Get flash to fully experience Pearltrees
We would like to offer our deepest sympathies to all of those affected by the Great East Japan Earthquake. Although the destruction of entire towns over an area stretching for 500 kilometers to the north and south is of an almost unimaginable scale, we believe that this immense devastation can be overcome and we hope that during the process of rebuilding the disaster-affected region, we can also discover a path for the future of Japan and the world.
Yes, it’s sad that I’m blogging a talk three days late. But these were really good presentations, and I wanted to get a record of what Joi and Mohamed both said.
<img src="http://radar.oreilly.com/2011/06/29/0611-safecast.png" width="106" border="0" alt="Safecast" style="float: right;margin: 3px 0 10px 10px" /> Natural disasters and wars bring people together in unanticipated ways, as they use the tools and technologies easily at hand to help. From crisis response to situational awareness, free or low cost online tools are empowering citizens to do more than donate money or blood: now they can donate, time, expertise or, increasingly, act as sensors. In the United States, we saw a leading edge of this phenomenon in the Gulf of Mexico, where open source oil spill reporting provided a prototype for data collection via smartphone. In Japan, an analogous effort has grown and matured in the wake of the nuclear disaster that resulted from a massive earthquake and subsequent tsunami this spring. The story of the RDTN project , which has grown into Safecast , a crowdsourced radiation detection network, isn’t new, exactly, but it’s important.
There has been a surge of enthusiasm and activity around crisis mapping recently, thanks to rapidly expanding access to mobile devices and social media, as well as to some high profile success stories. Crisis maps were used in Haiti, Afghanistan, Libya, Egypt, Kenya, and elsewhere, providing real-time information for everything from disaster relief to political violence and election monitoring. But, as the field matures, how do we turn this information into insight that engages and empowers local communities in conflict prevention and peacebuilding?
A new online application from geospatial mapping giant ESRI applies trend analysis to help responders to Australia’s recent floods create relevance and context from social media reporting. A screenshot of the Australian flood trends map is embedded below: This web app shows how crowdsourced social intelligence provided by Ushahidi enables emergency social data to be integrated into crisis response in a meaningful way.