Prutsalis WCDM Narrative


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Prutsalis WCDM Narrative

  1. 1. Making Chaos Manageable nd Address to the 22 World Conference on Disaster Management by Mark Prutsalis, President & CEO Sahana Software Foundation Toronto, Canada June 25, 2012 For slides see 1 – TITLE SLIDEGood Morning. My name is Mark Prutsalis and I am President & CEO of the Sahana Software Foundation – anon-profit organization that develops free and open source disaster management systems for use by governmentagencies and humanitarian organizations. It is an honor to be here today to address the World Conference onDisaster Management. The timing could not be better with the theme of this year’s conference being “DoingMore With Less” – which is something we have been doing for a long time.SLIDE 2 – AGENDAToday, after introducing myself and my organization, I would like to speak to you about some troubling disastertrends but also the opportunities which this affords you to implement solutions using humanitarian free andopens source software like Sahana. I had planned to simply present to you four case studies on how variousgovernment agencies and humanitarian organizations have successfully implemented such systems, but inpreparing for this event, I realized that I needed to also discuss what I call the New Information Environmentthat has arisen in our field since the Haiti earthquake of January 2010.SLIDE 3 – SAHANA SOFTWARE FOUNDATIONBy way of introducing myself, I have over 20 years experience in the field of emergency and disastermanagement. I began my career in the early 90s, working for a refugee relief agency, and later for several UNagencies, including UNHCR and UNICEF, the US Department of Defense, and in the private sector. I haveresponded to dozens of major international and man made disasters on every continent but Antarctica. I becameinvolved with helping to start Sahana in Sri Lanka while responding to the Indian Ocean Earthquake andTsunami in 2004, and established the Sahana Software Foundation as an independent charity in 2009.The Sahana Software Foundation has as its mission saving lives through providing information managementsolutions that enable organizations and communities to better prepare for and respond to disasters. We do thisby developing free and open source software that addresses the concrete problems that organizations face intrying to respond to disasters.SLIDE 4 – HISTORIC TRIGGERThe historic trigger for Sahana as mentioned was the 2004 Indian Ocean Earthquake & Tsunami that left almosta quarter of a million dead, about 5 million homeless, and caused at least $7.5 billion in damage to countriesthroughout the region.SLIDE 5 – SAHANA FIRST DEPLOYEDPrutsalis WCDM Address 1/14 June 25, 2012
  2. 2. Sahana began as an effort on the part of Sri Lanka’s IT industry to assist their country to recover from thetsunami. The basic capabilities of Sahana developed for the Center of National Operations in Sri Lanka,responsible for coordinating the government’s recovery efforts, are still the core of Sahana software’scapabilities today - tracking organizations and where they are operating and what services they are providing, ashelter registry for tracking the location and population and needs of those in temporary shelters, a missing andfound persons registry, and a simple means of tracking and matching requests for aid with pledges of assistance.This is the core of what Sahana software can do today – I call it tracking nouns (people, places and things),handling requests for information and requests for assistance, and being able to generate maps and reportS outof this data for decision makers.SLIDE 6 – DISASTER TRENDSThese types of capabilities are very much in demand today in part because of the following disaster trends.When you combine the projected growth of the world’s urban population growthWith the fact that this urbanization is occurring in places that are vulnerable to earthquakes, or are located onriver deltas or on coastlines that are vulnerable to flooding.There is clearly a growing vulnerability to an increased incidence of costly disasters.It is estimated by the United Nations, World Bank and OECD that by 2050, the urban population exposed totropical cyclones or earthquakes will more than double, rising to 16% of the world’s population; that by 2070,seven of the ten greatest urban concentrations of economic assets that are exposed to coastal flooding will be inthe developing world and that the assets exposed to flooding will rise to 9% of the World’s GDP.These are stunning figures and we already saw a precursor to such impacts last year with the Tohoku earthquakeand tsunami on the global auto parts and semiconductor industry that had a measurable global economic impact.So Global Annual Disaster Spending is projected to triple to $185 billion per year during this century.Booz and Company project that Spending on urban infrastructure will approach $350 trillion dollars over thenext 30 years.five of the ten costliest disasters in history have occurred in the past five years, with 2011 being the costliestyear ever.But what is really stunning is that despite these trends, only 20% of aid is spent responding to disasters with lessthan 1% on mitigation.So I would challenge you to rethink whether we are truly living in an era where we must do more with less.Shouldn’t we have more, after all? I think that is part of the challenge we should think about this week.SLIDE 7 – DISASTER ARE A GROWTH INDUSTRYDisasters are clearly a growth industry.I see this clearly as both as an opportunity and a responsibility that we have to ensure that communities arePrutsalis WCDM Address 2/14 June 25, 2012
