Using theory to design data systems for community disaster resilience

My now former masters student, Jonny, just posted his thesis titled “Investigating Effective Methods for Aggregating, Organizing, Storing, Managing, and Disseminating Community Resilience Data.” The title is a bit of a mouthful (a former boss of mine once told me that the shorter the title, the more impactful the paper). However, I think it represents a leap forward for disaster resilience and data systems. In the last few years, I’ve been to at least three workshops with the purpose of deciding whether data systems are needed to store and manage data for understanding the pre- and post-disaster resilience of cities. Jonny and I got started about that time and took a different approach than what I saw at the workshops: list out what indicators are important and then what data is available to store. In other words, they took a data or indicator driven approach, rather than a theory driven approach. Jonny took the theoretical framework, called WISC, that I describe throughout ResilScience (most thoroughly here) and used it to inform the design of a new data systems for community disaster resilience. He came up with the name WISCkey. The search interface to WISCkey is the featured image for this post. Don’t worry, when we publicly launch WISCkey, Jonny will have come up with a logo that is more appropriate than a whiskey bottle! (Hey, a grad student has to make thesis work fun somehow.) You can read more about WISCkey in his thesis linked below.