Two stories were published today: one in the New York Times on the potential for online mapping to contribute to humanitarian relief efforts and another in The Chronicle on academic involvement in these efforts. Reporter Marc Parry interviewed me for the 2nd story, and something I said managed to stay off the cutting room floor! My five seconds of fame in a Chronicle article.
Today was the official end to the Standby Task Force’s contributions to the Libya mapping effort, and the UN OCHA has assumed the responsibility of the project. It was their request that launched this deployment in the first place, and also today they published a report that addresses the Future of Information Sharing in Humanitarian Emergencies. Took a quick scan through it and realized it needs a closer read when I have a more focused mind.
I am a complete newbie to the domain of crisis mapping, but learning little-by-little. The 4-week Libya deployment was both humbling and inspiring. Humbling because these contributions are so small and so tenuous in the face of true need. At times the whole system seemed so ethereal and fragile: a loose network of people around the world, relying on digital technologies such as gmail and Skype and google docs to coordinate themselves. Inspiring because it works, and I loved being part of a team that has been doing *something* to help.
I intend to continue as a coordinating member of the SBTF’s analysis team, volunteering one map at a time. Still working through the plans for bringing students to this too. May Term?