  3. 3. prepared and resilient.SLIDE 8 – WHAT IS A DISASTERThe next few slides should be fairly self-explanatory and well-known to most of this audience, but I like toinclude them because they lay the groundwork for some important concepts that have gone into our work. Andalso because we dont always use the same language when we are talking about disasters.A disaster – to me and in the context of this talk – is – by these definitions – an event that exceeds the ability ofthe affected society to cope, and on a scale that cannot be dealt with by local authorities and its emergencyservices using its own resources.SLIDE 9 – AFTERMATH OF DISASTERSIn the aftermath of disasters, those responsible have to deal with not only the trauma affecting the survivors andthose seeking to provide them with aid, but also the challenges of coordinating all of the aid groups, managingall of the requests for information or assistance that are being made, and tracking the location of shelters,warehouses, hospitals and medical facilities and other important places.SLIDE 10 – TASKS FACING RESPONDERSInformation is needed to support decision-making around the tasks facing responders that are critical to savinglives, from search and rescue operations, evacuation and sheltering, aid and donations management, the tracingof missing persons, trauma counseling, protection of the population and the restoration of utilities and otheressential services.SLIDE 11 – HOW CAN TECHNOLOGY HELPThis is where technology can help – by providing scalable, efficient and automatic processing of large amountsof information and presenting it to decision-making in a form that provides real-time situational awareness.SLIDE 12 – HUMANITARIAN FREE & OPEN SOURCE SOFTWAREHumanitarian Free and Open Source Software like Sahana is such a system, and in a few minutes, I’ll show yousome examples of how we’ve worked to address these challenges with some of our partners.But I want to make sure that you understand what I mean by free and open source software. Basically, free andopen source software means that the code is available for anyone to use and modify without restriction. But thatdoes not mean that there are no costs involved, they are just Different than in traditional COTS and proprietarysoftware models. While you do not pay anything for the software itself, in terms of licensing, you may want orneed to contract for support – akin to the Red Hat model – and to hire software developers to customize andconfigure the software to best support your business processes.Humanitarian FOSS projects like Sahana, OpenMRS, OpenStreet Map, Ushahidi and others, apply FOSSprinciples for charitable purposes with a mission similar to other non-profit organizations, that is aligned to theRed Cross Code of Conduct.SLIDE 13 – COMMON TECHNOLOGY & FEATURESPrutsalis WCDM Address 3/14 June 25, 2012
  4. 4. Common Technology and Features of Sahana software and many other HFOSS solutions includes:They are designed to work on multiple environments – Linux, Windows and Mac OSX platforms, but alsoportableapps, VMWare and Cloud hosted solutions. Sahana also has strong Translation and Localizationcapabilities so that it can be easily translated for use in multiple languages, including those using alternatecharacter sets and right-to-left scripting. Sahana has strong support for the exchange of data using open datastandards, and finally an emphasis on mobile accessibility on a number of different devices.SLIDE 14 – HAITI EARTHQUAKESo with that introduction to Sahana as humanitarian free and open source software, I would like to spend thenext 10 minutes or so talking about the Haiti Earthquake and the New Information environment that it gavebirth to.SLIDE 15 – THE NEW DISASTER INFORMATION ENVIRONMENTThe Haiti earthquake experience and subsequent large scale sudden onset disasters like the Tohoku earthquakein Japan, the Christchurch earthquake in New Zealand, or the tornadoes that devastated Joplin, Missouri andTuscaloosa, Alabama last year have led many disaster management agencies to look beyond their traditionalsources of information and tools for information management. This was done out of necessity in Haiti aseveryone’s relief capacity – from the government to the UN agencies working in Haiti already – had beencrippled