CrisisMappers Meeting

Today saw organizations and individuals from the mapping and crisis space descend upon Orlando for a meeting. The CrisisMappers group is focused on the use of mapping in crisis situations. It came about as those of us involved in some of the newer applications in this area realized that we needed to keep our communications open. It’s about keeping us as people talking, but also ensuring that our applications can share data.

Andrew Turner started us off with a “state of the map” talk, discussing tools, resources and trends in the neogeography area. Patrick Meier then started going through how mapping is currently being used in humanitarian and disaster recovery situations currently, and what the opportunities are.

Most of the day was spent running through everyone’s applications. Whether it was the Development Seed team taking us through their amazingly well designed sites, InSTEDD talking about Mesh4x and SMS GeoChat, or hearing about Emergencity, it was a great time to see what others are doing as they use location-based data for emergency situations.

Conversations touched on:

  • Open data vs helping Google/Yahoo/MS get more data
  • Mobile Crisis Mapping (p2p – without towers) messaging connectivity
  • Beyond just mapping… What do you do with providing community space (social space) and collaboration space (wiki)?
  • When is it appropriate to build web-focused vs client-focused tool
  • Offline interaction with our tools (mobile and web)
  • More requirements – how do we better engage the non-techs in the humanitarian space to gather requirements for use in these applications?
  • Interactive design – make maps understandable for end users (cartographic norms/rules)

It was a good first time meeting for many of us who had never met in person before. I, personally, am looking forward to the added interaction that this meeting will catalyze.

Finally, we’re all extremely grateful to MindComet (one of Florida’s top web agencies) for allowing us to use their amazing facility. It was sort of like sitting in the cockpit of a Star Wars ship – perfect for a bunch of visual mapping organizations.