6Nov

Crisismappers Pre-Conference Training 2014

Crisismappers are converging in New York City this week for the 6th Annual International Conference of CrisisMapping. The term “crisismapping” is fairly loose as the global community includes diversity in maps, data informatics, humanitarian technology and research. We are a collective of people who use maps, data and technology for humanitarian aid and international development. This year’s theme is: Affected Communities in the Spotlight.

More about ICCM

ICCM continues throughout the weekend. The main event is Friday, November 7, 2014 with keynotes and ignite talks. This will be livestreamed so that you can watch along from home or offices. Join the Crisismappers community to learn and build with us.

#iccmnyc

Follow us on the live stream: bit.ly/iccmnyclive

The ICCM 2014 Agenda

ICCM 2014

As the ICCM pre-conference training and field trips organizer is it my goal to unite the different disciplines in unique zones to build, learn and share. Our training offering is a community driven effort with 3 tracks: Maps, Knowledge and Mobile/Hardware. Sessions are ongoing all day today.

About Crisismappers:

The International Network of Crisis Mappers (Crisis Mappers Net) is the largest and most active international community of experts, practitioners, policymakers, technologists, researchers, journalists, scholars, hackers and skilled volunteers engaged at the intersection of humanitarian crises, new technology, crowd-sourcing, and crisis mapping. The Crisis Mappers Network was launched at the first International Conference on Crisis Mapping (ICCM) in 2009. As the world’s premier humanitarian technology forum, we engage 7,000+ members in over 160 countries, who are affiliated with over 3,000 different institutions, including more than 400 universities, 50 United Nations agencies & projects, first responders operating in both the civilian and military space, dozens of leading technology companies, several volunteer & technical community networks and global, national, and local humanitarian and disaster response and recovery organizations.

Pre-conference Training

The Maps track including many diverse map software organizations and communities. Sessions include Google (Christiaan Adams), CartoDB (Andy Eschbacher), Mapbox (Matthew Irwin, Aaron Lidman), Ushahidi (Sara-Jayne Terp), HOT/OSM/American Red Cross (Chris Daley, Dale Kunce) and ProPublica (Brian Jacobs sharinig about remote sensing verification).

Research/Knowledge: What is the impact of Crisismapping? What are some ways to monitor and evaluate projects? Which ethical scenarios do we encounter? How can design of a map or data collection tool change the data? Can we use human centered design? What is the current state of research in crisismapping?

There are two sessions in this ½ day Research/Knowlegde track:

1. Open Data for Resilience Initiative (OpenDRI) (John Crowley)
Natural hazards with low frequency can lurk in history’s invisible depths. How do we use open data to help affected communities to map and see these risks? How can open data help governments and donors invest in building resilience in the areas which have the highest impact for affected communities? Learn the tools that the World Bank’s Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery has built to use Open Data to drive Resilience.

2. Education project in Guatemala tracking mapping needs. (Colette Mazzucelli, NYU) introduces the Pre-Training Session. Kyle Matthews, Senior Deputy Director, Will to Intervene Project, Montreal Institute for Genocide and Human Rights Studies (MIGS), Concordia
University will begin the conversation. Kyle will introduce the Digital Mass Atrocity Prevention (DMAP) Lab at Concordia University as well as the ways in which MIGS Professional Training Programmes on the Prevention of Mass Atrocities have integrated analyses of mapping
technology projects. Cristian Silva, Director, IFIFT, will highlight our experiences in Guatemala participating in the Multidisciplinary Field School: Forensic Investigations. We will then respond to questions from those in attendance. This will be followed by a brainstorming session with NYU GIS Librarian Andrew Battista and NYU Senior Technology Specialist Him Mistry coordinated by Colette Mazzucelli and the ICCM 2014 Team.


Mobile and Hardware

Mobile and Hardware (eg. mobile apps, Google Glass, imagery, satellites, drones etc) are incorporated into many crisismapping projects. Crisismappers are exploring new technologies to collect data and map in the field. This session will highlight tools and techniques.

The following workshops will be provided:

Integrating inclusive technology (Valerie Oliphant, Social Impact Lab)
This workshop will explore the idea of inclusive technologies. What makes a particular technology accessible in a certain place and time? How can implementers assess their operating environment to choose technologies, channels and tools that best fit their needs?

We’ll be looking at how to determine the accessibility and usability of different initiatives for different projects and contexts. Do people own or have access to mobile phones? Do they use SMS? Which mobile networks have coverage? How can SMS empower community workers? We’ll also cover how to map out your project in a simple way that exposes risks and incentives.

PUNYA (Lalana Kagal, Fu-ming Shih, Andrew McKinney and Evan Patton MIT))
We have been working for the last two years in a system that allows anyone to quickly prototype and build mobile applications for crisis mapping and other humanitarian ends. The project name is PUNYA (http://air.csail.mit.edu/punya/), and it is completely free and open source.

