Madeeha Yasin Merchant is an architect and systems engineer whose research investigates new frameworks of information architecture that embed design intelligence and computational tools from across a range of disciplines, mainly Architecture, Urbanism, Engineering, Journalism, Data Science and Human Rights. She received a Masters in Architecture from GSAPP, Columbia University in May 2014, where she was awarded the Honor Award for Excellence in Design and the William Kinne Travel Fellowship Award for her project ‘Right to Return’. While an M.Arch candidate, she worked as a Computation Assistant for the Laboratory of Advance Building Science developing tensegrity structures, a Research Assistant at the Spatial Information Design Lab where she worked on the design proposal for the Synapse, an urban layer for the Mind Brain Behavior Institute at Jerome Science Center and served as a Board Member on the Columbia University Data Science Society. She holds a Bachelors in Computer Systems Engineering with specialization in Mathematics from the University of Massachusetts – Amherst and has worked on pilot projects for Intel. Currently, Madeeha is a Research Associate at the Spatial Information Design Lab, at Columbia University, working on developing conflict analysis tools and platforms, as a Project Lead for Conflict Urbanism: The Aleppo Project and CAT: Conflict Analysis Toolbox. She also continues on the Synapse Design Team, as a Design Associate, working at the intersection of architecture, communication, neuroscience and data visualization. Her work has been published in Volume, Domus, Wired, GSAPP- Abstract and the IEEE Journal.
Conflict Analysis Toolbox aims to simplify satellite data collection and interpretation, allowing journalists, urbanists, humanitarian agencies and others to mine valuable information from satellite imagery during urban conflicts or natural disasters. Funded by the Knight Prototype Fund Grant in Jan 2015, CAT is being developed at the Spatial Information Design Lab. CAT operates within a journalist’s workflow, as an investigation driver rather than a data analyzer. CAT in Context will be user centered, focusing on testing these tools and frameworks through case studies and working along side field practitioners and journalists. During this phase, we hope to educate users about the multiple applications of these tools and how they can incorporate the open source tools, into their existing workflows.