Why we volunteer #YolandaPH

My spare time has been handed over to #YolandaPH response via the Digital Humanitarian Network. We are working in sprints on images and information (Tweets) to help sift data. This is all being added to map.

You can participate too
Screen Shot 2013-11-12 at 7.53.42 PM

The Humantarian OpenStreetMap Team and the whole OSM community are mapping infrastructure. It is amazing to observe. More on their efforts.

Quick observations and Why we Volunteer:

Diggz from Geeks without Bounds said it well: WE, the open mapping and volunteer community, have a lot to learn and re-learn. Those of us involved in the Haiti online response are already having flashbacks about duplication and confusion. It is bound to happen but it has improved some.

The tools still need work, but the purpose is clear: We know that together if we collaborate we may be able to help information and decisions.

I am seeing many many tweets asking for money. Some are legitimate, trusted organizations. Some are really unknown. I’ve seen people trying to sell stuff and say that they will give a percentage to aid. I’ve seen people offer to add their ‘brand’ to things. But, the overwhelming parts are the folks who have family there. Then, the pictures. All we can do is focus on our tasks.

Our community takes care of each other. We check in about rest, food and health. We welcome new people. We are all learning as we go.

All of us feel guilty for having jobs, personal needs and less time. I feel guilty posting this summary. But, I know that I need to tell what is happening. For us, we volunteer because we want to help in what we know we can do from our couches, our late night hub spaces and around the globe. We do this because we know that we can help. And, that our very small part might help a responder or a family know more details. We do this because we want to help those people.

Some examples of communication and tools:

My dashboard:
Skype, IRC and Micromappers (add to this tons of tabs)
Screen Shot 2013-11-12 at 7.28.52 PM

An example of the Micromapper tool using Crowdcrafting software. This was incubated as part of the OKFN Labs.(my employer)

Why does Crisismapping matter for Open Data?

Crisismapping inspired me to work in Open Data. The world needs it to make better decisions in crisis and beyond. This means using open data and open collaboration.

In times of crisis (see the Yolanda response) we all seek every type of open data set we can. We have governments, civil society, private sector and individuals all working together or in parallel. While the volunteering is very busy, I see it as the future for how we can get people to care about open data in sprints on any topic.

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