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
Imagery Interpretation Guide: Assessing Wind Disaster Damage to Structures
Agencies are increasingly using the analysis of drone and satellite imagery to conduct assessments of damage caused by wind disasters. While potentially valuable in the aftermath of a disaster, this work has been performed to date without a standard methodology specifically designed for this task. This gap in theory and practice may slow analysis, affect its accuracy, and reduce the potential actionability of these products for ground responders.
The Signal Program (Signal Program) on Human Security and Technology at the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative (HHI) has developed the BAR methodology to help address this gap. The methodology provides a standard classification framework for types of structures and repeating patterns of damage to them.
The guide is aimed at institutional analysts, voluntary technical organizations (VTOs), and affected communities who may be utilizing geospatially-derived data to support ground operations in the initial phase of a wind disaster response. The foreword to the guide was written by Dr. Ray Shirkhodai, the Executive Director of the Pacific Disaster Center.