Geothings
(Kuo-Yu (Slayer) Chuang)
This session will be discussing and testing disaster responding scenarios with ICT tools (SMS).

http://geothings.tw/


Reality Check on Mobile Health
(Michelle Hamilton-Page (Ushahidi))
In this workshop we will look at some examples of how health promotion is leveraging mobile – including near field communication, SMS and smartphone apps – to work with communities to build relevant, iterative tools for health. Let’s crowd-source some successes and failures in health and mobile tech and check in with where things are going from the local to the global context.

http://www.ushahidi.com/

ICCM Field Trips

From Balloon Mapping to oil testing kits, Public Lab is leading the way with environmental data collection. How can we have the earth talk to us and how can we collect environmental information around the world? We can build our own sensors and stitch our own maps. This workshop will teach you the skills in an urban setting.


Neighbourhood Resilience Field trip with Green Map: Hurricane Sandy Zone
(Wendy Brawer)
Occupy Sandy and local communities built placemaking and infrastructure to communicate and support a community in need. Emergency managers are building programmes to make the region more resilient. How can crisismappers learn from this field experience?

http://www.greenmap.org/greenhouse/en/home


Office of Emergency Management - City of New York
(Jim McConnell)New York City has one of the largest urban emergency ops centers. In this field trip, you will learn about their work and how they use crisismapping techniques.

Thank you to all the organizers, sponsors, participants and especially the Black Box Communications team for making this a success.

18Sep

Infusing Ethics into Data Projects

Education, assistance and enforcement are needed to build better, ethically balanced data-driven projects. The Ethics of Data workshop on the Data lifecycle discussed ethical scenarios and key aspects of a data-driven project. This lead to many sticky notes and attempts to create the big asks and some outputs. The participants came from many different disciplines, which helped us quality check and inform our review.

Our group together created 3 asks for further review:

  • Resources: This should be a center online for people and NGOs to share and find guides on building ethical data driven projects.
  • Tool/Template: There should be a data risk/benefits/costs template as part of every grant application to build better ethical projects from front to back.
  • Review: Could there be a non-profit assistance group that provides free, consultation on ethical questions? How would they enforce standards? Could it be like a review board for research projects?
  • Milestones for an Ethical Data Project:

    We created over 100 ideas and grouped them into categories as milestones. There should be checklists for each milestone including key questions for the team. While the EoD team started on the mini-ethical checklists, this really needs more iteration. We also highlighted some milestones that are often overlooked or underfunded such as: a data collection checklist, pilot, quality control, verification, documentation, secondary use and impact/monitoring & evaluation. One other observation in our conversations was proper project management skills to scope many of the ethical minefields in advance of the project pilot.

    Key milestones on the Data Drive project

    *****
    Without trying to influence the room, the key project milestones resemble the toolkits we created at Ushahidi. Toolkits, including the Ushahidi one, do need to include more ethical statements/checklists to improve the success of building better projects. But, toolkits are only as useful as those who use and enforce them.

    Infuse with Ethical Checklists

    We gifted the Responsible Data Forum with a list of 70 questions, terms and ideas for the key milestones. If all the various milestones of a data-driven project are infused with ethical questions, checklists, and recommendations, this resource would be incredibly useful. Participants suggested that the checklists start with very generic items, but be broken out into topical domain recommendations/checklist items. This is to ensure adoption and remix in diverse fields from human rights to health to science. Some of the questions that really drove conversations included:
    Data analysis: What do you do when your data analysis provides negative results (from your hypothesis)? Quality Control: Can the data be re-identified? Resourcing: Who can collect the data and why? Secondary data: What is the time horizon on the data and future use criteria?

    Key Questions from the Ethical Checklist

    Ethics of Data – Resource Center / Review Board:

    One of the outputs of our first day of brainstorming was the need to have an Ethical Resource and Review Board. The team split off to debate the pros and cons of this idea. They even determined some of the needed services such as legal referral.
    Ethics of Data Review board

    More resources:

    The EofD team recreated a list of additional Ethics reading. It might keep you up all night with worry, but better to be ‘in the know’.

    As well, here is a compilation on Domain-­specific digital ethics, practices, and conventions. The one that really opened my mind was the Bellagio Framework: “Big Data, Communities and Ethical Resilience: A Framework for Action.” They provided criteria to consider: Governance, Place, Socio-Cultural Context, Science, and Technology.

    Thank you

    Thanks to our hosts at Stanford Center for Philanthropy and Civil Society (Kim Meredith, Lucy Bernholz, Rob Reich and Sam Spiewak) for making the Ethics of Data event possible. Thanks to my co-host Patrick Vinck of Harvard Humanitarian Initiative for great conversations. As always, Aspiration (Gunner and Misty) supported us with facilitation that inspired a collaborative and productive event for all. And, lastly, thank you to all the participants for being so thoughtful and inspiring teachers as we all trundle down this journey to bring better decision-making to all of our work.

