March 21, 2014 | 0 comments

Each year, a large number of civilians are killed and injured by unexploded weapons such as artillery shells, land mines, mortars, grenades and bombs. These explosive remnants of war (ERW) regularly disrupt daily civilian life in post-war and conflict zones. To combat the problem, the Center for Technology and National Security Policy (CTNSP) at the National Defense University is challenging developers to come up with a mechanism to keep “eyes on the street” and transform ordinary citizen’s mobile devices into tools that can be used to report ERW and land mines to the appropriate authorities.

The contest encourages developers to develop open-source applications, as well as to leverage existing apps. All submissions must demonstrate how the new or improved application will produce or improve ERW or land mine reporting, and how the solution will be sustained following the completion of the competition. Team entries are encouraged.

A $3,000 cash award will be given for first place. Second place will receive $1,500 and third place will receive $500. The top two submissions may see their application rolled out in countries affected by ERW, where their solution could be put to work immediately.

The competition kicks off March 18, 2015 and submissions will be accepted between March 18, 2014 and June 20, 2014. Complete contest rules and entry requirements can be found at http://erwlandmineapps....

February 26, 2014 | 0 comments
  1. The European Journalism Centre (EJC) has released the Verification Handbook, the first ever guide for using user-generated content (UGC) during humanitarian emergencies. The many new technologies out there imply that there are many new technologies to wittingly or non wittingly invade people's privacy.  This is a concern of the Red Cross and other large agencies working in this field and this is the firsts journal that addresses this.  TIDES is also working in thsi area with NORTHCOM.  NORTHCOM's mission includes dealing with disasters from Canada to Mexico including supporting domestic civilian authorities in disasters such as in Hurricane Sandy or Katrina.  As such, in the US, people must be careful to not use information that would otherwise be protected by privacy issues 

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February 18, 2014 | 0 comments

The dramatic images of natural disasters show that nature, not the people preparing for hazards, often wins the high-stakes game of chance. Sometimes nature surprises us when an earthquake, hurricane, or flood is bigger or has greater effects than expected. In other cases, nature outsmarts us, doing great damage despite expensive mitigation measures or causing us to divert limited resources to mitigate hazards that are overestimated. Much of the problem comes from the fact that formulating effective natural hazard policy involves combining science, economics, and risk analysis to analyze a problem and explore costs and benefits of different options in situations where the future is very uncertain:

Some of the tough questions include:

How should a community allocate its budget between measures that could reduce the effect of future natural disasters and many other applications, some of which could do more good? For example, how to balance making schools earthquake resistant with hiring teachers to improve instruction?
Does it make more sense to build levees to protect against floods or to prevent development in the areas at risk?
Would more lives be saved by making hospitals earthquake resistant or by using the funds for patient...

February 18, 2014 | 0 comments

Disasters triggered by natural hazards such as floods, droughts, storms or fires affect millions of people every year and result in billions of dollars in economic losses. The United Nations therefore works to improve its Member States’ capacities to reduce Disaster risks, to foster resilience and to respond effectively to such disasters by using space technologies. In its role as a gateway to spacebased information, UN-SPIDER compiled this newsletter to highlight some examples of how and why space technologies are used by the United Nations in the context of disasters. These case studies are examples of the extremely valuable work carried out throughout the entire UN system:

February 12, 2014 | 0 comments

This week - February 10-13 - TIDES is at the February JIFX joint interagency experiments at Camp Roberts, CA - an event that brings together hundreds of DoD, US Government, state and local government, private sector and NGO reps to explore cooperation and to perform field testing of technologies for disaster relief and emergency response. JIFX live blog: