Tag: Canada


Expats Watch The Hip

On Saturday night, the Tragically Hip will play its last show of the Man Machine Poem Tour. Gord Downie, the lead singer, is ill so it is expected to be the last show. All around Canada people are planning Tragically Hip listening parties. My social stream is full of memories, videos and plans. The Hip, as one dear friend pointed out, is the soundtrack of some of our lives. Canadian. It strikes the core of our quiet nationalism, understated but passionate. A Slate article helps explains it some. But over 30 years of life and music memories including of one of my favourites of Gord “swimming” on the Ontario Place rotating stage to “New Orleans is Sinking” (August 1991!). It is hard to explain or enumerate how the music just layered and supported our own stories. Thank you.

Click here to get listening options.

CLOSED For Hockey

Watching from afar

The CBC is broadcasting the show across radio, tv and youtube. I emailed them hoping that the livestream would not be blocked. They assured me that there is no geofencing, that stream is open for the world. You see, as an expat, we are already far away. Shared experiences become even more precious. The concert starts at 03:30am AST in Qatar. For a friend in Hong Kong, it is 5 hours ahead. Each of us plans to find a stream and watch. Our ‘Canadian’ family and friends are timezones away. Yet, we can participate thanks to the CBC, the band and, surely, the lawyers making it possible.

Saturday nights, in season, is always Hockey Night in Canada. This time the main show will be music. In 2010, Canada had a huge hockey game in the Winter Olympics. Literally, there were signs all over my Toronto neighbourhood. I took a picture and posted to Twitter that Neighbourhood, City and Country was Closed for Hockey. Across Canada people will have a large shared and in person time to watch the Hip. It will be well-known that this is happening. For those of us abroad, we’ll be online. Thank goodness for the internet to help connect us. If you see a sad expat Canadian on August 20/21, ask us about the show.

My thoughts are with the band, their friends and their families.

Time for some Courage. #homesick

(Images in the sign are from Noun Project. CCBY. The “x” is by Doejo and the “sign” is by Kate T. The sign was made with Canva.)


Canadian Mappers Prepare for Spring Floods

Ushahidi Mappers in Canada!

(cross-posted on the Ushahidi blog)

Be still my prairie girl heart. Laura Madison and Dale Zak spent the winter preparing for the Spring floods in Manitoba and Saskatchewan. Extensive flooding is expected in both the Red River Valley and North/South Saskatchewan River regions. This is the first time that Ushahidi has been used to prepare and to report the Floods in Canada. In fact, both maps are the first time that full scale Ushahidi maps have been prepared as part of the citizen reporting and digital volunteer response in Canada. There are Canadian university classes learning Ushahidi and CrisisCamp Toronto conducted an Ushahid beta test in February 2011. Laura is very active in the Ushahidi and Stand-by Task Force communities. Dale is active in the Ushahidi team. Each of us has mapped events around the world. And, we are delighted to see mapping come home.

How to help

Ushahidi is an open source project. There are three types of help required: Mappers, Developers, and Digital Volunteers. Maps are community-driven crowdsourcing. In the coming weeks, the needs will change daily or hourly. This is the beauty and curse of volunteer digital response. Both leaders have been in contact with official responders. However, at this time, their efforts are for citizen response and collaboration.

MBfloods and SKFloods maps allow for reports to be filed by webform, Ushahidi app, iphone, android, or email. Maps allow for various layers of useful open data to be added. People will be able to add news reports, pictures and videos. Maps evolve depending on the community use. So the needs will change over time. The work they have done is fantastic. Bring on the crowd! People are needed to file reports, coordinate mapping teams for about 2 weeks. Laura and Dale will be coordinating this adventure via Skype. I am sure that the great mapping communities may lend a hand. If you are an individual volunteer or are part of a volunteer technical community, please consider contacting:

Contact Dale for Saskatchewan: skfloods AT gmail DOT com
Contact Laura for Manitoba: mbfloods AT gmail DOT com
Participate in the joint Skype channel: Add Laura (organization9) to get started.

Types of help required:

Laura has added layers for the Manitoba RCMP and Manitoba First Nations. She would like to add more layers. Mappers most welcome to churn out KML/KMZ files. She also needs some PHP help and Ushahidi expertise.

Volunteer Recruitment and Training
Both maps will need digital volunteer teams to support the mapping. The types of content you will be adding is geo-location, media monitoring (mainstream, twitter, facebook), and handling the various streams of online reports (webform, apps and email.)

About Ushahidi

To learn more about Ushahidi, see recently released Ushahidi manual , created by the lovely crisismapper Anahi Ayala Iacucci. It outlines how to get started with Ushahidi and implement a successful deployment. Maps need people and process to work. This Ushahidi Practical Considerations is also very helpful.

Feel free to contact me as well (heather at textontechs dot com) if you want more information or want to be connected to Dale or Laura.

(Note: I am involved a friend, a Canadian, a serial volunteer and chronic Ushahidi mapper fan club member. This is not a CrisisCommons or CrisisCamp initiative.)

Heather L.


Bring Crowdsourcing Home – Crowdsourcing Fire and Floods

It is a goal to bring Crowdsourcing home in 2011. Our CrisisCommons Toronto team attended a meeting with the Ontario Government, Ministry of Natural Resources on January 18, 2011. It was an honour to have our first official Canadian provincial government meeting.

I presented this overview to attendees. Crisismapper volunteers from Russia and Australia provided some input with their lessons learned for fire crowdsourcing implementations. This is the power of global volunteer technology communities. We had a great discussion about barriers in remote regions, mapping techniques and government policy. Over 75% of forest fires reported in Ontario are by the public. We intend to use the latest tools available to share with mapping visual information.

Officials were very receptive to continuing our discussions. I will post the next steps as they evolve.


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