and the core decision makers found that they had to go outside their standard sources for information.This led to a recognition of the value not only of crowdsourcing and social media as information sources, butalso has pointed to the value of open source solutions that use open data standards.SLIDE 16 – WHERE ARE THE VICTIMSOne of the first needs after a disaster like Haiti is understanding where are the survivors and who needsassistance?SLIDE 17 – MISSING AND FOUND PERSONSTracking the Missing and the Found was a clear need.After Hurricane Katrina in the US, at least 52 distinct missing and found persons websites were launched, noneof which shared information or data between them and which collected information in incompatible datamodels.After the Haiti earthquake, we were going down the same path, until a single site – called –that was scraping every other site it could find, was recognized as the best and most complete list and promotedas the single site where people should report or search for information about the missing. This site waseventually absorbed by Google Person Finder. Using the influence of Google and a number of humanitariangroups working in this area – including the Sahana Software Foundation - all of the competing sites were takendown and a widget to the main Google Person Finder site was provided.Google Person Finder was built around a published data standard – PFIF – or the Person Finder InterchangeFormat – that allowed other organizations with missing persons applications to exchange data easily withGoogle Person Finder. This included the Haiti Earthquake People Locator, which is built on Sahana’s Vesuviusproduct and was hosted by the US National Library of Medicine, which added a number of features andPrutsalis WCDM Address 4/14 June 25, 2012
  5. 5. capabilities for searching through the registry without duplicating anyone’s effort to gather information. It justpresented the same data in a different way for a different user base.SLIDE 18 – PROJECT 4636 & TWEAK THE TWEETIn terms of addressing other immediate needs, including several successful search and rescue missions, whichwere tasked based on information received by SMS, two efforts in Haiti stood out – Project 4636 and Tweakthe Tweet.Project 4636 was a coalition effort of many groups – including InSTEDD, the Thomsen Reuters Foundation,Ushahidi, CrowdFlower and the Sahana Software Foundation – to collect, process, parse and translate textmessages sent by people in Haiti to a short-code and ensure that critical information was forwarded quickly tosearch and rescue teams.Tweak the Tweet comes from Project Epic of the University of Colorado and encourages the use of structuredhashtagging to make tweets machine readable and parsable.Both of these sources of data were publicly available for review within Sahana’s Haiti site.These projects leveraged global volunteers, social media and crowdsourcing methods to produce not onlystructured data but found actionable information from public sources. These efforts highlighted coordinationbetween different groups each with different skills and capabilities for a humanitarian purpose and broughttogether non-traditional and traditional emergency responders.SLIDE 19 – BEST PRACTICES LEVERAGING NEW TECHNOLOGYOne of the Lessons Learned and Best Practices that came out of this experience relates to how disaster responseagencies can leverage new technologies such as these.How do you understand in 140 characters the source and be able to understand how you prioritize your responsebased on this information without a simple means of understanding whether the information is valid, credible,verified, or who should be given responsibility for it.Systems such as Sahana can assist in processing the firehose of information such sources provide. TheChallenge of how these information sources are appropriately integrated with existing trusted and traditionalsystems and sources is something we continue to work on.There are several means of assigning such public sources of information ratings over a number of categorieslike this – both machine processed algorithms and human-curated systems; we are building support for bothwithin our systems.SLIDE 20 – CRISIS MAPPING IN HAITIThe next example is the rise of Crisis Mapping that came out of the Haiti Experience.Using High-resolution satellite imagery that was made available publicly within 26 hours of the event,volunteers from OpenStreetMap were able to rapidly map all of the important roadways and locations in theaffected region. These maps were then made available to relief agencies and anyone who needed them – evenas basemaps on handheld GPS devices.Prutsalis WCDM Address 5/14 June 25, 2012
