Mobile Collaboration for Disaster Response Problems, Methods, and Tools Robert Kirkpatrick Chief Technology Officer
We create free and open-source software for collaboration toward collective action. We then teach other people how to create it for themselves.
Some of the most pertinent questions in disaster response…are collaboration questions
What information isn’t getting to those who need it?
Which groups should be making more decisions together? What field reports and alerts should come faster? Which systems need to share information?
In our opinion, collaboration , in humanitarian action is THE critical task Refugee management Cholera outbreak Katrina response
What ought to happen every time:
Diverse organizations self-organize temporarily into a coherent whole.
Information flows freely, reliably, and securely.
Information flows up, down, and sideways.
Information flows across geographic, cultural, technical, and organizational boundaries
Information shared is timely, accurate, complete, relevant, and credible.
All actors -- including those in the field, in the community, at the edge of the network – maintain a common operating picture.
The response is agile, coordinated, efficient, and effective.
Challenges in crisis collaboration
Harsh field conditions
Slow, unreliable networks
Hot, tired, busy, scared users
Disincentives for cooperation
Slow and inaccurate data collection
Lack of tools for information sharing
Low signal-to-noise ratio
How to include the local community?
The role of collaboration technology
Agencies can’t (or won’t) collaborate effectively in crisis.
Technical obstacles are an easy scapegoat and are frequently used as an excuse for not working together.
Mutual recognition that there is a new class of software that is effective, free, standards-based, easy to use, sustainable, measurable, and flexible…will change the rules of the game.
We’ve built four free and open-source tools as prototypes for improved collaboration in crisis. They fill gaps we identified.
beta evaluation in progress with all four in Southeast Asia
We think this is what collaboration requires… (…and we hope you have already built much of this.)
We work on several principles…
Build only where we must
Internal capacity first
Innovation Lab Phnom Penh
Stung Treng Province, Cambodia: SMS is the only option…
Mesh4X: a data-mesh synchronization platform: bring together tools, services, data, and people in a collaborative network
HTTP and SMS
Hibernate, KML, and JavaRosa
Linking early detection to rapid response: from a faint signal to collective action Merge & Analyze - Collective understanding - Response initiation Immediate analysis & decision support Peer-to-peer information sharing and collaboration Informed collective action Real-time exchange of information
Mesh4X and Forms on Mobile Phones
Collect information in the field
The information on the phone can be linked by Mesh4x and SMS to:
And to anywhere in the world
GeoChat: Emergent Awareness
GeoChat Preview Features
Group chat on a map surface
Via SMS, email, or browser
Int’l gateway +45 60 99 10 321
SMS command interface
Supports location and tags
Public or private chat groups
RSS feed relay over SMS
Example command syntax
Reflections for discussion Mobiles play a critical but partial role in crisis management. Successful mobile collaboration solutions for crisis management will have broad utility in other settings and markets. As with all disaster technology, interoperability trumps features. Pay attention to ease of data access and data integration when shopping. Broad adoption and daily use are key, so look at other scenarios. Issues: anonymity vs. verifiability, authentication, authorization, data retention. Thoughts? Robert Kirkpatrick CTO, InSTEDD http://www.instedd.org +1 650 796 5709 [email_address] Skype: robertkirkpatrick