Information Visibility in Humanitarian Operations: Current State-of-the-Art

  • Natalie PrivettEmail author
Part of the International Series in Operations Research & Management Science book series (ISOR)


Humanitarian operations can be greatly improved through increased supply chain visibility, that is, availability of information throughout the supply chain. This is broadly true for all types of humanitarian operations, whether disaster relief, global health efforts, capacity building, or community development. This chapter establishes basic supply chain visibility needs in humanitarian contexts and explores current state-of-the-art technologies and applications employed to address these. Identified visibility needs for humanitarian operations include tracking of location, tracking of inventory levels, temperature monitoring, tracing product information, information sharing, and decision making support. Through review of current state-of-the-art technologies and applications aimed at increasing visibility in humanitarian operations, this chapter demonstrates that they are indeed varied in approach and complexity; while each tackle different needs, no one solution satisfies all. Thus, multifaceted and disjoined efforts must be employed to achieve even low levels of visibility today. This chapter concludes with identification of persisting gaps in current state-of-the-art technologies and applications, which can direct future efforts of researchers, developers and users.


Technology Visibility Cold chain Information Mobile phone projects Satellite technology Tracking Tracing 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public ServiceNew York UniversityNew YorkUSA

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