  6. 6. SLIDE 21 – OPEN STREET MAP – PROJECT HAITI – VIDEOThis video shows how effective this effort was. Following the quake, you can see how rapidly information wasadded to the basemap over the next week to ten days.SLIDE 22 - MAPThe resulting map of haiti was the best available. This example of the area surrounding the airport in Port AuPrince comes from our Haiti site and shows not only the roads, but the temporary shelters that were established(the tents), the aid agency offices (small dots) and hospitals (crosses).SLIDE 23 – CRISIS MAPPING IN HAITI LESSONSThe experience of Crisis Mapping in Haiti demonstrated that the best geographic information after disastersmay indeed come from publicly curated sources like OpenStreetMap. Today – two new groups – the StandbyTask Force and the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team provide rapid crisis mapping solutions for governmentand UN agencies following disasters.Sahana software supports the humanitarian geo-spatial data model that is used by OpenStreetMap, which allowsSahana to both import and export Points of Interest such as shelters, warehouses, offices and hospitals, withOpenStreetMap.SLIDE 24 – WHERE ARE THE FUNCTIONING HOSPITALSANOTHER Challenge faced in the Haiti response that we were involved with was identifying the location offunctioning hospitals that could provide services to the survivors.SLIDE 25 – SAHANA GEO-LOCATE THE HOSPITALS CHALLENGEAfter a public request for information was issued by the US State Department and UN Agencies working inHaiti for this information, we responded and started with a list of the 157 major hospitals in Haiti that camefrom pre-disaster lists from the Pan American Health Organization, the Haitian Ministry of Health, UN OCHA,OpenStreetMap and ReliefWeb.We found that 100 of these had no known coordinates (i.e. latitude and longitude) so they could not be mapped.As there was no geo-coding service for Haiti that could reconcile place names or street addresses withcoordinates, we turned to volunteers and issued a challenge to provide us with coordinates by any meansnecessary. Within 24 hours, we had “found” all but three. Once we had this list of guestimates – a volunteerGIS expert used the high resolution imagery provided by the World Bank to geo-rectify the results. So, forexample, by looking at the imagery, one could identify more accurately where the hospital nearby was located,as opposed to, say, a gas station or a market.SLIDE 26 – HOSPITAL MANAGEMENT SYSTEMSAs a result, we were able to provide a highly accurate list of the functioning hospitals and medical facilities inthe country. Our work and that of others filtered into a Master List of all hospitals and medical facilities inHaiti, an effort that was coordinated by the US Department of Health and Human Services and later handedover to the Haitian Ministry of Health.Prutsalis WCDM Address 6/14 June 25, 2012
  7. 7. We based our system on an OASIS data standard – called EDXL-HAVE – for Emergency Data ExchangeLanguage – Hospital Availability Exchange – a data standard designed for exactly this use case – tracking thestatus of hospitals, services offered, and beds available, in an emergency - but also published our data usingmany common data standards, including KML that allowed people to pull our data into Google Earth. We’vefound that providing data through a standards-based solution allows for better sharing of information across adiverse set of organizations.this example again demonstrated the value in using the crowd to address critical information gaps in a rapid andtimely manner.SLIDE 27 – GLOBAL HEALTH FACILITY REGISTRYAs a result of this effort, we have proposed to set up and host a Global Health Facility Registry that would serveas an public open data repository listing every health facility in the world. It would be built upon the EDXL-HAVE standard and use the powerful web services engine within our Sahana Eden software. Such a systemwould be collaboratively curated by a trusted network of government, NGOs, companies and communities withan interest in managing public health facility data worldwide – and there is an extensive list of stakeholders inthis area. We think this would be a valuable public resource.SLIDE 28 – BEST PRACTICES – OPEN STANDARDSThe Best Practice that can be pulled from these experiences is the value in pursuing open standards basedsolutions and the need to set up information sharing agreements or MOU’s in advance of a disaster.There are a number of Standards Organizations that maintain data standards relevant to disaster management –including OASIS – with its focus on emergency management, HL7 for health data, OGC for geographic data,and more generally W3C, ISO and the ITU. Finding a relevant standard around which to build a data model canprovide incredible value.As mentioned, we had proposed an EDXL-HAVE based solution to managing Haiti’s hospital data in 2010, thatwould have allowed better synchronization of hospital information between several successive efforts thataimed to provide this critical service to the Haitian Ministry of Health. Unfortunately, there was never anagreement to follow such a path, and over two years later, after a number of efforts have come and gone, theHaitian Ministry of Health today still does not