Podcamp Toronto: Crowdsourcing Crisis Commons


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How can you use your technology and social media skills to help NGOs during emergencies? All you need is a computer and Internet access.

CrisisCommons.org is a Volunteer Technical Community (VTC) made up of a growing group of technical, project manager, emergency planner and social media knowledge workers. After the earthquake in Haiti, cities around North America and the UK started CrisisCamp (Haiti) in their locations to volunteer their time to "help the helpers". They are using social media tools to crowdsource collaboration on various projects from software development to opensource mapping to social media translation – work that is new and evolving every minute. Heather, Brian, Rachel and others from CrisisCommons (Toronto) will be addressing the question how can technology and knowledge workers volunteer their skills with one click of a mouse.

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  • Podcamp Toronto: Crowdsourcing Crisis Commons

    1. Crowdsourcing Volunteer Technical Communities with CrisisCommons February 20, 2010
    2. What is CrisisCommons?
    3. photo by Trickydevil under a Creative Commons license
    4. We Are: • We are technologists who have skills which can help provide citizens with the ability to connect with one another. • We are global citizens who believe in social change and are willing to communicate the truth of what they see and share with others. • We are organizations who believe in leveraging resources for the greater good.
    5. Crowdsource OpenSource Collaborative
    6. You Organizers Web Social Developers We are: Media Emergency http://crisiscommons.org/ GeoCoders Planners Crisis Project Communicators Managers Technologists Programmers Anyone with Trainers a Laptop Translators
    7. We are built on a history of Crowdsourced Open Source Technology
    8. Framework
    9. HAITI EARTHQUAKES •January 12th, Magnitude 7.0 •9 million people, 50% urban •3 million directly affected •ESTIMATES 250,000 dead, 1 million homeless •100ʼs of NGOʼs, 100ʼs of field hospitals •US$1.4 billion - 1st 12 months •Early estimate US$7 billion physical damage Meta-threats •Food security •Disease •Floods, mudslides •Civil unrest/crime, political instability •Community disruption, 500,000 internal migrants •Psycho-social trauma
    10. EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT An organized analysis, planning, decision-making, and assignment of available resources to prevent, mitigate, prepare for, respond to and recover from the effects of all hazards. Facilitates decision-making in conditions of extreme uncertainty and extreme time constraints. •Standard Operating Procedures •International Technical Standards and Protocols •Common Language •Common Operating Picture
    11. •Camp Coordination and Camp Management (IOM) •Education (UNICEF) •Emergency Shelter and Non-Food Items (IFRC) •Food (WFP) •Logistics (WFP) •Nutrition (UNICEF) •Protection (OHCHR with UNICEF for Child Protection and UNFPA for GBV) •WASH (UNICEF) •Agriculture (FAO) •Early Recovery (UNDP) •Emergency Telecommunications (WFP) •Health (WHO/PAHO)
    12. Hierarchical System, long-established stakeholders, efficient, politicized Flat organizational structure, unfamiliar with the establishment, innovative, young organization
    13. When the Earthquake happened in Haiti We asked: How can we help? CrisisCommons creates response via CrisisCamps
    14. What is CrisisCamp?
    15. We Grew. Fast. 38 days, 26 Cities http://maker.geocommons.com/maps/11985
    16. Toronto: CrisisCamp (Haiti) January 24, 2010 January 30, 2010 February 13, 2010
    17. Crowdsourcing Volunteer Technical Communities: How?
    18. using social media to spread the word
    19. social and traditional media attention
    20. We Blogged
    21. We Tweeted
    22. We created a Wiki City project page
    23. We created video, photo, & other social media content
    24. CrisisCamp (Haiti) Projects Types of projects: 1. Social Media/Networking/SEO 2. Software/Web Development 3. OpenStreet map (GIS) 4. Infrastructure for CrisisCommons
    25. We try to match volunteers with the skills needed for projects and the type of volunteering they would like to contribute. All we could do was prepare many options.
    26. Teams work like mini-scrums across cities. Tasks are divided up, collaborated, and coordinated using every online tool available. Teams vary based on the project but essentially could include: developers, social media knowledge workers, project managers, anyone.
    27. CrisisCamp (Haiti)- Toronto Development Projects
    28. Developing software on the fly. Thereʼs agile, then thereʼs CrisisCampʼs interactive, collaborative, crowdsourced, open source software development. It is AGILE on Speed.
    29. Building Projects:   On the first weekend very little happened. Much time wasted. • Identified one of the needs was organization. • Developers need requirements. People requesting projects need to ask for projects in a way a programmer can understand. o  Shop for projects!  o Match skills to programmers    The second weekend; much better!  • Quick meeting in the morning to gather requirements then match • Some developers have skills that donʼt match up to projects; we tried!
    30.  What did we do?  •  Machine Translation Service o Built a connection to Haitian Google translate to a number of mediums (IRC, web & beyond!) o Kreyol translators have tested Googleʼs translator and itʼs passable. • Haiti rebuilding connection project o Build a way to connect needs in Haiti with people offering to help (ie. We need chairs for a school) • iPhone people finder • Project tracker
    31. CrisisCamp (Haiti)- Toronto Social Media Projects
    32. RSS Feed Aggregator Toronto team contributed: SEO, library categorization, project management, RSS feed verification, form usability Toronto team contributed: social media outreach, tool testing (UI/UX), translation, personal stories, research, analysis and collaboration
    33. CrisisCommons Success Stories • We have we need o Matching needs with donations (ie. We need tents)  http://www.wehaveweneed.org/ • Tweak the Tweet o A syntax to make tweets more uniform. o http://epic.cs.colorado.edu/helping_haiti_tweak_the_twe.html
    34. CrisisCommons Success Stories o Haiti OpenStreetMap  Google maps donʼt exist.  Many streets arenʼt named. OpenStreetMap is free, open and crowdsourced.  http://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/WikiProject_Haiti       o Inveneo Wireless Network  Self configuring wireless network  Customized firmware for wireless networks.  Network shared between NGOs on the ground in Haiti.  http://www.inveneo.org/?q=crisis-camp-haiti
    35. What's Next? • Next CrisisCamp (Haiti): February 27th, 2010 • Research, listen, learn and build • Solidify global CrisisCommons infrastructure o Face-to-face International conference - Washington DC   • Partner with NGO's (Canadian, International) o Better Communication = Better Help   • Mobilize Volunteers o Have a group ready for next steps o Variety of skills required
    36. Questions? @heatherleson @ruyoung @db7 @leftbutton @jkolez
    37. We are grateful to the sponsors that have supported us during our various events:
    38. Thank you! Contact us: Google Group   CrisisCommonsTO Twitter               @CrisisCampTO E-mail               CrisisCampTO@gmail.com