    (Note: It is my hope that we can infuse HOT with some of this work and trial some ideas in our work. I’ll be sharing it with my fellow Board members and the HOT Community.)

15Sep

Data Cycling: From Choices to Consent

Stanford University has convened the Ethics of Data conference this week bringing leaders from industry, humanitarian, research and civil society together to discuss and build plans for data ethics in all our work. I’m participating by co-leading a workshop on the redefining the Data Lifecycle with my colleague, Patrick Vinck of Harvard Humanitarian Initiative.

Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team

The Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team and the wider Crisismappers community are discussing and using drones and satellites to capture imagery of land changes, displaced camps and post-disaster areas. Some of the topics we are discussing within these communities include how to include local NGOs and the government. In times of crisis, humanitarians and technologists are moving very fast. We need to have more guidance, research and best practices. At the Ethics of Data event, we will use HOT as an example data project in our conversations.

The HOT community is incredibly committed to helping humanitarians and affected communities with maps. We are frequency discussing how and what types of aerial imagery be shared. What kind of training do we provide for review and use of aerial imagery? What happens to the data after the emergency? What kind of ethical code should we provide for all Digital Humanitarians? As HOT builds Open Aerial Map and groups like the UAViators come to existence, we need to consider data education and use beyond text and include video, photos and drone/satellite imagery. In the US, Mapbox is educating use of drones by creating a map of where not to fly. This work is moving faster than the research. It is my hope from the Ethics of Data event that I will be able to convene conversations within HOT to determine our next steps. Keeping in mind that every humanitarian situation is different as are the jurisdictions in which global, local and remote contributors participate.

What about the Data Pipeline?

Data Storytelling via Infogr.am

Data Storytelling Lifecycle via Infogr.am

All around the world journalists, civil society groups and governments are working on open data projects. HOT is just one of many projects aimed at using open data to affect change. Determining the new data pipeline could be informed by HOT’s experiences. In the past year, I have been at countless events where people talk about the importance of open data, the importance of the data pipeline and the impact of data storytelling. I also believe that data needs to be open, when appropriate. But, I am wary about preaching about open data without including a clear ethical compass. One of the main reasons that data is not open is that people do not trust how the data will be used. And, frankly, it is very unclear what constitutes a clean dataset. Over the past years, I have worked with Geeks without Bounds, Ushahidi and Data Science for Social Good to try and solve this challenge with checklists or tools. Every dataset begets new questions. All of our work needs to be infused with questions about data accuracy and data ethics. It is misplaced as an afterthought.

Processing the Data Pipeline

This is a Data pipeline via OKFN:
Data processing pipeline (OKFN)

We need to create communities and tools with the data ethics checklists embedded into every aspect of projects from inception to funding to creation to education to analysis and to impact assessments. I’m truly looking forward to rethinking data project lifecycles and sharing the outputs with various communities to discover and remix together.

How would you rebuild the Data Lifecycle?

(Thanks to Nika Aleksejeva from Infogr.am for the Data Storytelling diagram.)

14Jul

Ok go! What are you doing at OKfest14?

Ok go! This week 1000 people converge in Berlin for Okfestival with many more participating and observing online. We are here to instigate open action and open minds.

The Open Knowledge Festival 2014 will be our biggest open data and open knowledge event to date. It will be global, inclusive and participatory. We expect it to create a significant local and international surge of innovation.

Throughout the festival, I will be leading the Community storytelling team. I’ll mostly be using twitter and storify to curate stories. Also, expect pictures and maybe some videos with attendees. During this event, I am also running or assisting on a large number of sessions and side events, plus attending some key sessions.

okfest logo

Here’s my schedule for the following week. See some of you soon! And, for friends who aren’t here, see you online (all items are at the OKFEST venue unless stated otherwise):

Sunday, July 13th (completed)

Watch Germany win world cup, walk to celebration at Brandenburg Gate (checkmark)

Monday, July 14th (completed)

Hold informal #geobeers with mapper and activist friends in Berlin at Strandbar (so amazing, done-so)

OKfest Opening Day: Tuesday, July 15th
Open Knowledge Community Summit (13:00 – 16:00 CET)

stickies are love

This is a community-driven event to talk about the Open Knowledge community. See all the details. I’ll be hosting a sub-group to talk about the last 5 months of community programming and get input into the next steps.

Storytelling team meeting (17:00 CET)

Sharing stories, ideas and moments is such a big part of community events. I’ve had much practice curating and encouraging stories at large events. Join our Storytelling team and meet other digital curators. Look for folks with blue ribbons or tweet us at #okstory with blog links, videos, photos, headlines and key themes.

