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Michelle Chang


An Aerial Sensing Map-a-thon in Mongolia

June 24, 2015


Almost 60 percent of the population of the capital city of Mongolia, Ulaanbaatar, lives in “ger” areas – sprawling and mostly unplanned informal settlements on the periphery of the city – and these areas continue to grow as new migrants settle there. Ger area residents commonly lack basic services such as heat, water…


Accurately Mapping Mongolia’s Sprawling Capital With Satellite Imagery

October 15, 2014


Almost 60 percent of the population of Mongolia’s sprawling capital, Ulaanbaatar, lives in informal settlements, known as ger areas. In 1989, 26.8 percent of Mongolia’s population lived in Ulaanbaatar; by 2006 that number had risen to 38.1 percent; and by the 2010 census, 45 percent of Mongolia’s population lived in the capital.


The Power of Open Data in Asia

February 19, 2014


Open Data Day 2014 on February 22 is gearing up to be a momentous global event, not least of all in Asia where over 40 unique hackathons will be held in cities throughout India, Thailand, Indonesia, Taiwan, South Korea, and Japan. These hackathons, or “codefests,” will draw software developers, interface designers, and data scientists together…


Will Indonesia’s Online Youth Shape 2014 Elections?

October 16, 2013


Election season is underway in Indonesia with parliamentary elections scheduled for April, followed by the presidential election in July. While many are concerned that ongoing corruption could mar election outcomes, Indonesians continue to demand accountability and transparency from their elected officials…


Building a Technology Future in Burma/Myanmar

April 3, 2013


Driving from the airport down the gridlocked streets of Yangon – with people of all ages going about their business in patterned longyis – it’s hard not to notice the dozens of billboards jutting out at eye level advertising web services and brand name mobile devices. Though mobile and internet penetration rates are still very low (no higher than four and two percent, respectively, of Burma’s 50 million people), senior leadership in the government, NGOs, and the private sector is increasingly focused on improving the country’s existing technology infrastructure. These collective efforts to loosen censorship laws, extend telecommunications licenses to foreign operators, and develop new legal frameworks for eGovernment and information and communications technology (ICT) are likely to not only ramp up mobile penetration rates, but also bring greater access to information for Burma’s citizens.


Asia Foundation at Google’s Big Tent on Open Data, Disasters

June 27, 2012


On July 2 in Sendai, Japan, nearly a year and a half after the tragic earthquake and tsunami devastated the region, The Asia Foundation will participate with Google on a conference to examine using open data in disaster relief. As the world is seeing stronger effects of climate change and other factors, floods, rising sea levels, tsunamis, and monsoons threaten the lives of millions, this is a timely moment to call attention to natural disaster management across both developed and developing countries.


Bringing Legal Aid to the Poor in Laos

September 28, 2011


During my recent visit to Laos, I couldn’t help but notice the abundance of newspaper headlines proclaiming the country’s economic success stories. Firm phrases such as “World Bank predicts Lao economic growth at 8.6 percent,” “Vietnam & Laos boost rubber cooperation,” and “New Laos airline preparing for takeoff,” stood out at stands…


Mobile Money for the Developing World

September 21, 2011


A rapidly increasing number of people across the globe are now staying connected to one another via a mobile phone device – whether it’s an iPhone, Nokia, or Samsung. In fact, the United Nations reported earlier this year that the worldwide figure for cell phone subscriptions had topped five billion at the end of 2010. According to the International Telecommunication Union, approximately 3.8 billion of these mobile subscriptions were from developing countries…


Cambodia’s Fish and Mekong Dams: Can They Co-Exist?

February 9, 2011


For over one million people, Cambodia’s Tonle Sap Lake is the pulse of life. Southeast Asia’s largest freshwater lake is a natural floodplain reservoir and drains into the Mekong River via the Tonle Sap River. Every year, the lake observes a phenomenal natural occurrence: the Mekong rises and flows into the Tonle Sap, expanding its area over five times…