The Phase Zero Digital Toolbox

Visualizing global security, state instability, climate change, and vulnerability of natural resources


People have been using tools to adapt to the environment since the beginning of humankind. In today’s environment, digital tools — not just tools of stone and metal — are increasingly helping humans adapt.

Today, complex interactions between demographic change, rising standards of living in many parts of the world, new technologies, and changing demands on natural resources are raising the risks to global security and prosperity. Climate change, in particular, means unprecedented shifts in the risk factors for conflict, social unrest, and forced migration. Digital tools can help governments, businesses, and other organizations better understand, anticipate, and plan for today’s dynamic human security environment.

The Phase Zero Digital Toolbox is a curated list of existing digital tools for understanding complex interactions. These data visualization and decision suppo rt tools look at root causes of insecurity, such as: water and food scarcity; the record of humanitarian crises, conflicts, and state instability; and impacts of global climate change. Some make integrated assessments of multiple trends and variables. Some are purpose-built for specific end-users. Many are intended to raise public awareness. Most look at a range of data, everything from satellite imagery to on-the-ground surveys, and represent them as graphs or maps.

The Phase Zero team assembled this toolbox primarily to support our own research. We are sharing our research for two reasons: 1) to showcase the wide range of available digital tools in order to spur cross-pollination of approaches, and 2) to help would-be users of these tools find them. For inclusion, a tool must be free and publicly available, have multinational and ideally global coverage, and be published by a credible organization using documented sources. This is intended to be a sampling, not a comprehensive list of tools, and there were more tools behind firewalls that we were not able to evaluate.

Read the full report at New America...