How to join: Review our Storytelling wiki page, add your name to our etherpad, tweet @heatherleson or with #okstory to meet team members. Our first meeting is at 5pm in the Media Hub room at the Okfest venue. We will have other informal meetings to be announced throughout the event. Stay tuned.

School of Data Table at the open night (18:00 – 21:00 CET)

Come meet the School of Data existing and new fellows, local partners and team. Ask questions, get involved.

Community Drinks (21:30 – on)

The Community team is hosting an informal drinks night. Join us for chats and connecting.
Location: Prater Garten

Bike by

OkFest First day: Wednesday, July 16th

Storytelling Team meeting like at 8:30am at venue. TBD, see #okstory.

Sessions:
I’ll be attending all the morning sessions. Truly, super excited for Ory to talk plus graffiti activists!!

Open Coalition (12:00 – 13:00)

Help us build an Open Coalition across various open organizations and individuals. We have common missions and are stronger together.

Power, Politics, Inclusion and voice


“Data, information, knowledge is created in a political environment where power dynamics dictate who is/is not included in the creation process. Unless we consider who is involved in knowledge construction we run the risk of simply entrenching existing power structures. If open data is dominated by data produced in the Global North what chance do we have in redressing the balance of power for an equitable world? “

Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team Workshop (16:30 -17:30 CET)

Humanitarian OpenStreetMap team will share stories and do a demo with hands on support. Super excited to support Katie and other Hotties on this.

Open Mapping Party

Join the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team, CartoDB, Development Seed, Zeit Online and Mapbox to talk open mapping strategies and tools over drinks. Heather Leson, Ian Schuler, Javier de la Torre, Alex Barth and Paul Blickle are in town and ready to connect over humanitarian response, data visualizations, OpenStreetMap and satellite imagery. We are inviting map nerds, enthusiasts and friends to join us for a mapper night. Sign up here.

survey tape for teams

Okfest Second day: Thursday, July 17th
Storytelling team – meeting tbd

Day 3 of Community Storytelling. Stay tuned for more highlights and a meeting

Crisis.net (12:00 – 13:00)

Crisis.net is a new open tool from the amazing Ushahidi folks. The team will share a demo and answer questions. I’m expecting many civil society and journalists to join in the conversations. Session details.

Low Tech Data : Storytelling and Storyfinding (14:00 – 15:00)

Rahul and Gabi will be a fantastic hosts for this session at the heart of every impact for civil society and activists. See more details:

Looking for creative ways to find and present data stories in low-tech settings? We will share our hands-on, participatory techniques for bringing people together around data to find and tell powerful stories without computers. You’ll walk away with skills and ideas to help the communities you work with!

Working with data can empower or disempower. Algorithms, technical language, unfamiliar processes – these all leave many communities incapable of working with data, or understanding data-driven discussions. Most folks don’t “speak data”.

How to Teach Open Data (15:30 – 16:30)

Join the School of Data and friends to learn best practices in teaching open data. (full details) We’ll have a world cafe to share

  • How to organise tech and data workshops
  • Building effective curriculum and accreditation
  • Type of education activities: a blended offline, online
  • Designing passion driven communities (I’ll be with Bekka from P2PU)
If I had more time or a time machine, I would attend these amazing sessions too!

School of Data

School of Data Summer Camp (Potsdam) (invite only): Friday, July 18, 2014 – Monday July 21, 2014

School of Data is the division that I work in at Open Knowledge. This summer camp includes fellows, partners and local instances of School of Data. We will talk about strategies, share skills and develop plans for the upcoming year. I am specifically sharing community programming and community engagement best practices:

July 22nd, 2014

FALL OVER, Report back, sleep!!!

12Jul

Bring Kurios to your Community

Kurios is Cirque du Soleil’s latest creation called the Carnival of Curiosities. Recently I had the chance to attend this delightful event in Montreal. From the storylines to costumes to sheer talent to showmanship, I watched the show with marvel and true inspiration. Every day since experiencing it I’ve been thinking about how we can share sustainable positive energy and beauty in our communities. As my sister calls it: joyful noise.

What if we reimagine how we build Digital and open communities with this key sentiment?

I’m at the airport on my way to Okfestival. This event includes all the amazing elements of global, cross-topic and multidisciplinary mayhem you can muster. Having attended OSCON for the past few years, I am really keen to meet many diverse open communities that are not all baked in open source software. (Miss you guys at OSCON already. (First love))

Join the circus

We are all in this big tent and want to expand the circle. While we focus on the actions, tasks, missions, outcomes, we should also practise like a trapeze artist, shine like the instigator clown, invite like the host, tantalize like the contortionists, but more of all: tie it together by inviting all the crazy items to flow and exist.