have an accurate list of all of the hospitals and medical facilitiesin the country or a system for collecting and maintaining this information. This was a lost opportunity.On the brighter side, I can report that in the area of Missing and Found Persons reporting, we are participatingin a Community of Interest that includes all major stakeholders from both the humanitarian and technologydomains – including the American and International Red Cross, Google, Facebook, refugees united, the redhelmets foundation and others, to work on interoperability between the systems we develop and use for missingand found persons reporting.SLIDE 29 – HAITI EARTHQUAKE & NEW INFORMATION ENVIRONMENTSo, in summary – the New Information Environment that came about during the Haiti Earthquake responseperiod brought a recognition from traditional disaster management agencies. The US State Departmentrecognized in a White Paper that “New information technologies and providers emerged that will foreverchange how humanitarian information is collected, shared and managed” and that “humanitarian organizations,Prutsalis WCDM Address 7/14 June 25, 2012
  8. 8. governments and donors will all need to adapt this new information environment.”The work of Sahana, Open Street Map and others was similarly recognized in a UN Foundation report last yearthat noted that we “offer faster, more effective means of analyzing an ever-increasing volume and velocity ofdata.”SLIDE 30 – FOUR CASE STUDIESThis brings us to the Four Case studies of Professional Emergency and Disaster Management Organizations thatdeployed Sahana based open source solutions.For the rest of this session, I am tell you about these four projects:The US National Library of Medicine’s People Locator ProjectThe City of New York’s Office of Emergency Management’s use of the Sahana Emergency ManagementSystem for managing its all hazards sheltering and resource management plansThe Los Angeles Emergency Management Department’s Give2LA websiteAnd the International Federation of the Red Cross’s Resource Management System.SLIDE 31 – US NATIONAL LIBRARY OF MEDICINEI will start with the People Locator Project at the US Library of Medicine – or NLM. NLM is a part of the USfederal government’s National Institutes of Health – based in Bethesda Maryland. It is a center for healthinformation technology innovation and research and is the world’s largest bio- medical library.In 2009, NLM began the People Locator project with local hospitals that formed the Bethesda HospitalsEmergency Preparedness Partnership. they built a solution with Sahana software that would assist with familyreunification after a disaster. Initially focused on this hospital use case, the system was designed to log disastervictims in at a hospital during the triage process and link hospital ntake records with call centers that would betaking in missing persons reports from the community, in order to reduce the load on hospital staff.After the Haiti Earthquake, NLM broadened the scope of their project and started provided hosting of theirsystem for use during large scale disasters.SLIDE 32 – US NATIONAL LIBRARY OF MEDICINEThe system is designed to feed information into a single database about the status of individuals following adisaster from multiple sources – and includes a public website to allow for search or entry of information.SLIDE 33 – US NATIONAL LIBRARY OF MEDICINEInformation can be entered into the system from many sources – including triage station software that runs ontablets and provides simple intake and tagging information about patients, a public website – which is live at – you can go there today to visit the site, an iphone app called ReUnite – which you candownload from iTunes; People locator can also synchronize data with Google Person Finder Instances set upfor a disaster. The system is designed to manage multiple incidents from a single server hosted at NLM.Prutsalis WCDM Address 8/14 June 25, 2012
  9. 9. NLM built this system with Sahana software – which is now our Sahana Vesuvius product – they estimate itsaved them over a year in development time and costs to use Sahana as a starting point for their project.SLIDE 34 – RECENT PEOPLE LOCATOR DEPLOYMENTSone of the strongest features of the People Locator is its search and filtering capabilities, which provides userswith multiple means to display or search through the registries for different events. People Locator has beendeployed recently in support of the several disasters, including the Joplin, Missouri tornado, where it was linkedto the official records of local authorities of missing persons reports, and for the Tohoku earthquake in Japan,where it was synchronized with the Google Person Finder instance.SLIDE 35 – NYC OEM AND SAHANAThe City of New York’s Sahana Emergency Management System is a suite of programs designed to assistemergency managers with staff and facility resource management in the event of an emergency.IT was built by the City University of New York’s School