Crowdsourcing Fire and Floods

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Presented to the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources
January 18, 2011
By Heather Leson
Participants in the discussion: ON government officials and members of CrisisCamp Toronto (Brian Chick and Melanie Gorka).

Thank you to Maurits Van Der Vlugt and Gregory Asmolov for providing input from their Crisismapping experiences.

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Crowdsourcing Fire and Floods

  1. 1. Crowdsourcing: Fire and FloodsHeather LesonJanuary 18, 2011 Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources<br />
  2. 2. The Crowd is here <br />Alertnet names CrisisMapping one of the Top 20 big ideas that don’t cost the Earth.<br />Crowdsourcingis coming home in 2011. <br />Canadians watch the news. <br />Both the CBC and Global News are both asking questions: how they can use these new tools for user-engagement monitoring and reporting.<br />(Source: http://www.trust.org/alertnet/news/alertnets-top-20-big-ideas-that-dont-cost-the-earth/#A11 )<br />
  3. 3. Current Example: Crowdsourcing Floods<br />
  4. 4. The Australian Floods: January 2011<br />In less than 3 weeks: <br />Over 35 crowdsourced maps for Victoria, Queensland and New South Wales.<br />Maps were created by Media, Government, NGOs, NFP, and individuals.<br />Other content: Twitter, RSS feeds (blogs), Traditional Media coverage<br />(Source: http://spatial21.blogspot.com/)<br />
  5. 5.
  6. 6. About the Queensland Map <br />Created by media : ABC<br />Tool used: http://queenslandfloods.crowdmap.com/<br />No server required. <br />Urban area, citizen reporting<br />Verified and Unverified reports<br />Video and pictures added<br /># of reports: 916 (ongoing)<br />
  7. 7. Citizen Reporting<br />Volunteer Technical Communities mapped Haiti, Chile, Pakistan, Sudan and the Gulf Oil Spill using a combination of new and existing data.<br />Citizens are inspired by crowdsourcing activities around the world.<br />By the end of this year, there will be major initiatives in Canada.<br />Free online tools are available and will be used.<br />
  8. 8. Framework<br />
  9. 9. Volunteers and Academics<br />Volunteer Technical Communities and academic groups-crowdsourcingprojects:<br />Crisismappers,Ushahidi, OpenStreetMap<br />Random Hacks of Kindness 1.0<br />Academics – University of Boulder, Colorado (Project EPIC), Carnegie Mellon (Disaster Management Institute)<br />
  10. 10. Mapping Tools<br />Ushahidi/Crowdmap<br />OpenStreetMap<br />Sahana<br />Google Earth <br />Esri<br />
  11. 11. Data <br />UN/World Bank/Global Canadian/Ontario/Toronto (comprehensive list): http://www.opendataday.org/wiki/Data<br />
  12. 12. New Data vs. Existing Data<br />Satellite imagery<br />Google Earth<br />Grassroots Mapping<br />Others<br />
  13. 13. Crowd Data Collection Tools<br />Ushahidi/Crowdmap/Swift River<br />Tweak the Tweet<br />Google Docs<br />Google/Bing Search <br />
  14. 14. Voice/SMS capture tools<br />FrontlineSMS: http://www.frontlinesms.com/<br />Clickatell: http://www.clickatel.com/<br />IntelliSMS: http://www.intellisms.co.uk/<br />Groundcrewhttp://groundcrew.us/<br />Instedd: http://instedd.org/technologies/geochat/<br />Tropo: https://www.tropo.com/home.jsp (paid)<br />PBX-in-a-flash + Teleyapper.http://nerdvittles.com/index.php?p=701http://nerdvittles.dreamhosters.com/pbxinaflash/<br />(These tools listed were recommended by members of the CrisisCommons and Crisismappers mailing lists.)<br />
  15. 15. Wildfire Simulation Tools<br />Google Earth and the University of Corsica team:http://www.gearthblog.com/blog/archives/2010/12/simulate_forest_fires_with_forefire.html<br />http://grass.ibiblio.org/grass65/manuals/html65_user/r.ros.htmlhttp://grass.fbk.eu/grass65/manuals/html65_user/r.spread.html<br />http://www2.bfrl.nist.gov/userpages/wmell/PUBLIC/WILDFIRES/EASFIRE_May05/nist_grassfire_EastFire_5-05.pdf<br />http://www.fs.fed.us/wwetac/arcfuels/<br />(Source: CrisisMappers mailing list)<br />
