An Introduction to Crisis Mapping & Standby Volunteer Task Force

By Jessica Colaço
  Published 22 Dec 2011
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An Introduction to Crisis Mapping & Standby Volunteer Task Force
The Standby Volunteer Task Force (SBTF) is a global network of more than 700 volunteers in over 70 countries who provide live crisis mapping support to humanitarian & human rights organizations responding to natural disasters and complex emergencies.Since the launch of the volunteer network in 2010, the Task Force has partnered with a host of different organizations including UN OCHA, UNHCR, WHO, Amnesty International USA and several other groups. These partnerships have resulted in live crisis maps for Libya, Somalia and Syria; and live disaster maps for New Zealand, Turkey, Australia and Colombia. The full list isavailable here.
Operationally, the Task Force is organized into about a dozen individual teams, each of which focuses on a specific information management process. This modular team structure adds the flexibility required in crisis response.
Individual SBTF teams are activated to meet evolving needs. For example, the Media Monitoring Team monitors mainstream and social media sources for relevant information; the Geo-Location Team identifies the GPS coordinates for events reported by the Media Monitoring Team; the Verification Team seeks to verify the accuracy and validity of information being mapped; and the Analysis Team produces information products as part of regular situation reports provided to the organization that activated the Task Force. The most recent team to join the SBTF is the Satellite Imagery Analysis Team, or Sat Team. The purpose of the Sat Team is to analyze high resolution satellite imagery in support of humanitarian operations.
The purpose of this presentation is to introduce the work of the SBTF and thus highlight the field of crisis mapping and the Ushahidi platform. The presentation will focus specifically on the partnership with UN OCHA in Libya and Amnesty International USA in Syra to demonstrate how the SBTF operates when activated.
Anahi Iacucci, co-founder of the SBTF and lead volunteer coordinator, will lead the presentation. She wasthe Director of theUshahidi Chile@ SIPA project since its deployment in February 2010. She previously worked in the Occupied Palestinian Territories as a human rights monitor for a joint Israeli-Palestinian NGO, in Nairobi-Kenya as a Refugee Officer, in Chiapas-Mexico as an International Observer and in Italy and the OPT as a journalist. More recently, Anahi has consulted for NGOs and international organizations on the use of the Ushahidi platform and new technologies.
Her recent projects include advising UNOCHA in Iraq, the NGO Alliance Guinea on their Ushahidi project “Guinea Vote 2010 Witness”, Internews Network in Kenya using FrontlineSMS:Medic, PatientView and Health Map, the World Bank in Zambia, USAID and Freedom House. Anahi is also currently working on a comprehensive guide projects involving Ushahidi and similar platforms, and coordinator of the online volunteers working onPakReport,a Ushahidi deployment to track needs related to the floods on Pakistan. Anahi blogs atDiary of a Crisis Mapper.
Alongside Anahi, Patrick Meier, Director of Crisis Mapping at Ushahidi and the co-founder of the Standby Volunteer Task Force (SBTF) will be presenting as well. He also co-founded the Crisis Mappers Network and previously co-directed Harvard University's Program on Crisis Mapping and Early Warning.
Patrick holds a PhD from the Fletcher School at Tufts University; a pre-Doctoral Fellowship from Stanford University an MA from Columbia University.
Date/Time: Jan 13th, 6pm-8pm at the iHub Nairobi, Kenya
The hash tag for the event is #SBTF
You can also check out the SBTF map here
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