Jacopo Margutti has a PhD in Physics and joined us as a volunteer. He is now working as a Data Scientist at 510.
How did you hear about 510?
It all started in a rather unremarkable way: a Facebook suggestion of a public event at the Humanity Hub in The Hague, which I decided to attend. There was a discussion about the usage of data to improve the effectiveness of humanitarian aid. There, I got to know 510 and some of its team members, who made quite an impression on me. Shortly after, I was in!
What project are you currently working on?
I am currently working on a project aimed at mapping local Red Cross branches scattered around the world, of which, unfortunately, there is no comprehensive database yet. We want to do this by automatically extracting information from various websites and social media, i.e. doing what is usually called web scraping. In a previous project, which is quite similar, we were using the same technique to get information on past floods from online newspapers.
510’s purpose is ‘Improve speed, quality and cost-effectiveness of humanitarian aid by using data & digital.’ How are your skills helping 510 reach its purpose?
Through web scraping, language processing and machine learning, one can collect, aggregate and interpret lots of real-time data on ongoing disasters, and quickly provide them to humanitarian relief workers. I have some experience in this regard – was trained as a physicist, in which I earned a PhD, and now work as data scientist – and can help turning this idea into reality.
I see 510 being driven by what I value the most: purpose and knowledge. I hope I’ll have the chance to put my skills into good use and to learn much along the way.