Often lately I am confounded by how to muster community spirt and connect all the diverse contact points into a thematic joyful space. While everyone has their niche thing that they love, we, as community leaders, want to have a light touch that brings everyone together. The undying passion of building that something important, special, needed often can be so strong that it might push people away or worse, burn out the very leaders that we want to nurture. Communities need an on ramp and need to be a welcoming place. Have you ever done the starfish as part of Pilates? It is beautiful but lopsided. This is the state of most communities I’ve seen lately. To grow, our jobs are cut out as we need to build spaces that are flexible, inspiring and healthy. This week has been full of huge teaching and sharing moments. Step by step.

My favourite visual artist just completed a show in Toronto called
Systematic complexity. Etienne Gelinas combines maps, mathematical principles and dynamic colours. I’m completely infatuated with his crazy compelling lines. Every community is different. The canvas we share is remixable. The heart needs to grow and find its inner circus while being focused on having a traveling show of curiosities with systematic complexity.

15Jun

Batman, Foodies, Fashion + CrisisMaps at Next Day Better

Building a common good unites us. This Thursday I’m participating in Next Day Better in Toronto. This is such a special event combining fun, food, art and technology to inspire people to make the Next Day Better. I’ll share the story of Crisismappers highlighting the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team response in the Philippines.

How will I make the Next Day Better?

I help people get more involved in their world. One example is supporting an open community-driven digital humanitarian response.

“We are a culture platform that builds and activates diaspora communities to create a better future. We believe that diasporas like the Philippines global community are hubs and inspirations for social innovation, incredible design, and world changing ideas. We bring these doers and change makers together to share their stories and make the next day better.”

nextdaybetter

Tickets are only $20.00 with amazing talks and food! Please join us.

Help Share about Next Day Better

Facebook updates:

We’re partnering with social innovation group @NextDayBetter to celebrate their launch in Toronto on June 19. It will be a night of inspired talks from changemakers – the #Philippines is ready for open-source mapping! If you’re in Toronto, RSVP here.

Amazing things are happening June 19 – board member/idea hacker Heather Leson will be @NextDayBetter’s launch in Toronto as they bring big-idea thinkers, amazing work doers and changemakers together. Get your tickets here.

Tweets:

We’re partnering w/ @NextDayBetter for their launch in #Toronto 6/19! Learn more: http://www.bit.ly/NextDayBetterTOR

The #Philippines is ready. Join us @NextDayBetter Toronto launch | 6/19 7pm | RSVP http://www.bit.ly/NextDayBetterTOR

About NextDayBetter

NextDayBetter is a platform that spreads ideas and actions that make the next day better. Ideas and actions are Philippines-flavored and rooted in design, entrepreneurship and innovation.

We invite innovators entrepreneurs, designers, do gooders — both Filipino and Non-Filipino—to share their stories about creating a better future.

Visit www.nextdaybetter.com for more information.

I found out about the Next Day Better group after engaging with folks around Hacking PH: focused on rebuilding a resilient Philippines. They really inspired me with their approach to building community locally and globally.

How will you make the Next Day Better?

14Jun

DISPATCH: HOT @ IEEE Humanitarian Technology Conference

[Cross-post from the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team blog]

A few weeks ago the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team was a guest of the 2014 IEEE Canada International Humanitarian Technology Conference (IHTC). In the session, Samual Paul Alce, Pierre Beland and I each presented about to share all about the community, activations and how to use OpenStreetmap. It was an honour to participate and share the HOT story with such an important organization. It is our goal to build relationships with groups like IEEE to improve processes and technical implementation. We would like to thank Alfredo Herrara, Glenn McKnight and the whole IEEE IHTC team for inviting us. It was a pleasure to host this session with my guests: Pierre and Samuel. Here is the abstract and our slides with speaker’s notes:

Abstract

Since the Haiti earthquake in 2010, new partners support the UN Agencies and International organizations through the Web 2.0 or Collaborative Web. OpenStreetMap is one of these community of volunteers. It has shown on several occasions its ability to mobilize hundreds of contributors and support remotely, providing maps and services necessary for such actions. The Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team (HOT) makes the bridge with the humanitarian organizations.

In this session, we will discuss open source methods for humanitarian technology. The workshop will include an overview of Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team’s (HOT) activities, some of the tools and best practices. We will include stories of activations around the world from Indonesia to Haiti to Philippines and the DRC. Our session also includes hands on training from HOT community leaders. Join us and learn about new methods in digital and in-person responders using OpenStreetMap.

8Jun

Mesh in the Open

Mesh is Canada’s premier digital conference about what is next in business, media, marketing and society. The diverse participants always inspire. This year was no exception from Neil Harbisson’s cyborg activist to Mark Little on telling stories better with Storyful my brain is still spinning from the eclectic conversations.

