The Challenge of Co-ordinating Volunteer and Technical Communities in Crisis and Disaster Response: TC103 Tech Tools and Skills for Emergency Management


If you’re interested in learning more about this class, please check out the course page for more details on speakers and course topics or apply now to reserve your seat.

Time and accuracy are absolutely critical components of successful emergency management. While new technologies open the door for improved analysis and communication, they also introduce new challenges for managers coordinating response from disparate organizations both officially sanctioned and ad-hoc. Increased access and use of social media and mobile devices have resulted in an overwhelming deluge of data that must be processed and converted into actionable intelligence for responders. This coming Monday, January 21, we will begin our latest class in Tech Tools and Skills for Emergency Management to provide a survey of everything a technologist or emergency manager needs to know about integrating technology in an emergency.

One of the core differences between this course and some in the past is that we will be examining Hurricane Sandy as case study and example in self-organization and mobilization of volunteer networks using applicable technology. Representatives from two separate organizations involved in relief efforts will provide further insight into their experience bringing new tools to bear in this response:

Team Rubicon is an organization of veterans committed to disaster response. We’ve written previously about how they are adapting technology by Palantir from tracking IEDs to mapping disaster-affected areas.

We’ll also be joined by representatives from Occupy Sandy an affiliation of individuals who stepped up to provide relief materials to some of the hardest hit communities affected by the storm.

Here are just a few thing that we’re really looking forward to in this upcoming course:

  • Tech tools including: ArcGIS, FrontLineSMS, Ushahidi and OpenStreetMap
  • Case studies: Hurricane Sandy, the 2012 Philippines flood
  • Live events with experts such as: Keera Pullman of Esri, Andrew Stevens of Team Rubicon, and Kei Gowda and Robert Pluma of Occupy Sandy
  • A full simulation of a disaster in Samoa.

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