Posts Tagged ‘Microsoft


Open Source EM continued…

The scene outside the ground as the disaster b...

Image via Wikipedia

Open source EM can also found in human capital.  Crisismappers, CrisisCommons, and other groups like those can be considered open source.  These groups are generally made up of volunteers who utilize all sorts of free/open source software like Ushahidi and even the teams could be considered open source.  They are groups of technically proficient people who provide a service for free and are organized in a grassroots approach.  In fact this seems to be a new movement in emergency management, grassroots response.  People who are victims of a disaster are going to be the true first responders.  In reality, it’s their response that can have a profound effect on the outcome of events.  If we leverage their eyes and abilities, we can essentially have instant response and scene size up.  Groups like CERT and the Red Cross are training citizens anyways, so if we can find a way to get people to report information and provide a way to organize people right after a disaster than we can really change how disaster response happens.  Groups like the ones I talked about are doing a great job of trying to do this.


Open Source EM

Image representing Google as depicted in Crunc...

Image via CrunchBase

A few years ago, if you were to suggest using civilian technology for emergency response, you would have been laughed at.  It seems everyone was spending money like it was going out of style, thanks largely to the large amount of grant money.  Everyone had their own mobile command posts, high tech radios, etc…but those times are gone.   The grants have dried up, the costs to maintain the equipment bought with grants is very high, and EM‘s and first responders are doing more with less.  What about doing it for free?

There are now a lot of free software packages and online programs that allow you to do a lot for very little money or no cost at all.  Google docs and groups allow you to collaborate in real time.  They work very similarly to Microsoft sharepoint but are completely free.  EAS systems can cost 10’s of thousands of dollars to buy and maintain and now we are finding that free social media services provide better warning and allow for two way communication.  You can even provide free webinar trainings using (although not for long).  I was a strong advocate of public safety designed gear, and in many cases this is still the case, but I use these free services all the time.  I couldn’t function without them.