This year I had the honour of running a workshop with Gabe Sawhney about Open Data, Civic Tech and Hacking for Good. We made our session fairly interactive with some slides to frame questions and then 5 breakout groups to talk about everything from technology in the upcoming Toronto elections or building a civic hack lab in the city. Each group had 30 minutes to talk amongst themselves and then provide report-backs. Thanks to the MESH team for inviting us to hack the conference process and bring our civic engagement spin to the event.


17May

Get Involved Dreaming

We want to do something, share and participate in our world. And, we want inspire others to join in our various parades. What is the on ramp for Get Involved in our neighbourhood, our city, our country and our world? Organizers and citizens could circle the globe and back citing examples of websites that ask you to Join, Participate, or Get Involved.

Getting Involved Dreaming means considering how can we stitch together all the amazing opportunities in a collaborative and citizen-focused way. From offline to online engagement, there is a buffet of awesome for communities and companies. Each has a Get Involved strategy focused on their ROI goals or theory of change. When Linked In created their Volunteer site, I cheered. This combined with the rise of Corporate Social Responsibility programs is just touching the surface. From NationBuilder or Crowdrise, you see that there are a million ways to help organizations or individuals build “get involved” and create “fundraising’ opportunities. This is the same for open source, crisismappers and digital volunteers. Every day at Ushahidi I wondered about how to help all these citizen mappers force multiply their mission. Each of their ideas and projects truly matter in the world. Mozilla and Ubuntu have some best practices for Getting Involved Strategies in open source communities. The Digital Humanitarian Network was created to help people and organizations connect during times of crisis. My colleague, Patrick Meier, created AIDR: Artificial Intelligence for Disaster Response with the Qatar Computing Research Institute. This is micro-mapping and volunteer tasking at is small bit best. Social Coding 4 Good focuses on developers and technical folks whereas Do Something is for teens. In Canada, there is Getinvolved.ca. I could spend all day giving examples of excellence in building community.

What if we dream a bit bigger and turn the model around to help our common mission?

book staircase, berlin

Master Search: Get involved, Community of Practice

What if we pulled back and had a Master Search for all these amazing things we could do to help our neighbours? The software exists, we just need to collaborate a bit more and aim for easy access for citizens to find their doing or giving passion. The key audience would be participants, doers, citizens and you. We would have a JOIN showcase. It is a simple navigator that Asks people what they want to do or what they want to give. The aggregator would then help match them to tasks and communities. Think of it as a global MATCH.com for giving. We would give love to open source organizations, corporations, non-profits, community-based organizations and citizens. Truly, this is all hands on deck to make it possible for anyone and any organization to connect. Using my Bit, Bye and Meal Deal community building framework, we could tailor it with the code to help people Choose their own adventure based on topic, time, location and their learning/doing/giving path.

The Community of Practice for Organizers would be the second audience. This would include anyone who wants to share and help make it easier for people to get involved in their world. It is not limited to non-profits alone, but for companies who have CSR programmes or Open Source groups. While I don’t want to simplify any of the amazing efforts, I’d like to see a common place for organizers to unite and share best practices and maybe build some common toolsets. Right now this is scattered. We have to hunt down articles on Chronicle for Philanthropy, join the Community Roundtable, seek counsel at NTEN , find each other in the halls at OSCON (create a Birds of a Feather) or attend the Community Leadership Summit. I created this fledgling mailing list to try to connect organizers some.

What’s in the Code? Pybossa or Crowdcrafting was built to help matchmake people to tasks. Mozilla has even adopted this great tool: What can I do for Mozilla? (See the code.) There is a new Canadian company called AskforTask that matches people to tasks for pay. What if this type of code was for volunteering? We are closer to this master search or JOIN dashboard everyday.

What examples can you share? Are you working on this? Do you want to help me try and sort out this tangled dream of helping people get more involved in their world? You can join the mailing list or drop a note on this post.

(Photo: Story of Berlin (March 2013))

15May

Matter @ Go Open Data

Matter. Every morning we wake up and do things that matter. All of us have different versions or reasons behind “matter“. Some of us work because it provides fuel to things that matter to us like family, savings, neighbourhoods, future, or another cup of coffee. Some of us are very lucky to work on items close to our own values.

Lately I’ve been thinking more and more about how to get to the next 20000 or 2 million people who think that Open Government and Open Data Matters. Well, it strikes me that we are focusing on “matter” from the wrong direction. We are caught up in the conversations and techniques (portals, datasets). While these are very important, I think that miss the true opportunity to really talk with our neighbours. Today I am going to cite some global and local examples to highlight how we can possibly get to “matter more”.

