SMS alert system in Haiti
- Ricardo, I alert Suresh Fernando to this SMS alert system, especially
the work flow system, because he's interested in this kind of
collaboration on a massive scale. That's the kind of effort I'd like to
help Open Kollab take note of, map, link up with, develop funding for.
I also alert Tiffany Von Emmel and the Dreamfish community because she's
also pioneering new online work flows. Janet Feldman has many years
worth of contacts in Haiti, is helping with efforts there, and is
working with Ushahidi, perhaps on this project. I share also with her
Holistic Helping group. Andrius Kulikauskas
> Dear All
> Peter Burgess and I were recently discussing (by email) help-reporting
> in Haiti. Peter said 'his interest is a little bit of data that helps
> to improve knowledge a lot' (knowledge of the current situation, where
> help is needed, etc).
> I noticed a news article in the New York Times called "Cries for Help
> via Text Messages Are Used to Direct Aid to Haiti" it said that during
> the current Haiti disaster, a message was sent to every phone on the
> Haitian networks, telling people they can report problems and request
> help by sending an SMS text-message to 4636.
> This Ushahidi blog page says that the service has been set up and
> operated by Ushahidi (the developers of the SMS facility) and lots of
> It describes how it operates, as follows...
> /How it works/
> /The basic process for this project follows is this:/
> 1. /Put word out that people on the ground can send [Name,
> location, status/message]/
> 2. /SMS submitted, with varying levels of structure/detail/
> 3. /Enters database/
> 4. /Passed to a mechanical turk-type outfit of volunteers for
> 5. /Message is structured in the database/
> 6. /Gets passed off to orgs (via //Sahana/
> <http://haiti-orgs.sahanafoundation.org/prod/>/) that can do
> something about the issue/
> And to bring all this information, requests and reports together in a
> useable form, it says they set up an online database...
> / "Meanwhile, behind-the-scenes, Brian Herbert worked with Josh, Luke
> Beckman from //InSTEDD/ <http://instedd.org/>/, //Paul Goodman/
> <http://pdgoodman.com/>/ from //DAI/ <http://www.dai.com/>/, and Rob
> Munro to structure content. They created an online database at
> //http://4636.ushahidi.com/ <http://4636.USHAHIDI.COM>/ where incoming
> raw SMS reports can be tagged and mapped."/
> They also have volunteers monitoring Facebook and Twitter, to see
> where help is needed.
> Anyway, please read the whole Ushahidi blog page if it interests you.
> It interests me when i think about Peter's question "How could someone
> gather a small amount of data that would improve knowledge a lot".
> With Ushahidi's system, thousands of survivors and NGOs are sending in
> all sorts of SMS reports and it takes an army of volunteers to process
> it all. I'm thinking about "In a future disaster situation, where
> fewer volunteers and resources are available, is there a simpler way
> to get an adequate overview of the situation?". You have to bear in
> mind that there may not be NGO staff, helath-workers, etc, everywhere,
> to send in well-formatted, statistically-valid reports by SMS, just
> ordinary people. How little information would one need to gather, to
> allocate food-aid etc correctly?
> _Google Earth Map_
> I also noticed that Google has produced a Google Earth .KML file for
> Haiti, that you can download and open in the Google Earth program, to
> see Haiti (Port Au Prince, etc) as it is after the earthquake, with
> destroyed buildings. (If you just use the ordinary Google Earth
> service, it still shows Haiti as it was before the earthquake).