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Instedd: Mobile Collaboration for Disaster Response


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InSTEDD presentation on a panel with Erik Hersman of Ushahidi and Christopher Fabian of UNICEF.

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Instedd: Mobile Collaboration for Disaster Response

  1. 1. Mobile Collaboration for Disaster Response Problems, Methods, and Tools Robert Kirkpatrick Chief Technology Officer
  2. 2. We create free and open-source software for collaboration toward collective action. We then teach other people how to create it for themselves.
  3. 3. Some of the most pertinent questions in disaster response…are collaboration questions What in formation What field reports isn’t getting to and alerts should thos e who need come faster? it? Which groups Which systems should be making need to share more decisions inform ation? together?
  4. 4. Refugee management Katrina response In our opinion, collaboration, in humanitarian action is THE critical task Cholera outbreak
  5. 5. What ought to happen every time: 1. Diverse organizations self-organize temporarily into a coherent whole. 2. Information flows freely, reliably, and securely. 3. Information flows up, down, and sideways. 4. Information flows across geographic, cultural, technical, and organizational boundaries 5. Information shared is timely, accurate, complete, relevant, and credible. 6. All actors -- including those in the field, in the community, at the edge of the network – maintain a common operating picture. 7. The response is agile, coordinated, efficient, and effective.
  6. 6. Challenges in crisis collaboration • Harsh field conditions • Slow, unreliable networks • Hot, tired, busy, scared users • Disincentives for cooperation • Unsuitable platforms • Slow and inaccurate data collection • Lack of tools for information sharing • Low signal-to-noise ratio • How to include the local community?
  7. 7. The role of collaboration technology • Problem – Agencies can’t (or won’t) collaborate effectively in crisis. • Observation – Technical obstacles are an easy scapegoat and are frequently used as an excuse for not working together. • Hypothesis – Mutual recognition that there is a new class of software that is effective, free, standards-based, easy to use, sustainable, measurable, and flexible…will change the rules of the game. • Approach – We’ve built four free and open-source tools as prototypes for improved collaboration in crisis. They fill gaps we identified. • Implementation – beta evaluation in progress with all four in Southeast Asia
  8. 8. We think this is what collaboration requires… (…and we hope you have already built much of this.)
  9. 9. We work on several principles… • Participatory design • Agile development • Build only where we must • Internal capacity first • Teach innovation Innovation Lab Phnom Penh
  10. 10. Stung Treng Province, Cambodia: SMS is the only option…
  11. 11. Mesh4X: a data-mesh synchronization platform: bring together tools, services, data, and people in a collaborative network •Cross-device •Cross-platform •Cross-application •Redundant •Socially-neutral •Standards-based •Works offline •HTTP and SMS •Hibernate, KML, and JavaRosa
  12. 12. Linking early detection to rapid response: from a faint signal to collective action Real-time exchange of Merge information & Immediate analysis Analyze & decision support - Collective understanding - Response initiation Informed Peer-to-peer information collective sharing and collaboration action
  13. 13. Mesh4X and Forms on Mobile Phones • Collect information in the field • Press “sync” • The information on the phone can be linked by Mesh4x and SMS to: – spreadsheets – databases – Google Earth – And to anywhere in the world
  14. 14. GeoChat: Emergent Awareness
  15. 15. GeoChat Preview Features 1. Group chat on a map surface 2. Via SMS, email, or browser 3. Int’l gateway +45 60 99 10 321 4. Twitter integration 5. SMS command interface 6. Automatic geo-coding 7. Supports location and tags 8. Public or private chat groups 9. Optional anonymity 10. RSS feed relay over SMS
  16. 16. Example command syntax
  17. 17. Reflections for discussion Mobiles play a critical but partial role in crisis management. Successful mobile collaboration solutions for crisis management will have broad utility in other settings and markets. As with all disaster technology, interoperability trumps features. Pay attention to ease of data access and data integration when shopping. Robert Kirkpatrick CTO, InSTEDD Broad adoption and daily use are key, so look at other scenarios. +1 650 796 5709 Skype: robertkirkpatrick Issues: anonymity vs. verifiability, authentication, authorization, data retention. Thoughts?