The full Go Open Data:

A Build a Data Community Model

In the community management field, we create community playbooks. These are strategies and common methodologies to support our agendas. Here are 24 things that you can do to build community by various levels of engagement from just a little bit to more of a byte to a full meal deal experience. Your community members really lead programming to guide you in your tailored choices. I’ve hacked together a data community playbook model with Doug Belshaw & Mozilla’s Web Literacy matrix to share some ideas on how we can build global communities. Let’s keep remixing. Every community is unique, but these are some thoughts on how to build openly.

Note: This is an interactive chart. Simply role your cursor over the columns to see more data.

(on Infogram)

******

My full speaker notes

Here is a rough edit of my speaker notes and all the associated resources:

Slide 1: Matter
Matter.

Every morning we wake up and do things that matter. All of us have different versions or reasons behind matter. Some of us work because it provides fuel to things that matter to us like family, savings, neighbourhoods, future, or another cup of coffee. Some of us are very lucky to work on items close to our own values. This is a big responsibility. Not every citizen has this privilege.

Lately I’ve been thinking more and more about how to get to the next 20000 or 2 million people who think that Open Government and Open Data Matters. Well, it strikes me that we are focusing on “matter” from the wrong direction. We are caught up in the conversations and techniques (Portals, datasets) that miss the true opportunity to really talk with our neighbours. Today I am going to cite some global and local examples to highlight how we could potentially “matter more”.

(Event: Go Open Data)

Slide 2: Leaders, Teachers, Methods, Capacity Building, Core Processes.

As a crisis mapper, we tend to seek data and information like a high speed train of contributors and information. Some of the things we’ve learned are directly applicable to what the good folks in Ontario and Canada are trying to do.

Two stories:
Navigators: Humanitarian OpenStreetMap team and wider OSM community responded to the Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines. Pierre Beland of QC (Canada) with Andrew Buck (US) worked very closely with Maning Sambale (Philippines) to remap the affected areas. These maps were then used by the American Red Cross, UN OCHA and MSF for logistics and response. How? Map Capacity, global outreach, Consumers (people who need the data) and tools like Task Manager to make it easy to share. It was an amazing effort. I had the opportunity to participate and host events in London, UK and Nairobi, Kenya. This was partially successful due to matchmaking by navigators who acted as map mentors with new mappers. We also asked some tough questions about satellite imagery, licenses and should we use drone imagery. Drones for data collection is a hard topic. The privacy issues and data integrity were also hot discussions. We don’t have the answers but we all need to ask questions about privacy and possibilities. We should be asking these hard data questions now for our province and country.

Teaching Data Skills/Data Literacy: A data portal is not an end in itself, we need to unlock it. The Govt of the Philippines and the World Bank are working with the School of Data. My colleague is in the Philippines right now working with them on these data issues. School of Data has free courses online. Take them, remix them. They belong to everyone who needs data and data skills.


Resources:

  • schoolofdata.org
  • hotopenstreetmap.org
  • http://tasks.hotosm.org/
  • http://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Typhoon_Haiyan
  • http://data.gov.ph/
  • http://americanredcross.github.io/OSM-Assessment/
  • American Red Cross and HOT member Dale Kunce presents on the Impact of HOT – http://vimeo.com/91926804

Slide 3: Feelings and We are all data providers/collectors

At the OpenGovernment Partnership meetings in London UK last year, I had an “Ahh moment”. Chuks from Reclaim Naija ( a Nigerian community based organization) questioned the IATI speaker about “success” for budget data. He said “We won’t trust the budget data unless we are involved in the process.” While participatory budgeting is on its way in Canada, what really struck me about this statement was “Feelings.”

While we mosey down the Open Data is great parade, we need to talk about and deal with feelings about open data.

This brings up key questions – Do Ontarians trust their governments? Are we comfortable with the process?

Data collection and sharing is not about just the government. It is about citizens too. As we participate, we should collect datasets to compare and hold our governments and ourselves accountable. We should not wait for our government or big businesses to do this for us. This is our neighbourhood, our country too.

Resources:

  • http://reclaimnaija.net/
  • http://communitylifeproject.org/
  • http://africacenter.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/ARP5-Africas-Information-Revolution1.pdf
  • http://textontechs.com/2013/11/data-soup-ingredients-feelings-methods-and-next-steps/

4. Navigation: Are we reaching people? Businesses? How will we incorporate new technology?
I worry often that as we focus on Open Data for municipalities and what we ‘those in the know’ want from Open Data. How can we focus on what matters to people? I think we need to change this conversation.

How will sensor data be used in the next 10 years?
A friend of mine is interested in water quality and sensors. He would like to implement this in northern towns because what really matters is Water. What can we do with open data, sensors, programming and community engagement in Northern Ontario? How can we apply the elements I mentioned from Typhoon Haiyan or Reclaim Naija, but for Ontario?