of Professional Studies for the City’s Office ofEmergency Management.It is designed to help manage the human and resource management requirements of the City’s Coastal StormPlan, but also more generally for its all-hazards Sheltering Plan and other resource-intensive plans like theCity’s POD plan.To help you understand the scale of the City’s needs here – the City’s Coastal storm plan calls for the City in theevent of a category 3 or 4 hurricane to provide shelter to up to 800,000 persons in over 500 different sheltersthat are staffed by over 70,000 City employees and volunteers. The shelters must be scheduled to open insequence, staff must be scheduled to work at different sites and on different shifts for different lengths of timebased on their assigned roles and training and notified where and when to report, shelterees must be registeredby family and those with special medical needs directed to appropriate services, shelter populations must betracked continuously so additional shelters can be opened as needed, and reporting must be available in real-time to decision-makings at the City’s Unified Operations Center and emergency operations center. Suchrequirements can only be handled by technology effectively.Since 2007, the City of New York’s Office of Emergency Management has been using Sahana software to helpthem manage this process. The current release of this system is branded as the Sahana Emergency ManagementSystem and it includes two Sahana products designed to work together to manage the City’s response plans –one called Sahana Mayon that manages resource assignments and one called Sahana Kilauea – for client andstaff registration at shelters – which is spun off from Sahana Vesuvius that manages Missing and Found Personsinformation.The Sahana Resource Management Program, at the top –manages staff and facility resources, response plans,and assists emergency managers with event response through the ability to activate scenario-based plans. inpreparing response plans, emergency managers can assign resources to facilities based on different scenariosthat complement an organization’s existing emergency plans. After an event occurs, an emergency managerscan activate one of these scenarios, then modify it based on actual events, and then manage staff assignmentand notification processes required to support the event response. The system also links to the City’s massnotification call out system. This involves a tremendous amount of processing of geographic and availabilitydata based on roles, skills and training. The City estimates that using traditional manual procedures, for aPrutsalis WCDM Address 9/14 June 25, 2012
  10. 10. category 3 or 4 storm activation, it would take at least one month for staff to make the assignments and notifypersonnel. Using Sahana, this is reduced to 12 hours, which fits within their playbook for executing the CoastStorm Plan.The Sahana Registry Program, at the bottom – provides tools for registering both clients and staff at emergencyfacilities such as evacuation centers, emergency shelters, or PODs. It provides the ability to enter or searchclient information (grouped by family), registering and tracking staff shifts, and can check clients or staff intoor out of a facility. It also provides reporting for emergency managers to track the population and status ofemergency facilities. The Sahana Registry Program can be installed on a server or deployed as a standaloneapplication on a USB stick preconfigured with a database to include your list of facilities – this is designed tobe operated from shelters where network connectivity may not be available.SLIDE 36 - HURRICANE IRENE – 2011This system was given a live test during last year’s Hurricane Irene, which made landfall in New York City as atropical storm. During the response to Hurricane Irene, NYC OEM sent over 1 million messages to 130,000city employees in order to mobilize the 6000 staff that were needed to run the 155 different shelter andevacuation center operations during the City’s Coastal Storm Plan activation for Hurricane Irene. Reportingdata from the shelters that came from Sahana was called “invaluable” by the City. Pleased by the results fromthis event, the City decided to package the entire system on a DVD that includes all required server andapplication software, and installation, systems administration and user documentation, along with video-basedtraining.It is going to be distributed by the City of New York to other local jurisdictions through a federally fundedRegional Catastrophic Planning Team that supports approximately 30 county-level jurisdictions in four states:Connecticut, New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. They also plan to distribute it to similar planning teamsin other regions, and directly to large cities throughout the US.This software, support documentation and training materials will also be available from the Sahana SoftwareFoundation for anyone to download and deploy. We are also in the