Mobile phone location data for disasters: A review from natural hazards and epidemics

Takahiro Yabe, Nicholas K.W. Jones, P. Suresh C. Rao, Marta C. Gonzalez, Satish V. Ukkusuri

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Rapid urbanization and climate change trends, intertwined with complex interactions of various social, economic, and political factors, have resulted in an increase in the frequency and intensity of disaster events. While regions around the world face urgent demands to prepare for, respond to, and to recover from such disasters, large-scale location data collected from mobile phone devices have opened up novel approaches to tackle these challenges. Mobile phone location data have enabled us to observe, estimate, and model human mobility dynamics at an unprecedented spatio-temporal granularity and scale. The COVID-19 pandemic, in particular, has spurred the use of mobile phone location data for pandemic and disaster management. However, there is a lack of a comprehensive review that synthesizes the last decade of work and case studies leveraging mobile phone location data for response to and recovery from natural hazards and epidemics. We address this gap by summarizing the existing work, and point to promising areas and future challenges for using mobile phone location data to support disaster response and recovery.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number101777
JournalComputers, Environment and Urban Systems
StatePublished - Jun 2022


  • Data for development
  • Disaster risk management
  • Epidemics
  • Mobile phone location data
  • Natural Hazards

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Ecological Modeling
  • General Environmental Science
  • Urban Studies


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