All of this goes back to: Who are we involving in this conversation and why? Are we asking the right questions? And, do our NGOs, Civil society and neighbours have the skills they need to use open data for their work. The answer is – not yet.

Paul Baines is leading a project across Southern Ontario about water tracking and sustainability programming. The purpose of this participatory map is to give people a shared space to mark, explore, and dialogue about a Great Lakes Commons.
Paul needs data skills and some datasets – in terms of open data for the Commons Map – He needs:

- bottled water permits for all political jurisdictions surrounding the great lakes
- city, provincial, and federal parks
- crown, shared, and private land ownership
- watershed boundaries for all jurisdictions
- native reserves in the USA parts of the great lakes
- public hiking/biking trails for the Great Lakes
- solar and wind energy locations
- organic farms locations

We’ll hold a workshop to support his project in the coming months. But who else out needs these skills? Who is navigating all these organizations and businesses from ‘yeah, open data’ to ‘how you make it work for you’. While I am not talking about hand-holding the talent, I am saying that this gap is not going away. I’m excited about the Ontario government’s and the various city governments for their commitment to open data. Maybe we need a Service Ontario approach to Open Data. In the meantime, I have hope for people like CODI – Canadian Open Data Institute and MARsDD, Center for Social Innovation and others to make it possible. We need a civil society and neighbourhood action plan. Well, beyond what the government can do.

Recently I was speaking with a Toronto businessman about Open Data. He said: “What I really want is infrastructure data to make decisions about my business.” (Specifically he wants access to public data, like conduit and pole data.) He said that the cost to get that was very very high. I have true hope that this programme and our conversations today will help Open Data matter for him and the 100 or so people that he employs.

Resources

  • http://www.ctvnews.ca/canada/kashechewan-residents-evacuated-over-flood-fears-1.1818986
  • http://myeinsteinjob.blogspot.ca/
  • http://myeinsteinjob.blogspot.ca/2014/04/open-government-tour-2014.html
  • http://tctrail.ca/explore-the-trail/
  • http://nationalmap.gov/index.html
  • http://greatlakescommonsmap.org/

Slide 5: Are we asking the right questions?

The new Government of Ontario site is great start. You are asking for input. But – Point blank – are we asking the right questions to make open data and open government matter to most Ontarian…not just those in the “know” or “those online” or those in “niche circles”. Open Data is also really about citizen engagement and citizen data collection. This will help it be more sustainable and with a richer impact.

We need to go outside and get uncomfortable. In a few months, why not have an Open Government Kashachewan session? How can we use open data to help our neighbours who live in rural Ontario? How can we use open data to help emergency managers? These are highly complex questions that deserve our attention. Otherwise, our work is in vain and tailored for a niche audience. I think the best programmes using technology and intellect are those based on the practice of being a good neighbour. I am not saying that Open Data can solve wicked problems, but it should be part of the toolkits.

“Report author James Anaya, the UN special rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples, said there appears to be a high level of distrust among aboriginals in Canada toward the federal and provincial governments.”

Resources:

  • http://www.ctvnews.ca/canada/kashechewan-residents-evacuated-over-flood-fears-1.1818986#ixzz31caBbOlh“
  • http://www.ontario.ca/government/government-ontario-open-data

Slide 6: Community Playbook: Here are 24 things that could help build your community.
Go outside, remix community play books by audiences, and ask the right questions. We need consider Tim Horton’s, Community Centers and Churches as access points to Open Government and Open Data. This is why I am excited about Richard Pietro’s OpenGov Tour across Canada or the work of Marsdd or CODI. We need more creative ways to listen and create value. Maybe we should partner with bands and artists more. How would they tell this story that is currently policy laden. We don’t know another latest, greatest ‘in python not php’ transportation app. We need to dream a bit bigger and listen, really listen to what else might matter to our neighbours.

During Open Data Day, the community in Buenos Aires went outside and made a mural. What are other creative ways that we can reach people?

Coffee chats should be around community engagement and playbooks. What are the steps by audience tip and each of the associated programs behind this?

Next steps: Here are 24 tactics and programmes that could help. By all means, remix these. Please share back your community building tactics.

https://infogr.am/build-your-community?src=web

To sum – There is a global community using citizen created data and building participatory data programmes. Just ask and you might find others who are using open data for a widerange of topics that matter.

Resources:

  • http://dougbelshaw.com/blog/2013/04/02/web-literacy-standard-a-modest-proposal-weblitstd/
  • https://wiki.mozilla.org/Learning/WebLiteracyStandard
  • http://www.communityroundtable.com/research/community-maturity-model/
  • http://www.communityroundtable.com/research/the-state-of-community-management/the-state-of-community-management-2013/
  • http://www.communityroundtable.com/research/state-of-community-management-2014/
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