Databases can help solve real problems. In this article by Hayley Munguia, we learn how data is used to help save an Hawaiian community at risk from lava flows.
Lava has been flowing from Hawaii’s Kilauea Volcano toward the village of Pahoa (in the district of Puna on the Big Island) for months, but it’s avoided threatening any population centers until now. Authorities have recommended residents evacuate by Tuesday. But a lot of factors play into the decision of whether to stay or to leave, and so one researcher at the University of Hawaii at Hilo, Mark Kimura, decided to try to help inform residents — and represent their interests — with data visualizations. I spoke with him Monday evening. The following interview has been lightly edited for brevity and clarity.
Data can be a powerful tool to help solve real problems, if we only take the time to reveal the information in a meaningful way.