Innovations in Mobile Data Collection for Social Action

Posted by KatrinVerclas on Dec 07, 2009

We will be blogging and twittering this week from a workshop we are co-hosting on Innovations in Mobile Data Collection for Social Action in Amman, Jordan.

Co-hosted by UNICEF’s country office in Iraq, UNICEF Innovation, and, this three-day gathering is bringing invited experts from around the world together to explore some of the key issues related to using mobiles for data collection and analysis of some of the toughest social issues.

Why are we hosting this event?

With the ubiquity of mobile technology, data collection and monitoring of key indicators from the ground up by affected populations is now possible. Mobile technology in the hands of people can now be more than a person-to-person communication medium but can be used for capturing, classifying and transmitting image, audio, location and other data, interactively or autonomously.

By involving people in defining and participating in their own data collection, this approach can address significant unmet challenges in large-scale data collection for public health and citizen participation.

In this three-day workshop, we will explore the critical issues, technologies, and architectures involved in collecting and utilizing data-from-below, bringing together the key technology and research leaders on distributed data collection and distribution in the Middle East.

What are our goals?

  • An exploration of key issues in citizen-driven data collection in the Middle East.  These include technologies, systems, architecture, tools, standards, and people, among others.
  • Kick-start a regional working group / community around open-source data collection, aggregation and visualization using mobile technology
  • Map the landscape in the Middle East of applications/technologies, developers, and key thought leaders around real-time distributed data collection, monitoring, and visualization using mobile technology?
  • Help UNICEF build a roster of potential partners, possible vendors, academic institutions of interest, and groups or individuals to advance UNICEF regional goals.
  • Prototype new products or improvements of existing products about distributed data collection.
  • Please note that the workshop will be held primarily in English (with some Arabic sessions).

The impetus for the workshop is UNICEF’s national-scale project in Iraq collecting data from various populations about key indicators and use that data to effect policy and programmatic changes that can improve the lives of children.

As part of this work,, a global community of people using mobile technology for social impact, and UNICEF partnered to explore, with key leaders in the Middle East, critical issues on large-scale, citizen-driven and bottom-up data collection.

How can you participate?

We have set up an aggregator at with the eventwiki, blogs, videos, etc to follow and remotely participate through social media. We will be posting there regularly and you can comment there as well as here and follow along in the proceedings.  You can also participate remotely on Tuesday, December 8th, at 12 noon Jordanian time (GMT +2) for the Ignite Talks of projects, ideas, and needs.  For instructions on how to log in to the remote channel, please go here!



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