I’ve been working my way in to the crisis mapping and humanitarian ICT community for a while. Firstly with some minor contributions to Sahana Eden, then when earthquakes hit Christchurch I did what I could to help with eq.org.nz. Since then I’ve been helping with Standby Task Force tech team, and lurking in skype chats.
Last week I flew to Geneva for the 3rd International Conference of Crisis Mappers (ICCM). It was a 2 day event (free of charge!): day 1 is keynote speeches and 24 short 5 min presentations; day 2 is 4 timeslots of self organised discussion sessions, up to 9 sessions at once (barcamp style). All interspersed with lots of networking, talking in the hall ways, plans being hatched, and jet lagged attendees trying to stay awake.
The short summary is that it was a brilliant event, I felt over my head a bit - not being part of the humanitarian part of the community - but made a lot of connections and got a good feel for what is going on in the community as a whole, and where the biggest issues are right now.
The conference themes, as outlined in keynotes were: Validation, Security, Partnerships, Scaling and Mainstreaming (of crisis mapping). And as Sanjana highlighted during his key note: We are trying to save lives. That is what we must be driven by. That is what we are working for.
… and that proved to be well on target really. Especially in the self organised sessions, we kept coming back to security issues, other sessions worked on validation, and the other themes showed up everywhere.
I’ve got stacks of notes, some more informative than others. I’ve posted some to the main list already and I’ll try to write up some more and post them on here soon.
Back to reality for now..