early Warning team conducts sector-leading development of the theory, methodologies, operational protocols, and case-based learning in near-term tactical decision support for civilian protection worldwide. Already at the core of United Nations’ peacekeeping operations learning and operational development, the Early Warning team is working to systematically re-configure the humanitarian sector’s wide-lens, long-range approach to tactical early warning and mass atrocity prevention, bringing it into focus with analysis protocols designed for real-time change detection and decision support.

Our Featured Paper

HHI Signal Remote Forensics paper screenshot

Problems from Hell, Solution in the Heavens?: Identifying Obstacles and Opportunities for Employing Geospatial Technologies to Document and Mitigate Mass Atrocities

The aim of this article is to highlight potential methods applicable to a standard forensic approach for the analysis of high-resolution satellite imagery that may contain evidence of alleged mass atrocities.

Direct Download (PDF)

Other Notable Papers


The Signal Program is seeking an intern for the summer of 2019 to assist in building an agent-based model.

By November 2016 an estimated 1.5 million people have become internally displaced in Somalia.
Climate change, environmental degradation, conflict, political and economic instability, and food crises stand to increase the numbers and movement of Somalia’s internally displaced populations (IDPs). There is an urgent need for the development of an agent-based model to understand the effects of climate change and conflict on pastoralists and internally displaced populations in the Horn of Africa.

To accomplish this, the Signal Program is applying agent-based modeling to new, theoretical methods of tracking migration patterns, considering variables ranging from environmental indices, conflict, and available support. We're seeking assistance in translating conceptual models into code, test ABM prototypes with empirical data and produce preliminary deliverables for project partners.

More Information

A full description of the internship can be found here

Contact and Application

For more information or to apply, please email:

Saira Khan
Data Analyst, Signal Program


Program Manager, Signal Program on Human Security and Technology
Research Coordinator, Signal Program
Erica Nelson MD, PhM
Co-Director, Humanitarian Geoanalytics Research and Education Programs
Project Coordinator, KoBoToolbox
Research Assistant, Signal Program
Research Assistant, Signal Program
Research Assistant, Signal Program
Research Assistant, Signal Program

Principal Investigator: Michael VanRooyen, MD, MPH