Hack To Help The Philippines

Billy Mitchell | InTheCapital | November 15, 2013

The Philippines can take any help it can get right now, totally devastated last weekend by the typhoon that struck the island nation off the coast of Vietnam in the Pacific. While your immediate inclination may be to donate cash and be done with it – and no, this is not telling you not to donate – there are many other routes through which you can help the relief efforts. Saturday in D.C., one group will join together to help through hacking.

Teaming together, CrisisCommons and OpenStreetMap are inviting members of the D.C. tech community to 1776 Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. to brainstorm and solve any technological issues they can as part of a CrisisCamp. According to Kathleen Danielson, one of the organizers and a board member of the OpenStreetMap US, a CrisisCamp is an "un-conferenced barcamp, kind of a hack day, not overly structured, but with a goal of sort of doing whatever we can to help." These efforts have been around for about four years, with one of the earliest efforts in D.C. dating back to 2010 during the earthquake in Haiti. Danielson said there's quite a community of technical people in D.C. who support the disaster-based cause.

Danielson and her OpenStreetMap team – which works on a free, open map of the world, like Wikipedia for maps – had plans to get together and work on mapping the Philippines when a representative of CrisisCommons contacted her to join forces. For now, the majority of the project will be devoted to the mapping, since that's her expertise and what most in attendance will be readily trained to do. [...]