Nathan Hodge of Wired.com’s Danger Room blog has a good post, Preparing For The Next Haiti, With Maps, Texts, And Tweets, which discusses the impressive high-tech volunteer response to the earthquake. Hodge attended the Haiti Tech Meetup yesterday at the U.S. State Department yesterday and spoke to a number of those involved in the recovery effort:
In the weeks following the January 12 earthquake, the relief effort in Haiti relied in part on crowdsourcing: an army of volunteers in the United States and elsewhere helped sift through emergency text messages, translated them and send them on to first responders on the scene. According to Rob Munro, a graduate fellow at Stanford who works with the nonprofit Energy for Opportunity, about 40,000 useful text messages came through the system in the first six weeks, meaning that thousands of Haitians received timely requests for food, water or medical help.
At the height of the crisis, texts were arriving every few seconds. But volunteers were able to receive a message, translate it and and send a grid location to teams on the ground within a matter of minutes. But the high-tech Haiti volunteer response also depended in large part on personal connections, and the mobilization of the Haitian diaspora in North America, for it to work. Now development agencies, relief workers and even the U.S. government are looking at ways to reproduce the experiment in the next emergency…
The full article can be found here http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2010/05/preparing-for-the-next-haiti-with-maps-texts-and-tweets/