The news that peatland fire and haze hotspots are already being detected across Indonesia suggests that now is a good time to step up response efforts. With this in mind UN Global Pulse is developing a haze crisis analysis and visualisation tool for disaster management authorities. The project is linked to Sustainable Development Goal 3: Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages, and Sustainable Development Goal 15: Sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, halt and reverse land degradation, halt biodiversity loss.
Forest and peatland fires in Indonesia continue to affect many parts of Southeast Asia on what is now an annual basis, resulting in extensive environmental destruction, increasing health problems, school closures and cancelled transportation services.
At present, Indonesian disaster management authorities manage peatland fires and haze based on hotspot data from satellites as well as static data on population density and distribution. But to support affected populations better, the Government is looking for more timely data and more information on the dynamics of the disaster, especially the situation on the ground.
Enhanced Disaster Management
Based on previous feasibility studies on understanding haze crisis dynamics, Pulse Lab Jakarta has developed ‘Haze Gazer’, a crisis analysis and visualisation tool. The platform enhances disaster management efforts by providing real-time insights on the:
- Locations of fire and haze hotspots;
- Strength of haze in population centres;
- Locations of the most vulnerable cohorts of the population; and most importantly,
- Response strategies of affected populations, including movement patterns and in-situ behavioural changes.
For easy adoption, the dashboard integrates the existing functionalities of the current information system used by the Indonesian disaster management authorities, namely insights on the locations of hotspots, and adds new functions and insights based on multiple digital data sources.
Haze Gazer uses advanced data analytics and data science to mine open data, such as fire hotspot information from satellites and baseline information on population density and distribution, as well as citizen-generated data, including the national complaint system in Indonesia called LAPOR!, citizen journalism video uploads to an online news channel, and real-time big data such as text-, image- and video-oriented social media.
The dashboard will be tested and improved based on feedback from disaster management practitioners. It enables Indonesia’s local (BPBD) and national (BNPB) disaster management authorities to target their interventions and to align their efforts with those of affected populations. This targeted and timely approach by national and local disaster management authorities hopes to increase community resilience.
Alongside the testing and improvement of the tool, Pulse Lab Jakarta will continue to search for alternative digital data sources that can be analysed for greater insights into haze crises.
The tool itself has four areas for potential growth and expansion. First, because haze affects many countries in Southeast Asia, the platform has the potential to be scaled up to a regional tool to inform haze-related humanitarian efforts and to improve regional resilience. Second, it can improve in terms of insights, based on the integration of richer data sources, such as data from sensors.
Third, if Indonesian disaster management authorities agree to publish their operational practices, the platform will capture insights on both operational potential and real-world haze crisis dynamics. Finally, the underlying mechanism of Haze Gazer, that is, to collect and mine new digital sources and visualize the insights generated, can be applied to other types of disasters and humanitarian actions.
Pulse Lab Jakarta is grateful for the generous support of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade of the Government of Australia.