Each and every day, people across the world can find themselves in crisis. Whether it be for a day, a month or an area of social distress, we all have a common need to connect with loved ones, access information and offer assistance to others.
During Transparency Camp 09 and Government 2.0 Camp, several campers exchanged a host of ideas on the need to better connect people with their social networks and information through the use of technology, especially during times and places of crisis. For example, campers shared how mobile innovation on mobile health and alternative power supplies was happening in Africa. Others shared how how citizens of the cloud used their technical skills to aggregate data to help people (often in another part of the world) synthesize desperate pieces of information into something they could understand. We uncovered a dividing line between international humanitarian relief and domestic crisis response. We saw common themes across all efforts including: the use of mobility, the Internet as a common coordination platform, the need for volunteers and the ability to provide alternative community communications access areas. By the end of the tweet-up, we had 40 volunteers sitting around in a circle with an agreement that there should be a forum to exchange these ideas. And it was there, where a common goal brought government, NGOs, private sector, hackers and activists together to create CrisisCamp.
CrisisCampDC was held June 12-14, 2009 in Washington DC at the George Washington University. This "unconference" barcamp brought together domain experts, developers, and first responders around improving technology and practice for humanitarian crisis management and disaster relief.
CrisisCampDC sessions included discussions regarding the break down the bifurcation between international humanitarian relief and domestic crisis response, harnessing mobile platforms for social change, the use of social media to connect with citizens/customers during crisis, open source software development and volunteer technical expertise for crisis response and citizen mobilization, alternative telecommunications access and harnessing the crowd to help citizens in crisis with information and throughout the recovery process.
CrisisCamp DC was a sold out barcamp attracting over 200 attendees from across the country. Sponsors included the World Bank, George Washington University, Development Seed, Forum One Communications, GeoCommons, Apps for Democracy, Business Software Alliance, Google and the Corner Alliance.
Web Site: http://crisiscamp.org/