Hurricane sandy & the crowdsourcing community


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UN Spider: Crowdsource Mapping for Preparedness and Emergency Response
December 2012
presented by Heather Leson

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  • Overview and Discussion about various Crowdsourcing activities around Hurricane Sandy by Heather Leson, December 2012. Crisismaps using Ushahidi software has reached a birthing moment. Christchurch Earthquake and Mumbai blasts in 2010 each had two maps which were merged by the community (facilitated by Ushahidi). Hurricane Irene in 2011 had 3 maps,  Hurricane Sandy 2012 saw 20 independent maps created to focus on different regions on the Eastern Seaboard or missions /branding.  
  • Official organizations activated and used Crowdmap to test their response: Fairfax County and the State of Maryland. Huffington Post temporarily changed their US election deployment map into a Hurricane Response map. They were the largest and first US media organization to use Crowdmap for this type of story. Bill Morris, a previous deployer for Hurricane Irene, spent the year building with local Emergency Responders. His map was more of a preparedness piece as Vermont was largely unaffected by the storm. The Staten Island project was run by a local journalist with some sensor hacker help. Other maps were lead by community and civil society groups or individuals. Maps centred on helping were a theme with Sandy Coworking to help people connect and get to work. One mapping project focused on Internet and other communications infrastructure issues. When asked most of the map projects agreed to share an open feed (ability to download reports), with the larger open community.  Ushahidi connected these mappers with communities like CrisisCommons, Geeks without Bounds, Humanity Road and Hurricane Hackers, including MIT's Open IR team.   
  • Huffington Post was the main site that used Ushahidi to track stories. They replaced their election map with this Hurricane Response map.
  • Julia from the Team - The Watershed team learned from Tropical Storm Irene in 2011 that early preparation and installation of web tools was indispensable in covering a disaster. During Irene, our live blog became the locus for disaster coverage about the Catskills nationwide. It attracted almost 100,000 reads in three weeks and was featured in media outlets like the New York Times and CNN. In general, we found that while Ushahidi Crowdmap provided an excellent way for us to organize data during a disaster, it was difficult for anyone other than a full-time, dedicated and trained member of our staff to use it.
  • The New York Tech Community united to create with a simple effort to help people get back to work.
  • Blog post on Hurricane Sandy: Full list on the wiki (They were Deployment of the Week in October
  • Shadrock Roberts began a list of Crisismaps Some had open source content, some did not.
  • Wansoo - More details -
  • This project was a Crowdsourced map view using FEMA imagery and the crowd to assess and rate the imagery for damage. See this excellent Video for more details:
  • Open IR (open Infrared) maps the ecological features and risks revealed by infrared satellite data.
  • Wayfinding
  • This was just a brief outline of the various projects
  • Hurricane sandy & the crowdsourcing community

    1. 1. Expert Meeting: Crowdsource Mapping for Preparedness and Emergency ReponseHurricane Sandy and thecrowdsourcing community
    2. 2. Ushahidi Summary•Different missions, map regions and organizing group(s).•Less than 100 reports, but had strong curation and verification methods.•11 of the 20 maps were tests with no reports.•Some of the maps have been deactivated.•Many of the deployers had no to low experience•Some US based emergency managers suggested that the Crowdmaps havestandard categories. I asked them to share their recommendations.
    3. 3. 37 Maps…
    4. 4. Many Prototypes:Hurricane HackersCrisisCampsNY Tech MeetupOthers
    5. 5.
    6. 6. Field Crowdsourcing:OccupySandyStudent Volunteer ArmyTeam RubiconOthers