KDD 2020 Humanitarian Mapping
KDD Humanitarian Mapping Workshop
Humanitarian Mapping
Humanitarian Mapping
Harnessing Data and Human-Machine Intelligence for Actionable Policy Decisions
KDD 2020 Conference Workshop
ACM SIGKDD Conference on Knowledge Discovery and Data Mining
August 24, 2020 | San Diego, California USA
Participation Deadline: May 20, 2020 at 11:59 PM PST
Learn More
Cover Image: Temporary settlement camps for refugees


The KDD Workshop on Humanitarian Mapping brings together a global community of leading researchers and decision-makers from computer scientists, data scientists to epidemiologists, economists, urban policy researchers, computational social scientists, privacy researchers, legal scholars, and humanitarian organizations with a commonly shared priority research agenda.

Our goal is to bridge the gap between theory, practice, technology transfer, and actionable policymaking in humanitarian actions. Together, we aim to advance the knowledge of data-driven humanitarian actions in the preparation, mitigation, response, and recovery phases of disasters. The ongoing crisis of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic exemplifies the criticality of humanitarian mapping, measurement development, and evidence-based causal decision evaluation. There is much to be done and is a substantial opportunity for cross-collaboration.

Data-driven methodologies are an important component in humanitarian mapping, and play a key role in— (1) developing procedures for collecting and validating humanitarian data ; (2) developing novel algorithmic and inference techniques for mapping; (3) addressing privacy, fairness, justice, and historical biases challenges in spatiotemporal data and humanitarian decision making; (4) understanding evacuation and displacement due to disasters; (5) predicting the socio-economic impact of disasters for policymaking and humanitarian logistics; (6) formulating effective governance strategies for mitigating and containing epidemics; (7) delivering insights at scale to humanitarian responders, urban planners, and policymakers. These emergent data-driven endeavors augment humanitarian mapping and generate a comprehensive picture of worldwide population densities, refugee resettlements, disease spreads, contact tracing, social distancing measures, social behavior, infrastructure damages, and urban development.

Despite these promising advancements, there remain important gaps that can be filled by closer collaboration and coordination between research and practitioner communities. For example, while researchers harness massive datasets on human mobility to parametrize accurate models of disease spread and consequently form effective policies and mitigation strategies, a parallel stream of work has identified the substantial privacy, reliability, bias, and historical injustice risks that these datasets can pose. Specifically, data about human mobility is highly sensitive not only at the level of individual trajectories but also when aggregated. How can data holders, policymakers, and researchers from different fields best collaborate to maximize the humanitarian value of such datasets while mitigating risks? The workshop seeks to examine and address questions like these through computational, legal, ethics, and operational lenses.

This is a critical time to convene a broad spectrum of researchers, humanitarian responders, and policymakers working in this space to collectively tackle big challenges. Please join us in enhancing human capacity in harnessing data and human-machine intelligence for actionable policy decisions.

*In light of the COVID-19 outbreak, KDD 2020 conference and the Humanitarian Mapping workshop will be fully virtual. More details..

Co-location patterns to help disease modelers determine how COVID-19 might spread.
Image Source:
Facebook Data for Good
Global Cases Coronavirus COVID-19 Pandemic
JHU Coronavirus Resource Center (May 08, 2020)
Coronavirus COVID-19
PC: CDC, Alissa Eckert, MS; Dan Higgins, MAMS
Lockdown and Stranded Low-income Migrant Workers
PC Bhuvan Bagga/AFP/Getty via Financial Times
Agrarian Crisis and Forced Migrations
PC Dipak Kumar/Reuters via The Guardian