process of setting up a team that can provide support to jurisdictions that need assistance in the deployment, support or hosting of this system. SLIDE 37 – GIVE2LAGive2LA is built upon our Sahana Eden platform. It is designed as a public facing website that providesinformation to the public on volunteer and donation opportunities to support emergency preparedness, responseand recovery. It allows users to register and receive updates about volunteer opportunities and receive situationreports from the City’s Emergency Management Department.SLIDE 38 – GIVE2LA – DONATIONSTo help direct those wishing to donate to organizations that support the City of Los Angeles, the site links offersof cash donations to charitable organizations registered as partners with the City through the Los AngelesEmergency Preparedness Foundation, such as the American Red Cross, World Vision and the Salvation Army.For the donation of items, the site lists any partners currently open to receiving in kind donations of items andhas a space for listing any upcoming donation drives, such as occur around the holidays.SLIDE 39 – GIVE2LA – VOLUNTEERSPrutsalis WCDM Address 10/14 June 25, 2012
  11. 11. For managing offers from spontaneous and unaffiliated volunteers, the site includes a request bulletin boardwhereby the City or registered organizations can create and list jobs requiring volunteers, and provides a meansfor persons to volunteer for those tasks. It also directs people to volunteering opportunities with organizationsdirectly.The purpose of this site is not to replace the systems used by charitable organizations to recruit and managetheir own volunteers or to collect donations, but to meet the City’s requirements to serve its population bydirecting new offers of assistance from unaffiliated volunteers or donations to where they may be needed.The site is translated into nine languages to best serve the Citys population.Though not yet publicly launched, there is already a proposed expansion of this project from the City to theentire County of Los Angeles, which includes 88 cities.SLIDE 40 – RMSThe last case study is the Resource Management System – or RMS - of the International Federation of the RedCross and Red Crescent Societies – or ifrc. It allows the national societies of the Red Cross to track andmanage their human and material resources and projects on an ongoing basis, while providing strong disasterand event management capabilities.SLIDE 41 – RMS – MAPThe initial focus of development for RMS was on being able to map the Red Crosses projects, staff, offices,volunteers and assets against program needs and assessments. In this example taken from East Timor, theTimor-Leste Red Crosses resources are plotted on top of an assessment completed of unsafe water sourcesfollowing a Cyclone last year. This enables them to identify what resources might be available to respond todifferent identified needs.SLIDE 42 – RMS – VOLUNTEERSThe system is also used to track all of their staff and volunteers and can send notifications by SMS or emailfrom within the application itself.SLIDE 43 – RMS – WHO WHAT WHEREIN terms of tracking projectS – the system provides what the UN now calls 4W capability – for who is doingwhat where and when – and is used to track different projects across different geographic areas so gaps can beidentified.SLIDE 44 – RMS – REPORTINGRMS also includes strong reporting capabilities so reports can be made back to donors on how project funds arespent. In this and other examples of program activities taken from Timor Leste – I need to point out that all datashown is fictitious and was generated for demonstration purposes and does not reflect actual Red Cross data.SLIDE 45 – RMS - ASSESSMENTSPrutsalis WCDM Address 11/14 June 25, 2012
  12. 12. The assessment tool built into RMS is quite sophisticated and allows users to create template surveys and thendeploy their use in response to a specific event.SLIDE 46 – SPREADSHEETIt also exports the surveys into a standard spreedsheet format that can be distributed on laptops or tablets forease of offline data collection where internet access may not be available. The spreadsheets can then beimported into Eden later.SLIDE 47 – RMS – ASSESSMENT REPORTThe results of the assessments can be aggregated and reports and charts generated from the results.SLIDE 48 – RMS – ASSESSMENT MAPAnd of course, all of the data can be mapped by itself or overlaid with offices, assets, warehouses and otherinformation that comes from web mapping services, such as hazard data.This project was started by the Asia Pacific Regional Disaster Management Unit of the IFRC. It is currentlybeing rolled out to all of the national societies in the Asia Pacific region over the next two years. It is alsobeing piloted in Africa and South America. The American Red Cross of Greater Los Angeles is also going topilot its use with a view towards making it a national program of the American Red Cross.SLIDE 49 - WFP AND GOVERNMENT OF PHILIPPINESBefore