Haiti Earthquake: Breaking New Ground in the Humanitarian Information Landscape

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US Department of State Humanitarian Information Unit

New information and communication technologies, new information providers, and new international communities of interest emerged during the Haiti earthquake response that will forever change how humanitarian information is collected, shared, and managed. Humanitarian responders used social networking media, mobile phone text messaging, open source software applications, and commercial satellite imagery more than ever before. Outside of the established international humanitarian community, volunteers and participatory reporters from the affected population became new sources of data and information. Humanitarian organizations, host governments, and the donor community will all need to adapt to this new information environment. In addition to adapting to these new developments, there remain information management lessons learned and best practices from past experiences that need to be integrated into the organizational structures, coordination mechanisms, and decision making processes of the various humanitarian response communities.