Updates from Haiti

Tom and Schuyler are wrapping up their first deploy with the World Bank to Haiti. They've been doing amazing work in connecting the various participants on the ground in sharing data and providing them with lightweight tools and data from the broader web, CrisisMappers, and CrisisCommons community.

Schuyler has been writing up his experiences but due to connectivity and the large amount of work, they've been utilizing Twitter: @schulyer and @buckley_tom, continuing to keep the world up to date on their progress, safety, and insights. They have even managed to get out video discussing the use of OpenStreetMap by UN OCHA and other reconstruction efforts.

The EC aid worker and his printed OSM maps on TwitpicThe USB Drives and USB Sticks that we sent down have seemed to be incredibly useful. The ability to utilize dynamic information and map interfaces in an offline, or semi-disconnected environment is empowering, while also allowing people to still print their maps with the data. We're now working on deploying these same tools to Afghanistan and other areas that there has been a large amount of data gathered but not broadly distributed.

Tom and Schuyler head back to the U.S. tomorrow, but the job is far from done. Mikel's Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team (H.O.T.) is looking to deploy at the end of March to provide continue logistics support and begin training Haitians on building and utilizing the maps - much like the MapKibera project. Haiti has perhaps an excellent opportunity to leap-frog the use of open data and technology by empowering the government and people with tools they can use in reconstruction.

The platforms continue to evolve, incorporating lessons learned from user needs, to new data sources, and working in varied environments. We'll continue to provide data and maps through GeoCommons that are usable by everyone, and distribute tools to anyone who needs them.

GEOPRESS_LOCATION(Port-au-Prince, Haiti)

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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.