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[liberationtech] MEDIA: Disaster Relief 2.0 -- Delete if not interested

Yosem Companys ycompanys at
Fri Jan 22 09:44:54 PST 2010

There's also the ongoing Haiti coverage, of course...


Disaster Relief 2.0: Tech Tools Help Focus Haiti Resources

   - By Nathan Hodge
<> [image:
   Email Author]
   - January 20, 2010

[image: 100119-N-5345W-041]<>

During a large-scale humanitarian crisis, information is key. Coordination
among relief agencies is essential, so that efforts are not duplicated and
resources go where they are most needed.
[image: Help Haiti Recover] <>

 *Join **Reddit’s Haiti relief fundraising drive* <>*with
Direct Relief International.*

With collaborative tools, disaster-response teams and relief workers can
identify risk zones and emerging threats more rapidly. Courtesy of a tech
community “SitRep” (situational report) created and shared by Luke Beckman
of the nonprofit group InSTEDD <>, we have some
insight into how humanitarian organizations, aid groups and the military can
tap information to help in the relief effort.

For instance, OpenStreetMap, a free wiki world map, offers an excellent
depiction of the situation on the
as volunteers mark the locations of aid stations, tent camps and working
hospitals. The data is available as web maps, as well as Garmin
images<> for
use in handheld GPS devices. OpenStreetMap
tools<> are
available for download.

As we noted here before, U.S. Southern Command has created a portal for
civil-military coordination <>. In addition, the
military command has a restricted, but unclassified, site for government
agencies involved in the effort; it has also shared imagery from an RQ-4
Global Hawk surveillance

Google is hosting satellite imagery
files<> made
available by GeoEye <>, which agreed to provide the
data, free of charge, for use by relief organizations. The images were
captured by the GeoEye-One satellite one day after the Jan. 12 earthquake.
The files are intended for use by professionals with GIS mapping
but readers interested in viewing the images can use the available Google
Earth Haiti files<>

The Crisis Commons
a great list of resources available, including situation maps, links to
partner organizations on the ground, and contact info for volunteer networks
at home. My favorite tool is provided by Ushahidi, which has set up an
easy-to-use way to report incidents and
Incidents can be reported by sending a text to 4636 (locally), sending an
e-mail to haiti at<>,
or sending a tweet with the hashtags #haiti or #haitiquake

According to the InSTEDD report, an open-source collaboration team is
working with the State Department and a wireless operator to open up access
to a public number (4636) for text messages. The SMS feed can then be routed
to relief agencies that have access, and the goal right now is to get the
word out to the public in Haiti.

On the more retro side: ARRL, the national association for amateur radio,
has encouraged ham radio operators to be aware of the emergency
operations<> on
the following frequencies: 7.045 and 3.720 MHz (IARU Region 2 nets), 14.265,
7.265 and 3.977 MHz (SATERN nets), and 14.300 MHz (Intercontinental
Assistance and Traffic Net). The International Radio Emergency Support
Coalition is also active on EchoLink node 278173. Last week, members
of the Radio
Club Dominicano <> and Union Dominicana
de Radio Aficionados <> crossed over to Haiti to install
an emergency radio communications station and a mobile station. Not long
after they arrived, however, the hams had to turn back to the Dominican
Republic after their convoy was fired

InSTEDD was one of the first projects of, the philanthropic arm
of Google. It was created so public health and relief workers could have
access to the most up-to-the-minute information, including satellite
imagery, sensor data and media reports.

Lin Wells, former Pentagon chief information officer, told Danger Room that
Beckman’s SitRep reflected “exceptional capabilities assembled from
volunteers, from Japan to Sri Lanka to Latin America to Northern Europe, not
to mention in the U.S. and on-the-ground in Haiti.” Just a few years ago,
that kind of information would have be unavailable to government or the
international relief community. But thanks to collaborative efforts like
, Crisis Mappers <> and others, Wells added,
we’re starting to see some results.

The challenge now, Wells said, is to “figure out how to institutionalize the
approach for the long haul in Haiti, ensure these capabilities (and other
prototypes) get fielded rapidly in the next contingency, wherever it may be,
and apply comparable approaches to support stabilization and reconstruction
in Afghanistan, and to other theaters. Lessons learned from Haiti already
are being developed.”

*Photo: U.S. Department of Defense*
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