by Jennifer Chan, US News and World Report, Op-Eds, November 23, 2012
Dr. Jennifer Chan, a Public Voices fellow at the OpEd Project, is the director of Global Emergency Medicine in the Department of Emergency Medicine at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine and an associate faculty member of the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative.
In the wake of Sandy’s destruction, digital volunteers mobilized again. From their homes and offices, using iPads and laptops, hundreds of volunteers crowd-sourced information and took on microtasks to help FEMA and other agencies process large swaths of information and speed humanitarian response.
For instance, in the first 48 hours after the hurricane, 381 aerial photos collected by the Civil Air Patrol were viewed by hundreds of volunteers, with the goal of quickly giving an overview of the extent of storm and flood damage. This project was called the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap MapMill project. In response to a request from FEMA, project developer Schuyler Erle volunteered to launch and lead the project. By mid-afternoon November 2nd, more than 3,000 volunteers had assessed 5,131 images, viewing them more than 12,000 times. Just a week later, more than 24,000 images had been assessed. Each view from a digital volunteer—a mother, a researcher, a friend, a colleague—helped FEMA determine the degree of damage along the eastern seaboard, assessing the condition of buildings, roads, and houses, with the aim of helping the agency in its post-disaster recovery and planning. That’s an amazing effort.
But did it actually help?
For full text of the op-ed, visit How To Make Crowdsourcing Disaster Relief Work Better – US News and World Report.
- How To Make Crowdsourcing Disaster Relief Work Better (usnews.com)
- Crowdsourcing the Evaluation of Post-Sandy Building Damage Using Aerial Imagery (irevolution.net)
Crowdsourcing and Collaborative Tools in Virtual Online Disaster Relief Scenarios | Armed with Science
by Dr. Linton Wells II and Khalil Ali, Armed with Science, April 20, 2011
Last month, TIDES (Transformative Innovation for Development and Emergency Support) participated in Exercise 24 Europe (X24EUR), a virtual online disaster relief scenario that leveraged social media, crowdsourcing, and collaborative tools in an innovative cloud computing environment. The event took place from March 29th-March 31st and was co-lead by San Diego State University’s Immersive Visualization Center and the United States European Command, and supported by an array of public/private organizations.
for full text of the article via Crowdsourcing and Collaborative Tools in Virtual Online Disaster Relief Scenarios | Armed with Science.
- Disaster Relief: Crowdsourced Maps Impact The Future Of Humanitarian Aid (huffingtonpost.com)
From Libya to Japan, a Web-reporting platform called Ushahidi has helped human rights workers and others document and make sense of fast-moving crises. The platform allows reports from cell phones and Web-connected devices to be collected and displayed on Web-based maps. Now Ushahidi is adding a concept borrowed from location-based social networking, as well as layers of private access—functionality that could make the service more efficient and useful in politically charged circumstances. …
For full text of the article, visit Crisis Mapping Meets Check-in – Technology Review.
- Crisis Mapping Meets Check-in (technologyreview.com)
- Using the New Ushahidi Platform to Crisis Map Libya (ushahidi.com)
- Internet Activists Mobilize for Japan (technologyreview.in)
- Ushahidi’s Open Source Platform Lowers Barriers & Accelerates Storytelling (downtheavenue.com)
- Crisis-Mapping Platform Ushahidi Announces Crowdmap:CI, “Check-ins With a Purpose” (readwriteweb.com)
- Wrapping up Phase 1 of the Ushahidi-Kenya Evaluation (ushahidi.com)
- Announcing the Ushahidi Manual (ushahidi.com)
By Steve Lohr, NYT, March 28, 2011
…a new report says that the potential of online mapping to transform humanitarian services will not be realized without better coordination and communication between digital volunteers and veteran agencies in the relief field, like the United Nations and the Red Cross. The report, “Disaster Relief 2.0: The Future of Information Sharing in Humanitarian Emergencies,” is a collaboration of four groups — the United Nations Foundation, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, the Vodafone Foundation and the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative. It will be presented Monday at an international aid and development meeting in Dubai.
For full text of the article, visit In Relief Work, Online Mapping Yet to Attain Full Potential – NYTimes.com.
- How Mapping, SMS Platforms Saved Lives in Haiti Earthquake (pbs.org)
- Aid Organizations Hold Back on Japan (online.wsj.com)