January 12, 2010 at 16:53 in the afternoon a 7.0 magnitude earthquake strikes close to Port-au-Prince, the capitol of Haiti. Between 92,000 and 300,000 people died, over 300,000 were injured and over a million people became homeless.
On March 11, 2011 and 14:46 on a Friday afternoon the strongest ever earthquake in Japan’s history and the 5th strongest earthquake ever recorded anywhere in the world hit 70km east of Sendai at a depth of 32km. Tsunami waves hit the Japanese coasts, some as high as 38 meters and travelling up to 10 km inland. Whole cities were erased from the face of the earth. It is also believed to be the most natural disaster with costs exceeding $300 billion dollars. The 2004 tsunami in the Indian ocean was slightly stronger and resulted in waves killing over 250,000 people in 14 countries.
In January 2011 over 400 people died in mudslides in south-eastern Brazil.
The winning software solution, the I’mOK application, which allows you to send a message with the press of a single button on your cell phone to alert contacts that you are okay after a disaster, was deployed on the ground in Haiti and Chile following the devastating earthquakes there in early 2010.
Random Hacks of Kindness
Random Hacks of Kindness<br />How civic hacking can be leveraged to spur innovation and create safer communities<br />
Vision<br />Random Hacks of Kindness is an initiative that seeks to make the world a better<br />place by building a community of innovation. RHoK collaborates with subject<br />matter experts in disaster risk to develop and define problems, which form the<br />framework of a RHoK hack day—a marathon weekend event of competitive<br />coding, gathering software engineers together to develop software to respond to<br />global challenges and crises. A RHoK event brings together the best and<br />brightest developers from around the world, who volunteer their time to solve real<br />world problems.<br />
Partners<br />Random Hacks of Kindness is a joint initiative of Google, Microsoft, Yahoo!, HP, <br />NASAand the World Bank, as well as other government, academic and civil <br />society partners. <br />
How it Works<br />Development experts define the problems<br />Volunteers work on open source solutions<br />Annual Global Events<br />Weekend sprints & competitions<br />Mainstages with VIP receptions<br />Satellites focused on coding<br />
2010 Highlights<br />Fast Growing Community<br />Events in 26 cities<br />2000 registrants <br />120 projects<br />VIP Keynote speeches<br />UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon<br />FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate<br />“Father of the Internet” Vint Cerf<br />Media Reach<br />100+ news sources globally<br />NYTimes, Forbes, LA Times, NPR, Fox, Slashdot, USA Today<br />Success Stories<br />Person Finder – Missing persons databaseUsed in Japan, Haiti, Christchurch, Chile by Google<br />I’mOK – Mobile messaging for disaster responseUsed in Haiti & Chile by The World Bank<br />CHASM – Mapping landslide riskUsed in the Caribbean by The World Bank<br />
2011 Highlights<br />RHoK 3 on 4-5 June 2011<br />Theme of Disaster Risk Management and Climate Change Adaptation<br />74 total solutions posted to RHoK.org<br />
Example Solutions<br />Solutions emerging from Seattle during RHoK 3 on 4-5 June 2011<br />Seattle was 1 of 19 locations that hosted RHoK 3.<br />Tethered Towers: Using a tethered high-altitude balloon with sensors/wifi attached to it to provide situational awareness to ground teams in localized disaster areas<br />Open211: A streamlined way to get community maintenance and needs information to a centralized searchable database.<br />MoveFood: An application which matched food surpluses with local charities using volunteers as the transportation as needs arose. <br />HelpSauce: Enabling small observations of many users to add up to large observations by encouraging the use of “!help” and “!sos” hashtags on Twitter, then porting those to a localized map of the geotags of the tweets.<br />iRespond: Coordinates the activities of first responders in a robust manner via a minimal SMS network.<br />A platform to verify local ground weather data in Bolivia with NASA satellite data<br />SAARAA: Providing situational awareness and rapid damage assessments to first responders eco-Tricorder: A means to take publicly available environmental data to the smartphone, and allow users to augment the satellite or other global data with local measurements. <br />
The Power of Hackathons<br />NYC’s Chief Digital Officer Rachel Sterne (@RachelSterne) wrote an article about why cities should embrace the code-a-thon. Included here is a slightly modified (to include all government) version of her list:<br /><ul><li>It will bridge sectors and connect the government and technology communities around a shared challenge.
It will encourage collaborative problem-solving and a more open government.
It will create a mechanism for the public to share feedback and ideas.
It can serve as a model for other governments, helping to affect national and international change.
It will introduce creative and innovative concepts that could help to evolve government to be more efficient and effective in serving and empowering citizens.
It will provide both individuals and teams with face-to-face access to governments decision makers.
It creates a precedent and platform for evolving government through open innovation and participation.
It will serve as the first step in a transparent design process.
It helps remove subjectivity from the design process by clearly showing what the public wants and needs.
It equips developers with the internal data they need to make user experience decisions.</li></ul>Original article: http://mashable.com/2011/07/22/nyc-hackathon/<br />
What’s Next?<br />New Website and Community Manager<br />Custom social network for collaboration between SMEs and volunteers<br />Opening to All Development <br />RHoK Community Events focused on development themes or geographic areas<br />The Next RHoK global hack day <br />December 3rd and 4th, 2011 with events in cities around the world. <br />
Get Involved<br />Random Hacks of Kindness is partnering with companies, universities, multinational organizations, NGOs and developer networks around the globe to bring together some of the world’s most talented developers, who will be volunteering their time and working together to develop software that responds to global disaster risk challenges and has the potential to save lives and alleviate suffering.<br />To learn more, or to partner with Random Hacks of Kindness, visit our website at www.rhok.org, or email firstname.lastname@example.org. <br />
Nicholas SkytlandNASA Open Government Initiativenicholas.email@example.com| twitter.com/skytland | http://www.open.nasa.gov<br />
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