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News — 27 November, 2011

Meetings, Conferences and Coordination in Geneva

2 weeks ago Nicolas Chavent and I spent the week in Geneva. The initial impetus for the trip was the 3rd annual International Conference on Crisis Mapping (ICCM). Since there were many descending on Geneva for the event additional meetings were held. The two that we attended were the United Nations Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) "Community of Interest" meeting and the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) "UN-Spider Experts Meeting: Crowdsource Mapping for Preparedness and Emergency Response." Though meeting in the fine city of Geneva, Nicolas did simulate "fieldish" conditions by sleeping on a camping mat in a kitchen. I myself shared a room with some of the others attending the event.

ICCM has continued to grow and bring in more organizations since its start three years ago. About 400 people participated this year from organizations ranging from the UN to small individual hackers. Topics included everything from information security, to policy around satellite information, and early conflict detection and prevention.

I gave an Ignite presentation about HOT's work in Indonesia. I will link to the video when it is available. For now my slides are on Slideshare.

The OCHA COI meeting occured the day before ICCM, this was the second of these such meetings. Back in June working groups were formed after a meeting held in New York City to discuss the volunteer response to the earthquake in Japan and the Libya CrisisMap. The goal is to figure out what is missing in coordination and to solve other problems. The current working groups are listed below, additional a separate group on Missing Persons has been formed and participated in the meeting.

  1. Cross Training
  2. Data Licensing
  3. Data Scramble
  4. Decision Makers Needs
  5. Humanitarian SBTF
  6. Impact Evaluation
  7. Preparedness & Prioritization
  8. Transition
  9. Volunteer Management

So far HOT has participated in the Data Licensing, Data Scramble and Preparedness & Prioritization groups. We can participate in more as people are interested in getting involved.

The second meeting hosted by UN-SPIDER was also the second gathering of people on this topic. The main initiative is to make access to satellite imagery easier for those who can help in a humanitarian response. This is particularly around crowd-sourcing. The initial meeting was mostly about discussing and presentations, the goal of this one was to work out details for a simulation. There is going to be a simulation on December 3rd surrounding a cyclone hitting Samoa. This was initiated by Dave Leng of HEAL Samoa who was present at both meetings. Dave should get the award for traveling the furthest and longest to make this meeting. Anyone interested in participated for HOT discussion so far is occurring on HOT's mailing list.