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Australian Civil-Military Centre Communication and Complex Emergencies Project (Phase 2)

Building on the Phase 1 outputs, which were successfully disseminated to a wide range of stakeholders, Phase 2 of the ACMC Communication and Complex Emergencies Project will focus down on a range of new ICTs. Outputs will take the form of short practice-based rapid guides (8-10 pages in length) that identify key ‘dos and don’ts’. These will provide concise, accessible and practical guidance on utilising new ICTs during complex emergencies. The guidance will identify strengths and weaknesses and the limitations of the technology.


(1) Wikis and Knowledge Management in Complex Emergencies: a Rapid Guide - use of wikis and other collaborative knowledge sharing/generation tools have become commonplace during emergencies and enhance the situational awareness of emergency personnel and reduce duplication in terms of knowledge generation.

(2) Short Messaging in Complex Emergencies: A Rapid Guide - the wide availability of mobile phones makes SMS and ‘apps’ important channels for sending alerts about impending emergencies or of key risks associated with the post-emergency period. Users closely observe mobile phones during periods of crisis, though ensuring reliability of infrastructure during emergencies is paramount. Emergency ‘apps’ are also widely used know to enhance disaster preparedness and response.

(3) Social Media in Complex Emergencies: a Rapid Guide - social media has become a mainstay of emergency responses and crisis situations in recent years. Social media are useful for dispelling rumours, providing up-to-the-minute information on an evolving crisis and for gathering data resulting from engaging in a dialogue with affected communities. Moderation of social media is critical and poor moderation can lead to misinformation reaching the public.

(4) Crowdsourcing and Crisis-Mapping in Complex Emergencies: a Rapid Guide - information drawn from disaster affected communities, or ‘the crowd’, can enhance the humanitarian response and increase situational awareness. Data may be received from volunteers utilizing ‘apps’ in disaster-affected areas or directly from those affected through SMS messaging or social media. Crowdsourced data is often used to create crisis maps, which provide real-time mapping of emergencies as they evolve and which, help to focus the emergency response.

(5) Complex Emergencies in a Digital World: a Rapid Guide - this paper collates material on wikis and knowledge management, SMS, social media and crowdsourcing/crisis mapping into a usable guide designed to inform humanitarian organisations and practitioners.

Applied Communication Collaborative Research Unit



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