NetSquared: New Orleans

NetSquared LogoIf you haven't already heard, there are only a couple more days (Monday, March 24, 2008) to vote for the The NetSquared Mashup projects. NetSquared sponsors 'mashups' that promote and enable social change. This can apply to a very wide variety of projects, from awareness to funding aid. It's incredibly easy to vote, and the top 20 voted projects of the 120+ submissions will go to the NetSquared conference in May to pitch their project for additional resources and also engage closer to the rest of the community.

When you register, you have to vote for at least 5 projects (to make sure people don't just vote for their one personal favorite, but actually investigate other projects), and you can vote for up to 10 different projects.

I've personally been working with Alan Gutierrez of Think New Orleans on his incredible work in bringing awareness, and a stop to, the improper demolition of houses after Katrina. He is digitizing City Buiding permits, demolition plans, notifications, and incentive options to help citizens protect and rebuild their homes. He runs GIS coworking at Trinity church to educate local citizens on the use of GIS software for doing a lot of the heavy lifting - and we've been working with him to help bring all this together into the web to share and utilize by a broader community.

You can check out that project here: City of New Orleans: A Mashup for Citizen Monitoring of the Recovery

Another great project is Ushahidi: Mapping Reports of Post-Election Violence in Kenya - where they've built a preliminary site to accept user-contributed information on violence outbreaks.

The projects are addressing real world issues with real solutions - so far they have had success on their own and are making a difference. Independently the projects will still be successful and important and their success will only be improved upon by support of the NetSquared community.

It can be daunting to hunt through the rest of the projects. It reminds me of going through conference submissions - I would recommend going through topical areas such as "Health", "Community Improvement", "Arts", etc. to make it easier to compare all the great ideas and potentials.

Remember, voting is only open until this Monday, March 24, 2008 - so please register and vote!

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About the Author

Andrew Turner is an advocate of open standards and open data. He is actively involved in many organizations developing and supporting open standards, including OpenStreetMap, Open Geospatial Consortium, Open Web Foundation, OSGeo, and the World Wide Web Consortium. He co-founded CrisisCommons, a community of volunteers that, in coordination with government agencies and disaster response groups, build technology tools to help people in need during and after a crisis such as an earthquake, tsunami, tornado, hurricane, flood, or wildfire.