  16. 16. Preparedness<br />
  17. 17. Bushfire Connect<br />Australian Not-For-Profit project.<br />Created in June 2010.<br />Obtained volunteer help at Random Hacks of Kindness 1.0 (Sydney, Australia). (June 2010)<br />Team: Emergency manager + social media expert + media coordinator + three software developers.<br />It has not been used for a Bushfire.<br />Built on Ushahidi.<br />Server install. <br />
  18. 18.
  19. 19. Bushfire Connect <br />Status: Team is collaborating on tool development, funding and procedures. They are in advanced discussions with Victoria state government regarding apartnership.<br />Different from other Ushahidi instances: established well before event(s) – both advantage (branding and credibility) as disadvantage (less sense of ‘urgency’)<br />Recently added mobile application capability <br />http://www.bushfireconnect.org/blog/<br />Contact: MauritsVan DerVlugt, Initiator and Business Strategist maurits.vandervlugt@mercuryps.com.au<br />
  20. 20. Response<br />
  21. 21. Russian WildFires<br />Team: Bloggers, Coordinator Group (moderators), IT, offline activists, and PR.<br />Created in August 2010<br />Tracked urban and rural fires<br />Organized in a short time with low budget.<br />Used Ushahidi.<br />Server install.<br />Tool: http://russian-fires.ru<br />Contact: Gregory Asmolov, co-founder of Help Map for Russian Fires. gregory.asmolov@gmail.com<br />Sources: http://blog.ushahidi.com/index.php/2010/08/02/russia-crowdsourcing-assistance-for-victims-of-wildfires/<br />http://blog.ushahidi.com/index.php/2010/10/19/russia-sustainability-of-crowdsourcing-projects-after-emergency-and-%E2%80%9Cushahidi%E2%80%9D-chain-effect/<br />
  22. 22. Bushfire Connect<br /><ul><li> Participation in firefighting including creation of private firefighting units
  23. 23. Purchasing professional firefighting equipment
  24. 24. Humanitarian aid
  25. 25. Transport
  26. 26. Money
  27. 27. Living places</li></ul>Volunteering<br />
  28. 28. Results: <br />Lessons Learned<br />Ushahidimakes possible transformation from sporadic coverage to comprehensive monitoring and coordinated assistance.<br />Collect, Monitor, Coordinate and Moderate.<br />Received over 1600 reports.<br />“The main purpose of the platform, is not mapping the wildfires, but primarily building the bridge between those who need help and those who wish to help.”<br />Next Steps<br />The team continues to collaborate. They just launched a new platform holoda.info: Focusing on Russian Winter topics (lack of heating, water, and electricity etc.).<br />
  29. 29. San Bruno and Boulder Fires <br />Both urban centers <br />San Bruno – Craig Fugate, Adminstrator of FEMA stated that Twitter gave him the most real-time data (September 2010)<br />Boulder – Telephone services unreliable. A key communication channel for emergency response suffered. Twitter was used as a work-aroundoutbound emergency response channel. (October 2010)<br />
  30. 30. Ontario, Canada<br />What about Canada’s forest?<br />Remote forest fire regions<br />Crowdsourcing/SMS may not be as useful<br />There has been little to no crowdsourcingcrisismappingyet.<br />
  31. 31. Ontario, Canada<br />Problem definitions: <br />How can the lessons learned from volunteer crowdsourcing benefit Canadian emergency responders?<br />Can crowdsourcing be effective in remote areas?<br />Is there a map with data mash-up of cellular coverage and north fire risk areas?<br />
  32. 32. Discussion<br />
  33. 33. Contacts<br />Heather Leson @heatherleson<br />Heather@textontechs.com<br />Textontechs.com<br />Thank you to Maurits Van DerVlugt andGregory Asmolov for providing input and content for this presentation. And, to the Crisismappers community for ongoing dialogue.<br />Thank you to Patrick Meier and Jen Zemke for giving us a virtual home to meet and engage.<br />

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