CogniCity OSS is a free and open source software for community-led disaster response and recovery in highly dense urban environments. Designed, tested, and operationally deployed in Southeast Asia’s monsoon flooding, the system uses a novel humanitarian chatbot model to crowdsource disaster information through social media channels and then gathers, sorts, and displays these solicited reports in real-time on a web-based, mobile-centric map. The system operates as critical urban infrastructure that enables robust, reliable information sharing and communication among residents, government agencies, and first responders.
Following successful city-scale deployments, CogniCity.Info was expanded to the national scale in Indonesia and developed for additional hazards including volcanoes, earthquakes, typhoons, fires, and severe weather. It was also piloted in Metro Manila and then deployed for all hazards at the national scale in the Philippines. Other test instances are currently being developed in Vietnam, Hong Kong, and India. As a crowdsourcing system that goes far beyond passive data mining, CogniCity.Info is a proven, enterprise-level software for soliciting disaster information and displaying heterogeneous data in an accessible format, as well as durable infrastructure for climate change adaptation.


CogniCity.Info listens to social media for any posts about disasters, effectively converting these platforms into a public information gathering system. Once a keyword is detected, it programmatically invites users to share more detailed reports. The system organizes and displays this information on a free digital map in real-time for residents and first responders. It also automatically integrates information from various government agencies, including infrastructure performance data and official disaster updates, to create a comprehensive map of impact, need, response, and recovery.

Information is the most important resource in a disaster. However, decision-support tools are typically available to only a small group of individuals within municipal, national, or international agencies. CogniCity.Info has revolutionized disaster preparedness, response, and recovery by democratizing decision-support infrastructure and making it freely available for all residents. When disaster professionals and urban residents work together, and when residential knowledge about local conditions is integrated into disaster response efforts, communities can convert the noise of social media into life-saving humanitarian infrastructure.

The vast majority of people in Southeast Asia access the internet through their internet-connected mobile devices; in fact, although the region has a population of 650 million, those residents own over 750 million smartphones, making it one of the most densely populated and well connected areas on the planet. CogniCity.Info is built for mobile users and its design optimizes the affordances of mobile-centric information access and sharing.