April 15, 2016 | 0 comments

Haiti’s cholera epidemic killed close to 9,000 people and hospitalized hundreds of thousands more. The epidemic also spread to several neighboring countries. Cholera remains a critical risk for UN peacekeeping operations, years after Nepalese troops inadvertently introduced the disease to Haiti in fall of 2010 and triggered one of the worst epidemics in recent years. Researchers have found that simple and inexpensive interventions — which the United Nations has yet to implement — would be effective in preventing future outbreaks of the bacterial infection:

April 7, 2016 | 0 comments

Since its inception in 2004, the growth and maturation of OpenStreetMap is evidenced through numerous metrics: in its data collection methodology, its editorial support infrastructure, its policies and standards, and, of course, in the quality and quantity of its data collection itself. As founder Steve Coast has said, “When I created OSM more than 10 years ago, I was just out to create a map — and that’s it. Since then, the tool and its uses have evolved and I believe that it’s an amazing thing that there are people involved in the [OSM] project that want to do socially beneficial things with the tool and that they’re interested in OSM from a different perspective.” In this article Diana S Sinton will consider the OSM community of contributors, the data they produce, and the projects that have been made possible. Some of this information was presented during the recent American Association of Geographer’s 2016 meeting in San Francisco, during a session on OSM:

April 5, 2016 | 0 comments

Patrick Meier, formerly of Ushahidi and QCRI, discusses the opportunity to visit Zipline’s field-testing site in San Francisco last year after the company participated in the UAViators Experts Meeting on Humanitarian UAVs that he co-organized at MIT in October 2015. The company has finally just gone public about their work in Rwanda. Here's a summary of Zipline's technology and applications in Rwanda:

April 4, 2016 | 0 comments

The Pentagon plans to flesh out satellite imagery partly by crowdsourcing data transmitted from soldiers venturing into loosely charted spots. "Every soldier is a sensor," said Jennifer Ivey, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Army Geospatial Center. "Wherever they are sent to do their mission, they collect data to improve situational awareness." Because satellite connectivity can be too spotty to obtain high-fidelity images of remote locations for spies, some intelligence officials say they welcome the expansion of social mapping. More at

March 30, 2016 | 0 comments

By Greg Smith

When disaster strikes near the sea, U.S. naval forces are often the first available to execute humanitarian assistance and disaster response (HA/DR) missions. With due regard to the suffering, destruction and loss caused by these disasters, it is possible to note that in many ways these tragedies become opportunities for U.S. naval forces to prepare leaders for combat operations. HA/DR involves a greater sense of urgency and higher stakes than scheduled exercises and training. Especially for the junior officers who participate, HA/DR operations enhance understandings of joint, combined, and interagency coordination and provide an opportunity to develop judgment through prudent risk-taking. HA/DR operations entail unique, unscripted collaboration with joint and interagency partners. With unity of effort and time as the common enemy, military and civilian organizations cut through red tape and temporarily set parochial interests aside. For leaders at every level, the result is a fundamental and significantly-improved understanding of the capabilities of the “others” with whom they have worked, operated, planned, and communicated during the HA/DR operation. More at