As the North Eastern coast of the US and Canada prepare for Hurricane Sandy, so has the crisismapping community. Citizens helping citizens during emergencies is important. We hope that you are safe and prepared. From the Google Crisis Response map, you can see the storm’s progression.
Over the past few days, we’ve been sharing best practice feedback with the individual mappers on behalf of the Ushahidi team. One thing that we like to encourage mappers is to be mindful of the important work of the emergency managers. The best citizen storm maps focus on people helping people with the location reports incluidng pictures/video for power outages, damage/debris, trees down, and flooding/storm surge. A great example was the Christchurch New Zealand model which collaborated with the Student Volunteer Army for clean-ups.
The Huffington Post has created a general map for the stormwatch region:
Active or In Progress Maps:
There are a variety of Crowdmaps launched focused on specific regions. Some are focused on the storm while others are focused on recovery planning:
Groups with full project plans:
Huffington Post with Hurricane Sandy Stormwatch (whole region)
Ways to Connect
Ushahidi has a skype developer community to assist if you have questions about the technology. Please contact us.
If you are a volunteer, there is a skype general chat that folks are coordinating. Simply contact heatherleson with a biography for an introduction.
If you are a hacker, there is a collective list of resources being collected via google doc, spearheaded by the Center for Civic Media at MIT.
The Tweak the Tweet Team is working on aggregation and analysis of Tweets.
Here are some best practices for Crisis Maps using Ushahidi:
- 911 statement: Be sure to direct your users to 911 for emergencies. The best maps work in concert with official emergency responders. They are skilled and prepared for emergencies.
- About: Tell everyone who you are/how is your team organized, what the map’s mission is and how to reach you.
- FAQ: Your FAQ could include definitions for each of the categories, explanations on how to file reports, and write about your verification strategy.
- Categories: These Humanitarian Icons, created by UN OCHA, are open source. Use freely with credit.
Example:”PLEASE READ: This reporting system is NOT a replacement for 9-1-1. If you are experiencing an emergency or need to officially report an incident, please call 9-1-1 or the public safety non-emergency number at 703-691-2131, TTY 711. This reporting system is a new tool we’re testing, so we do not expect it will be comprehensive. We will monitor your reports. If we see something significant you share, we will share it with emergency responders/planners. This will give us a selected sense of what’s happening across Fairfax County as a result of Hurricane Sandy.”
Before you get started on your project:
What is the Ushahidi/Crowdmap Team doing? We are assisting mappers with their questions as delineated above. Do let us know if there is a specific need we can assist with by contacting us. To our North East community of friends, mappers, partners, we are thinking of you and hoping that the storm passes with minimal disruption and damage.
Good luck and stay safe.