Tag Archive | Volunteered Technologies

Information and Communication Technology Usage in the 2010 Pakistan Floods

NetHope Case Study: Information and Communication Technology Usage in 2010 Pakistan Floods, Published September 2011

In late summer 2010, the world watched as the people and lands of Pakistan were deluged by monsoon rainfall that triggered widespread flooding. These floods affected more than 20 million people, many of whom could be reached only by aircraft. Flood waters inundated and destroyed much of Pakistan’s vast wheat crop – the nation’s largest homegrown food source — creating a food crisis across Pakistan. Much of this you already know. What you may not know, but certainly can imagine, is the critical role information and communications technology (ICT) played in expediting aid to those in need. …

For full text of the case study report, visit NetHope’s Website or click here.

Crowd-sourced data hold potential for positive change and human rights abuses

Crowd-sourced data hold potential for positive change and human rights abuses

By Robin Lloyd, Scientific American | Feb 18, 2011 01:35 PM |

Social media has scored big successes in helping crowds to gather and communicate online to challenge oppressive regimes in recent weeks, but digital gathering places that are basically public—and the crowd-sourced data they generate—also carry risks. Crowds are forming so rapidly online—the photo-sharing app Instagram reported enrolling one million users in the past six weeks—that many platform managers fail to take full responsibility for protecting the users who post reports online, or for anticipating how the data might be abused by authorities.

For full text, visit Observations: Crowd-sourced data hold potential for positive change and human rights abuses.

NRC Disasters Roundtable: Using Lessons from Haiti and Chile to Reduce Global Risk

National Research Council Disasters Roundtable Workshop 32
Using Lessons from Haiti and Chile to Reduce Global Risk

March 1, 2011
The Venable Conference Center
575 – 7th Street, NW – The Capitol Room
Washington, DC, 20004

In 2010, Haiti and Chile experienced devastating earthquakes. The Haitian earthquake measured about 7.0 on the Richter Scale and led to more than 200,000 deaths, 1.5 million displaced Haitians, and more than $3 billion committed to Haiti’s recovery. The Chilean earthquake measured 8.8 on the Richter Scale, and led to about 500 deaths, 1.8 million affected Chileans, and about $13 million committed to Chile’s recovery. The differences and the similarities between the two earthquakes present researchers, practitioners, the US Government, and the international community with tremendous learning opportunities to reduce global and US domestic risk to natural hazards. The Disasters Roundtable is hosting a workshop, Using Lessons from Haiti and Chile to Reduce Global Risk, to identify, clarify, and find applications for the lessons from the earthquakes in Haiti and Chile. With contributions from Haitians, Chileans, and those from the US Government and international community, the Disasters Roundtable of the National Academies’ workshop aims to illustrate how both the expected and the unexpected outcomes and occurrences in these earthquakes can better prepare the USG and the international community for the next disaster. The workshop will focus on:

  1. the role of pre-existing conditions in the impact, response, and recovery of these earthquake events;
  2. what was learned from the expected and the unexpected outcomes of these earthquakes; and
  3. how to use lessons from Haiti and Chile to reduce disaster risk in the future.

Download the full Meeting Agenda (PDF)

Click here to register to attend the workshop at the Venable Conference Center in Washington, DC

Click here to register to participate in the video webcast of this workshop


URISA’s GISCorps Actively Supporting Two Projects in Caribbean « GIS and Science


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URISA’s GISCorps Actively Supporting Two Projects in Caribbean

In GIS and Science on February 7, 2011 at 12:38 pm

At URISA’s 2010 Caribbean GIS Conference in Trinidad, MapAction volunteers who participated in the on-the-ground response immediately following the devastating Haiti earthquake last year, spoke about the importance of readily available and accurate data in such a response. (Recall that the National GIS Centre in Haiti was destroyed in the earthquake and data was difficult to obtain.) This discussion evolved into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) recently signed between GISCorps and MapAction. The MOU highlighted the mutual interest of the two organizations in providing GIS Assistance to communities affected by disasters throughout the world.

For full text of the article, visit URISA’s GISCorps Actively Supporting Two Projects in Caribbean « GIS and Science.

