OpenCrisis Townhall Meeting 23rd January 2014

What’s This?

Meeting: OpenCrisis TownHall

Date: 23rd January 2014

Agenda: a roundup of what we’ve been doing and deployments we’ve heard about in the past month; a check on what groups and people needed; and a vague plan for the coming month.

Last month: 20 December 2014 minutes

What’s Happened?

Past month: Deployments


  • What: South Sudan crisis

    • who:  HOT OSM, GISCorps, Ushahidi, OpenCrisis (unofficially)

    • where:  South Sudan

    • what:  OpenCrisis set up coordination skypechat and googledoc ( for groups mapping the South Sudan crisis. HOT OSM has mapped several affected areas, in collaboration with UNITAR/UNOSAT, HIU (State Dept)  with assistance from GIScorps and, for area identification, OpenCrisis (BOH). Info4Disasters helped Internews develop an inventory and overview of local media and social media. Ushahidi set up, but this initiative was stopped almost immediately after Christmas (possibly because of security concerns? – BOH). DHN call went out later for mapping in South Sudan  (to be carried out later in the year?) – Joseph shared the OpenCrisis googledoc with SBTF, to avoid duplication of effort.

    • Deployment dates:  24th December – continuing (contact Brendan or Sara)


  • What: Central African Republic crisis

    • who:  HOT OSM

    • where:  CAR

    • what:  HOT has been doing a lot of mapping – both settlements and infrastructure, since the crisis began

    • Deployment dates:  HOT has been active for CAR/RCA for over a year, but this activity has intensified since mid-late December 2013


  • Events with monitoring but not deployments:

    • USA cold.

    • Kyiv (Kiev) demonstrations – concern and willingness to map seen online, but no deployments as yet.


Past month: Activities


  • OpenGoodHacks

    • who: RHOK, Geeklist, Pat, Sara

    • what: Helped RHOK, Geeklist etc.with naming and creating a central neutral space for listing hackathons for good. Thea Clay is spearheading.

    • where: online

    • when: 22nd January 2014


  • Accademics

    • who: Joseph

    • what: Creating discussions spaces for academics in crisismapping (to discuss grant opportunities, create online course etc) and the SBTF (to improve SBTF training). The idea with Accademics is to enlarge the group by posting on the crisismappers googlegroup, and to create courses that we can offer credits for – together, creating joint courses; creating research consortiums and getting ideas flowing between top researchers.

    • where: online

    • when: January 2014 – continuing


Other activities:

  • Info4 and SBTF have partnered – Info4 will be the provider of ET/HR activities to SBTF.

  • OpenCrisis incorporation: OpenCrisis is now incorporated as a nonprofit in New Jersey, USA.  Thanks to everyone who helped make this happen.

  • OpenCrisis platforms: Long discussions about platform choices, all of which included some form of WordPress site. is being migrated to a wordpress site, to give more community members an easy way to contribute writings about crisismapping.  The original Drupal site remains at and; other platform choices remain (but are wider now that OC is incorporated, e.g. we can ask Confluence for a wiki like

  • OpenCrisis calendar created – this is for the entire crisis mapping community – not just OpenCrisis. Anybody who participates in the OpenCrisis discussion space can (or should be able to..if not, ping Brendan) enter events on it.

News, Announcements etc


  • Next TownHall meeting: 14th February 2014.   TownHalls are on the second Friday of every month (formerly Wednesdays), at 12pm EST / 5pm GMT unless otherwise stated.  Townhalls for 2014 are: 17th January, 14th February, 14th March, 11th April, 9th May, 13th June, 11th July, 8th August, 12th September, 10th October, 14th November, 12th December.

  • GDELT, the conflict data warehouse, has closed. This is a massive loss to our community (it’s a legal fight about ownership between the GDELT team and uni). And something we should fight to stop happening across the rest of our domain. If we have data, we should work on open licenses for it. GDELT, the huge datastore of everything conflict related, has closed. Apparently conflict between those who ran it and the university that was hosting it, and lending its datastore (may be significantly more complicated than that, judging from legal files associated with this fight…). NB recent new standard on data licenses just came out.

  • Andy Gimma has started digital humanitarian tools training in new york – first session is 25th january 2014 –

  • DHN meetup in Boston on 25th january 2014 too.

  • CDAC network report on SMEM is out:

  • The Global Disaster Alert and Coordination System (GDACS) is now providing an additional service: Overview of ongoing satellite mapping events.This service provides a short overview of the identified ongoing satellite mapping activities related to humanitarian disasters. It is intended for disaster managers, operations centres, desk officers and others that need syntheses of what goes on in this field. The service is operated by the GDACS mapping & satellite imagery coordination mechanism: UNITAR Operational Satellite Applications Programme (UNOSAT). See


What do we need to do?

Last month’s plan

  • Sara to make list of all the people and groups who email her about crisismapping (ongoing)

  • Platform discussion (DONE)

  • Incorporation discussion (DONE)


  • Blogposts for the new website – please write them!


Next month’s plan

  • Create agenda for next month (use template)

  • Sara to make list of all the people and groups who email her about crisismapping

  • Launch new site on Saturday 25th January… continue to populate this, and explore complementary platform options.

  • Sara – write a page about open data licenses and how to do them right

  • Lillian to write blogpost about the maze of finding open data in Thailand

  • Brendan writing blogpost about ‘Geolocation in context’

  • Rose – summary of verification handbook? Verification Handbook with guidelines to verify digital, user generated content.  Will have guidelines, tools, checklist, etc. Supposed to be released January 2014 (sometime this month), freely available.  Will write summary (REM)

  • Sara – post about open data cambodia (but only with permission from team)

  • Sara – run training session on open data.


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