Global Crisis Camp Day

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Last Saturday I attended the  Global Crisis Camp Day, on its Washington DC chapter. This event is part of the CrisisCommons effort to reach out and establish an enduring network of volunteers and contacts for future crises.

"CrisisCamp is a global network of hybrid barcamp/hackathon events which bring together people and communities who innovate crisis response and global development through technology tools, expertise and problem solving.  Since 2009, CrisisCamp volunteers have created crisis response and learning events in over 10 countries with volunteers of all backgrounds who collaborate in an open environment to aggregate crisis data, develop prototype tools and train people on how to use technology tools and problem solving to aid in crisis response and global development."

I had previously volunteered for the Crisis Camp Haiti and Crisis Camp Chile. I helped them, and I loved it. I learnt from Usahidi and OSM directly from them as they also attended those camps. I proudly mapped a small region of Haiti after the disaster. (Soon afterwards also La Corrada, my hometown.)

My already growing interest in crowd-sourcing and GIS leaped forward a great deal thanks to them. I believe with them I crossed the point of no return. It was the last push that led me to leave research and come here, to The Academies. As a matter of fact, the S&T policy paper I am writing for my Mirzayan Fellowship is about the policy implications and needs to allow these technologies to play an important role in development.

I could not miss this one. In fact I used my participation to better understand what we have, where we stand and where we go. It is painfully clear to me that these technologies ought to be widely understood and implemented around the world where needed. NGO, crisis response, development, capacity building, climate change… There is not only room for them, in many cases is what makes the difference.

For now, here’s the event wiki and some buzz ideas to open your appetite:

  • Tools, not solutions: OSM, Ushahidi, Swiftriver, Sahana, CrisisCommons, RhoK, Apps for Democracy, Apps for development, FrontlineSMS
  • Crowdsourcing and NGOs. Response and resilience.
  • Democratization of technology. Webapps vs texting.
  • Crisis-Response-in-a-box and When-the-media-looks-elsewhere.
  • Openness leads to dependability.  Live-sharing and offline reach.
  • "Data hugging disorder" and the power of results.
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