Satellite to improve Internet access in underserved parts of the world

Buy this satellite?

by Jeff Foust, The Space Review, Monday, February 7, 2011

The last several weeks have demonstrated the power—and the fragility—of the Internet as a tool of social protest and revolution. In Tunisia and, more recently, in Egypt, demonstrators turned to the Internet, particularly social networks like Facebook and Twitter, to coordinate protests and disseminate information in ways not imagined more than a few years ago. Those tools are a way to get around the restrictions of state-run media, but are themselves vulnerable to disruption by the state, as the Egyptian government demonstrated when it effectively cut off Internet access in the country in late January in an effort to hinder the protestors’ ability to organize.

The Egyptian government was able to take that step, if only temporarily, because of the limited terrestrial means of accessing the Internet. But what if there was a way to get around those blockades, an alternate means of access that didn’t rely on terrestrial infrastructure and its potential for disruption? The answer could come from the skies. …

For full text of the article via The Space Review: Buy this satellite?.

Monitoring Conflict with the Satellite Sentinel Project

de Südsudan en Southern Sudan ru Южный Судан

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South Sudan satellite monitoring in near real-time:

About the Satellite Sentinel Project — initiated by George Clooney — combines satellite imagery analysis and field reports with Google’s Map Maker technology to deter the resumption of war between North and South Sudan. The project provides an early warning system to deter mass atrocities by focusing world attention and generating rapid responses on human rights and human security concerns.

This project is the result of an unprecedented collaboration between Not On Our Watch, Google, the Enough Project, the United Nations UNITAR Operational Satellite Applications Programme (UNOSAT), the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative, and Trellon, LLC.

The project works like this: Commercial satellites passing over the border of northern and southern Sudan are able to capture possible threats to civilians, observe the movement of displaced people, detect bombed and razed villages, or note other evidence of pending mass violence.

UNOSAT leads the collection and analysis of the images and collaborates with Google and Trellon to design the web platform for the public to easily access the images and reports. Harvard Humanitarian Initiative provides system-wide research and leads the collection, human rights analysis, and corroboration of on-the-ground reports that contextualizes the satellite imagery. The Enough Project contributes field reports, provides policy analysis, and, together with Not On Our Watch, puts pressure on policymakers by urging the public to act.

The Satellite Sentinel Project marks the first sustained, public effort to systematically monitor and report on potential hotspots and threats to security along a border, in near real-time (within 24-36 hours), with the aim of heading off humanitarian disaster and human rights crimes before they occur.

The Satellite Sentinel Project Website: http://www.satsentinel.org/

Some things to consider:

  • Protecting Indigenous People’s Privacy from Eyes in the Sky by Wayne Madsen (1994) “… The United States, as one of the two most advanced remote sensing nations in the world, bears a special responsibility to prevent remote sensing data from being used for purposes of exploitation and violations of human rights. The other major remote sensing nation is France. It, too, has demonstrated a willingness to permit the abuse of remote sensing data as it affects indigenous peoples. In 1994, France announced that it had captured the international terrorist “Carlos the Jackal” in Khartoum, Sudan. This feat ironically involved the trading of French imagery intelligence to the Sudanese, a trade which ultimately resulted in more Sudanese “state terrorism” against the black African minority in the south of the country. The southern Sudanese believed that the north wanted to drain their swamps by building the Jonglei Canal which would increase the flow of water through the White Nile. One southern Sudanese, Dr. John Garang, wrote his doctoral thesis on the negative environmental impact of the Jonglei Canal. In 1985 the southern Sudanese revolted against the north and demanded independence (Moszynski, July 1, 1994, 25). The Sudanese wanted an end to the revolt. They agreed to hand over Carlos to the French in return for high-grade French SPOT imagery photographs of the positions of southern Sudan guerilla forces. Using the satellite imagery provided by the French and analyzed by Iraqi imagery analysts, the Sudanese launched a massive ground and air offensive against the southerners including a faction led by Dr. John Garang, native environmentalist turned leader of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA). British MP Tony Worthington was one of a few Western politicians who expressed his outrage, saying “Obviously we can understand that the French were keen to capture Carlos, but does it have to be at the expense of the Sudanese people who have been brutally murdered by the appalling regime in Khartoum whom the French have assisted by providing military intelligence to help the slaughter?” (Moszynski, Oct. 1994, 32). …”


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