Tag Archive | SMEM

Responding to Liability: Evaluating and Reducing Tort Liability for Digital Volunteers

Responding to Liability: Evaluating and Reducing Tort Liability for Digital Volunteers

By Edward Robson, Esq.

Major emergencies and crises can overwhelm local resources. In the last several years, self-organized digital volunteers have begun leveraging the power of social media and “crowd-mapping” for collaborative crisis response. Rather than mobilizing a physical response, these digital volunteer groups have responded virtually by creating software applications, monitoring social networks, aggregating data, and creating “crowdsourced” maps to assist both survivors and the formal response community. These virtual responses can subject digital volunteers to tort liability. This report evaluates the precise contours of potential liability for digital volunteers. Published by the Commons Lab of the Science and Technology Innovation Program of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, September 2012.

To download a PDF of the free report, visit the Commons Lab Scribd webpage here.

To read a follow up blog post by the author, visit the Commons Lab Blog “Calling for Backup – Indemnification for Digital Volunteers (November 7, 2012)”

To watch a video of the author discussing liability for digital volunteers, visit the Commons Lab YouTube webpage here.

How To Make Crowdsourcing Disaster Relief Work Better

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.

 

Pakistan Ministry of Defense to Outlaw Civil Mapping

Pakistanis lost without maps

by Murtaza Haider, Dawn.com/DesPardes, November 21, 2012

The Ministry of Defence is about to declare mapping illegal in Pakistan. The federal cabinet, Pakistan’s foremost civilian authority, is willingly giving up a civic task to agencies that report to Pakistan’s Armed Forces.The proposed Land Surveying and Mapping Bill 2012 will entrust all mapping responsibilities in Pakistan to the Survey of Pakistan SoP, which supposedly reports to the Ministry of Defence MoD, but effectively takes its orders and cues from the General Head Quarters. Consider that the Surveyor General of Pakistan is often a serving or retired General, who leads the organisation that is not open to scrutiny by the civilian authorities.

For full text of this article, please visit Pakistanis lost without maps | DAWN.COM.

Nov 30: Brown Bag: International Charter on Space and Natural Disasters

Joanne Irene Gabrynowicz, Director, National Center for Remote Sensing, Air and Space Law, University of Mississippi School of Law and Research Professor of Law, will discuss the Charter on Cooperation to Achieve the Coordinated Use of Space Facilities in the Event of Natural or Technological Disasters (Disasters Charter), which provides for the voluntary sharing of satellite imagery in the event of major disasters. Prof. Gabrynowicz will address the contents, structure, and status of the Charter, and highlight its strengths and weakness with a focus on how it could develop in the future. She also will discuss data access and sharing ideas.

Commons Lab Webcast: Connecting Grassroots to Government for Disaster Management

On behalf of the Commons Lab of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, the National Alliance for Public Safety GIS Foundation, the International Association for Information Systems for Crisis Response and Management, ESRI, TechChange, NetHope, and Project EPIC, we are honored to invite you to participate in a LIVE WEBCAST of the policy roundtable “Connecting Grassroots to Government for Disaster Management.” This roundtable will focus on US federal government’s opportunities and challenges for facilitating greater public engagement in the full-cycle of disaster management through social media, crowdsourcing methods, crisis mapping, and open innovation.

Webcast

The workshop itself is now full, but we will be making the majority of the panel discussions available via a LIVE WEBCAST from the Wilson Center webpages (links below):
Click on these links above to watch the live webcasts and to download copies of the agenda and background materials (to be posted Monday, September 10).

NOAA Awards Grants for Social Media and Weather Warnings Research

Posted by Bryan Painter on the Oklahoma Weather Blog, August 27, 2012

Press Release From the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration:

How do people sift important weather information out of the incessant buzz of 24/7 social media, text messages, smart phone app alerts, overflowing email inboxes, the blogosphere, and traditional print and broadcast media? Four new research awards funded by NOAA seek to answer this question and to improve the way potentially life-saving weather warnings reach those who need to act on them. The awards, totaling about $879,000 for four, two-year projects, are being awarded by the Office of Weather and Air Quality in the NOAA Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research with funding from the U.S. Weather Research Program and the NOAA National Weather Service. “These projects apply innovative social science research methods to the immense challenge of communicating crucial weather information in an increasingly complex world,” said Kathryn Sullivan, Ph.D., assistant secretary of commerce for environmental observation and prediction and NOAA deputy administrator. “The results are expected to improve communication within the weather community and motivate appropriate responses from the public when dangerous weather threatens.”

University and nonprofit social science and weather researchers will lead the projects, which support the NOAA Weather-Ready Nation initiative. NOAA experts from the Storm Prediction Center, National Severe Storms Laboratory, weather forecast offices, and river forecast centers will collaborate on them. Award recipients include the Cooperative Institute for Mesoscale Meteorological Studies, the University of Oklahoma, Arizona State University, East Carolina University, the University of North Carolina, and the Nurture Nature Center in Easton, Penn.

Read More…

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