Call for Participation

The KDD Workshop on Humanitarian Mapping solicits research papers, case studies, vision papers, software demos, extended abstracts for published work. We invite a broad community of researchers and practitioners from academia, industry, government, non-profit, and humanitarian policy domains to participate. Fields of interest include but are not limited to, data science, machine learning, epidemiology, public health, economics, urban planning, humanitarian logistics, networks science, remote sensing and geospatial analytics, computational social science, crowdsourcing, ethics, and law. Examples of topics that contributions can address include, but again are not limited to:
  • Machine learning, data mining, computational epidemiology, operations research, and network science methodologies for expediting humanitarian mapping efforts (e.g., COVID-19 crisis, long-or-short-term displacements due to natural disasters, refugee resettlements, etc.) and informing policy decision
  • Privacy-preserving technologies and governance mechanisms for humanitarian mapping and contact tracing
  • Data-driven methods to understand the dynamics of movement, evacuation, and short-and-long-term displacements due to natural disasters
  • Legal and justice issues in humanitarian mapping and disaster response
  • Design and computational methods to detect biases and fairness in humanitarian mapping and crisis datasets
  • Computational methods to understand the socio-economic impact of crisis
  • Data visualization methods and systems for humanitarian mapping
  • Remote Sensing and geospatial analytics methodologies for humanitarian mapping and urban policy decisions
  • Crowdsourcing and human-machine collaboration methods for humanitarian mapping, contact tracing, social distancing data collection and validation
  • Sociotechnical systems and practices for humanitarian data management, validation, and integration
  • Analytics software demonstrations
  • Insights from real-world cases studies, technology deployments, and humanitarian policymaking
  • Emerging data-driven technologies and challenges for crisis management
  • Critics and limitations of the current state of the arts in humanitarian response and vision for the future, including rigorous discussions on the gap between theory and policy practice
Submission Categories
The KDD Workshop on Humanitarian Mapping solicits five kinds of submissions:
  • Research papers (6 pages, without references)
  • Case Studies (4 pages, without references)
  • Vision and Critics papers (2-5 pages, without references)
  • Extended abstracts for Published Work (4 pages, without references)
  • Software Demos (2 pages highlighting the problem, solution, analytical capabilities, and system design choices)
Formatting Requirements
  • The peer review process will be single-blind. The submission should include author names and affiliations.
Submission Templates Important Dates
  • Submission deadline: May 20, 2020 at 11:59 PM Pacific Standard Time
  • Acceptance notification: June 15, 2020
  • Workshop: August 24, 2020
  • Conference: August 23-27, 2020
  • Location: San Diego, California USA
Submission Link
Please submit your paper using the submission site.
For more information contact us here.

Acceptance and Archival Policy
  • Accepted papers will be presented as posters or contributed talks. In light of the COVID-19 outbreak, the chairs have indicated to KDD that we want to retain the flexibility of virtual or in-person contribution.
  • We will highlight accepted papers in the program section of the workshop website. The authors may opt-in for a digital arXiv of the Humanitarian Mapping Workshop once the paper is accepted.

Initiative Leads and Chairs

  • Neil S. Gaikwad (MIT Media Lab, Massachusetts Institute of Technology) Primary contact email: gaikwad[at]mit[dot]edu
  • Shankar Iyer (Core Data Science, Facebook Research)
  • Yu-Ru Lin (Facebook Research and University of Pittsburgh)
  • Dalton Lunga (Oak Ridge National Laboratory)

Steering Committee

Program Committee


The inception of the workshop sparked from conversations between Neil Gaikwad, Carlos Castillo, Shankar Iyer, and Alex Dow in September-October, 2019. The organizers thank the following researchers for their valuable comments, feedback, and support.
  • Alex Dow (Facebook Research)
  • Alex Pompe (Facebook Research)
  • Danielle Wood (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)
  • Carlos Castillo (Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona)
  • Eric Sodomka (Facebook Research)
  • Eugenia Giraudy (Facebook Research)
  • Kelsey Mulcahy (Facebook Research)
  • Paige Maas (Facebook Research)

Stay Tuned!

More information about the workshop is coming soon!
  • Keynote Speakers
  • Panelists
  • Program

Workshop Anti-harassment Policy

The KDD 2020 Humanitarian Mapping Workshop organizers are dedicated to providing a harassment-free conference experience for everyone regardless of gender, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, body size, race, age or religion. We do not tolerate harassment of workshop participants in any form. Sexual language and imagery is not appropriate for any conference venue, including talks. Workshop participants violating these rules may be sanctioned or expelled from the workshop at the discretion of the organizers. If you have any concerns or questions please reach out to the organizers.