The United Nations combines human-centered design and open data to revolutionize disaster relief and save lives

frog and the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN OCHA) developed the Humanitarian Data Exchange (HDX), a platform that enables workers from the UN, NGOs, government and universities to radically improve data sharing during extreme situations.

"It's not impossible to think that HDX could one day become a social data exchange for the aid sector rather than be limited to humanitarian data."

Sarah Telford, Senior Programme Officer, UN OCHA

Mission Critical Communication

Visualizations and crisis pages devoted to specific issues give aid workers and the public access to critical facts and figures. Organizations can create their own pages and register field workers, creating much-needed transparency for data on humanitarian crises.

Opening Up Data

HDX provides UN OCHA with a standardized way for aid workers to share vital data on casualties, damage assessments, and infrastructure. Data standards developed by UN OCHA make the platform scalable and easy to use, meaning humanitarians can both upload new data and interpret existing information in HDX.

Intuitive Visual Language

Crisis responders have little time to familiarize themselves with complex tools, particularly while handling challenging situations. HDX is designed to be simple and engaging, so it can be easily adopted and deployed.

key milestones

3 Weeks

frog conducted design research in Kenya and Colombia to understand information management needs in the field.

July 2014

HDX launched, and was immediately put to the test during the Ebola crisis.

April 2015

HDX was used to respond to the Nepal earthquake. In the months immediately following the earthquake, the top dataset downloaded was “official figures for casualties and damage.”

Since its inception in July 2014, HDX has engaged over 100,000 unique users from over 200 locations around the world. Data is being shared by over 160 organizations, including large UN agencies, NGOs and governments. HDX is already an essential tool for the Red Cross and journalists reporting from the field, and frog is working with UN OCHA to continue expanding and improving the platform.

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