DevSummit07:Disaster Management and Humanitarian Assistance Tools

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Facilitated by Humaninet

Events like Hurricane Katrina and the Asian Tsunami pointed up the glaring lack of software platforms designed to manage large-scale disaster response. Developers who have implemented tools to support recovery efforts will share their stories, and start by reflecting on whether real need exists for a "Disaster Management System", or such a tool is an unattainable Holy Grail? Alternately, an interoperable set of tools that meet specific needs in disasters or humanitarian emergencies will be considered for both field staff and HQ.

Questions to raised include:

  • But just what types of tools should be in that toolkit?
  • How do you meet both field level and HQ needs?
  • What kinds of trainings are best? How best should support be delivered?
  • What languages are best to develop in to ensure a large developer base but also local knowledge to maintain?
  • What happens after a disaster to the tools developed for and used in that specific instance?
  • What types of Open Source business models/communities of developers are stable enough to support this community?
  • What tools are currently being used but could use attention from developers to improve and expand?

All these questions and more could be and should be discussed at the summit. Any more to add?

Other Links

A similar session from RecentChangesCamp 2007 [link]

Notes from Session

Interests of the Group

Online tools, how are folks utilizing tools in disaster relief.

Volunteer management during a disaster.

High Tech Solutions in Bandwith location deprived locations.

GIS tools in disaster management.

Thinking beyond basic infrastructure/different tools to support disaster management.

Open Source Framework for Emergency Management.


Tech Soup Disaster Planning Toolkit


Humaninet connects people with disaster relief experts. Assembles research teams in needed areas. Practices implementation by doing multi-day

Big Six Criteria are based on solutions that are available to a lot of nonprofits that are easy to use including: adaptability, affordability and feedback from users/practical advice.

During a disaster

Military are realizing they need to communicate with NGOs and others so they are coming up with alternative wireless set up so they can communicate outside of their secure network.

Lack of one command post during a disaster—everyone doing their own thing during a disaster.

Disaster response is much different on the international level versus the United States response.

There are challenges implementing technology solutions not only immediately after a disaster but in the long-term.

Interoperability of tools discussion

API for all newspapers so people can add missing persons information.

Micro format pointing to one specific site that is tracking specific information during a disaster.

Does policy environment support being able to implement the disaster response tools?

Possible Solutions

Emergency NGO in box

Net Hope Suitcases with satellite phones, and other materials needed in the field.

Need to go into nonprofits and provide hands on disaster preparedness trainings.