closing with some final thoughts and conclusions, I wanted to share with you two other recent projectsthat we are involved with. The first is a project being funded by the UN World Food Programme for theGovernment of the Philippines Department of Social Welfare and Development. They are building a ReliefGoods Inventory and Monitoring System as part of a national program to enhance that country’s preparednessand resilience to disasters.Like many Asian countries, the Philippines is prone to numerous natural disasters, including cyclones, flooding,earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. The Philippines has adopted Sahana software numerous times in theaftermath of disasters in the past; I am encouraged by the forward-thinkingness of their Government and WFPto get a necessary system for disaster management into place now before the next major disaster strikes. This isan important best practice as well. We always promote the adoption of disaster management systems in advanceof a disaster – not after it has occurred. I am certain that their investment in mitigation will be repaid and thensome in the future.SLIDE 50 – EVHACFinally, we are involved with a project funded by the European Committee to support the European VoluntaryHumanitarian Aid Corps. In this project, volunteers from France Volontaires are going to be trained to collectinformation about the resources and assets available from local non-governmental organizations in threedisaster-prone countries – 2 in africa and one in asia. This data will be stored in Sahana on a site that we hostfor their use.SLIDE 51 – CONCLUSIONS – BENEFITS OF HFOSSPrutsalis WCDM Address 12/14 June 25, 2012
  13. 13. So Conclusions. Three main benefits of using humanitarian free and open source software solutions for yourdisaster information management needs.First – it provides a starting point for solutions that would otherwise cost more and take longer to develop.Second – it enables easier sharing of solutions and information within and across organizations.Third and Finally – this is all enabled by the trust involved with working in partnership with a non-profitorganization and the licensing model used with open source software.I would like to point out that all of the systems I showed you here today are all freely available for anyone touse from the Sahana Software Foundation.SLIDE 52 – UNIQUE DEVELOPMENT MODELWe have a unique development model at the Sahana Software Foundation – which I call a virtuous circle ofcontributions, that makes this possible.To explain, in a traditional open source model, you have the main project codebase – referred to as the trunk.Organization A comes along and says – hey this is a good starting point for the system I need – so they take itand customize it for this use.Two months later, Organization B comes along and says the same.This is good, to a degree, and how many open source projects provide value to organizations. but The result canbe multiple branches of the same software, each needing support and expertise to maintain, and all becomingspecialized and less useful for others, while development of the main codebase proceeds sometimes in anentirely different direction than its users would like to see it go.SLIDE 53 - UNIQUE DEVELOPMENT MODELWith Sahana’s Virtuous Circle of Contributions, we ask those organizations using Sahana software to donateback the features and fixes they work on to the main codebase. That way the starting point for Organization Bmay include all of the work that Organization A has put into the software.This means that the features and fixes developed by one organization are available to all future Sahana users.This is enabled by our non-profit status and supported by Software Grant Agreements, which are used to donatea body of work to the Sahana Software Foundation, and Contributor License Agreements, whereby individualsoftware developers grant the Sahana Software Foundation a license to incorporate and redistribute their work.And this system is a force multiplier – As more organizations are developing solutions with Sahana software,each organization using Sahana has more features and more support for the features it is using.Why does this work? Well, it is attractive to the organizations deploying Sahana software. The City of NewYork is not just happy it is proud that other jurisdictions may benefit from the work they have put into Sahanasoftware. The same is true for Los Angeles, NLM and the Red Cross. These are humanitarian organizations bytheir nature and we are proud to be their partners in this. they can also report back to their donors – because inPrutsalis WCDM Address 13/14 June 25, 2012
  14. 14. the us, for example, most of these projects are funded by grants from dhs or fema – an increased impact to servethe public through the extended reach they are able to attain.SLIDE 54 – THANKSThank you for your time. I appreciate it and would be glad to answer any questions you have.Prutsalis WCDM Address 14/14 June 25, 2012