Tag: open source


Canada Rhoks!

This June four Canadian cities are hosting Random Hacks of Kindness (RHOK) this year: Vancouver (new), Toronto, Hamilton and Montreal.

Random Hacks of Kindness is a global hackathon that occurs in over 30 cities with over 2000 participants. What if your knowledge could change the world. This event is open to everyone. You do not need to be a software developer to contribute. The best solutions created use many different areas of knowledge. You’ll be amazed how much you can share.

“RHoK’s model is to start from identifying, defining and refining problem definitions provided by subject matter experts and local stakeholders. This ensures that volunteer time is focused on solving real problems for real people.”
All the solutions are open source. It is a chance to be part of a global movement of tech for social good.

Why attend

What if your knowledge could collide with others to build solutions that solved real-world problems? This concept of using our intellect to affect change will take time, effort and multiple attempts, but if we build on each other’s efforts it is an honourable goal to set and meet.

Last night I attended a talk at Open Bar about “Giving Back and Getting Involved” by James Walker, open source advocate and lifer. James summarized the top reasons to get involved in Open Source projects:

  • get involved to learn
  • gain experience
  • to get hired
  • to hire
  • meet new friends and like-minds

These are exactly the reasons why RHOK is magic. Being connected to ideas and doers around the world. These people inspire in every way possible.

Toronto RHOK needs you

Lead by Melanie Gorka, RHOK Toronto will hack on local and international problems.

  • RHok Toronto seeks sponsors to assist food, tools, services, prizes and funds which help make the event a success. Sponsorship for the event provides for a pre-event reception, meals for participants during the weekend and prizes for the top 3 innovative solutions or ‘hacks’. If you and your organization can help, Contact Melanie Gorka (melanie.gorka AT gmail DOT com).
  • RHoK Toronto Idea Jam is confirmed for May 15th at Bento Miso from 7-10pm. Join Toronto’s Idea Jam to submit your ideas for local and international hacks. Come prepared to pitch your idea. Your hack must meet the RHOK criteria.
  • Register for the RHOK Global hackathon on June 1-3rd
  • Join the next volunteer meeting on May 17th. Contact Melanie Gorka (melanie.gorka AT gmail DOT com) for more details

Join an RHOK event in Canada

Register for Hamilton

Register for Montreal.


If you are in Vancouver, the event will be posted soon.

Host an event

If you want to host a RHOK event in another city, here is the application. Please also drop me a note so that I can join your fan club. If there is not a local event, you can still get involved virtually.

The RHoK community is amazing. I’ve done 5 hackathons so far. The good news is that Geeks without Bounds is now working with RHOK on sustainability for projects. By taking some of the best hacks/prototypes and incubating them, their goal is to have the best projects be activated, tested and used to affect change.

Global hacker friends

We’re looking for some guest hackers for Toronto. I’ve slept on your floor and ate at your tables. Or, we’ve just connected at the many online events. Toronto needs you to join and inspire our local community. Please contact me if you would like to have a place to stay, food, no sleep and be part of Toronto’s vibrant tech for social good community for one weekend.

Let’s do this!



Crowdsourcing Communities attempt to aid Pakistan

Crowdsourcing during a Crisis is evolving. Here are some of the amazing activities that you can volunteer your knowledge and technical skills to help manage information, maps, and development. We may not save people and the geopolitical situation is very uncertain, however, using our skills may make a difference. If not today, then someday.

Reading articles about the plight in Pakistan from the Telegraph (UK) really provide some context. The UN and World Bank are also providing great communications about their activities.

Think of these activities as modeling: ASCII art evolved to HD Games. Each layer of knowledge, development and information that we collaborate and crowdsource can build a new future of aid. Maybe, just, maybe we might be able to help someone now. This motivates us all to try.

Crowdsourcing with tools to CrisisCamp, Map, Wiki, Tweet, Sahana, Google and more

Join a virtual CrisisCamp

CrisisCommons is a global network of volunteers who help people in times and places of crisis. If you can use the Internet, a word processor, a cell phone or any other kind of technology, you can help. Right now virtually online or during one of our many CrisisCamps around the world!

CrisisCamp Cambridge and CrisisCamp London had their first CrisisCamp last weekend. They continue to spearhead efforts. There are talks about France and Australia. Folks from Canada and the US have been supporting our UK friends. CrisisCamp Calgary and CrisisCamp Montreal have also been fully engaged for the past two weeks.

CrisisCamp – Pakistan 2010 Floods


Mappers are waiting for Hi-res satellite maps of the affected regions. Folks are using existing maps, SMS notifications and amazing innovation.


Ushahidi wrote a great blog post on how to crowdmap and the situation in Pakistan.

If you want to learn more, join the CrisisMappers googleggroups or OpenStreetMap Forums. (OpenStreetMap’s Humanitarian OSM Team investigating a response). The mailing lists are very noisy, but the discussions about open source, humanitarian aid, “do no harm”, collaboration and more are very engaging.


Two great efforts to manage information with wiki:

(There is some talk about merging CrisisWiki and Pakistan.wikia.)


The Twitter hashtag is #pkfloods. Search #pkfloods and you will find a wealth of information and calls to action. Many of the organizations mentioned in this post are using twitter for volunteer outreach, education, and mapping reports.

NEW: CrisisCamp Paris set up a live tweet/liveblog for #PKfloods:

Live Tweet/Liveblog from Canalblog
Ch16.org combines tweets, blogs etc
Tweak the Tweet from University of Colorado focuses on refining the signal to noise ratio with veracity during crisis response. They are an amazing group.

Learn how to use Twitter to help manage crisisdata.


Sahana is a open source disaster management system. It is a web based collaboration tool that addresses the common coordination problems during a disaster from finding missing people, managing aid, managing volunteers, tracking camps effectively between Government groups, the civil society (NGOs) and the victims themselves.

They have set up an instance
A new SitRep module has been built to manage:
* Flood Reports
* Assessments from World Food Program
* School Reports

Sahana is looking for data entry and Python help.


Google’s Crisis Response Team has released Person Finder and Resource Finder to provide help.

And more Social Media and Information Volunteering


Wouldn’t it be great if there was a YouTube channel dedicated Pakistan? It would be amazing if there was a channel dedicated to the humanitarian groups and their story to help. What about the diaspora in Canada, US, UK, and around the world?

Add any video links to the Crisis Commons wiki and please tweet them out with the #pkfloods tag.


Understanding Pakistan, her history and her people is really paramount. Knowledge is power.. I am looking for the best links on Pakistan to share with all the communities. Help us learn.

Add these to the Crisis Commons wiki and please tweet them out with the #pkfloods tag.


Please blog, tweet, map and wiki to collaborate. Every voice and action can count. Every volunteer can help with a computer. Maybe you will inspire someone else to volunteer.

My inbox is full and I am so proud to be engaged with such bright people. Unfortunately, I’m focused on a personal project and don’t have the bandwidth to create a CrisisCamp Pakistan right now. I would spend every waking hour doing all of the above. I can however blog and spread the word.

Change the world: You can too!

© Copyright 2016, All Rights Reserved