The RHoK Portland event lead is the dynamic Willow Brugh from Geeks Without Bounds. Willow says she speaks to both humanitarian and hacker audiences to bridge the “liminal space” between both groups. By drawing through people’s ideas using VizThink, she helped RHoKers better explain their process and perhaps reconsider their strategy. She also collab’ed with the RHoK Milwaukee group working on Bicycle Commute Mapping.
Eric Rasmussen made the four hour drive to Portland to get support on some of the 50 defined Arduino- and Android-based application needs for disaster areas and slums. Eric is no stranger to disaster response- he has led 18 deployments. Sitting on the Board of Directors of InSTEDD and VP of Humanitarian Systems of Access Agility puts him in a key position to not only have the ear of many groups like UN OCHA, Google Crisis Response and the CDC, but Eric will deliver these open source solutions to them and will ensure that each one is field tested.
Eric generated 3 projects in Portland. (1) Ben Acker of Yesmail is building a project for low-cost low-tech sensors of water purity using Arduino and reached out to the RHoK community to collaborate with others doing similar work. (2) A team of four people prototyped Need Comms Now, a system to track cell phone and wifi strengths in areas damaged during disasters. (3) Home Away From Home, an Android app for camp survey mapping through GPS has a toolset that reflects international standards.
Sarah Schacht came to RHoK Portland with one goal in mind, to help citizens feel heard by improving the email systems of government legislators. The KAPspeak team is implementing simple tools that legislative staff can adopt to manage the influx of emails from their constituents. Sarah’s NGO Knowledge As Power is in a key position to pilot the solution in Washington State.
Brian Rice has the 411 on Open211, which any county can use to create their own social services directory and promote it to their constituents. The Open 211 Redirectory helps areas that may not have enough people to staff a phone system to provide an automated service, either SMS, phone, or web based. While 211 is usually administered through nonprofits from a government or United Way grant, Rice and fellow developers who met at a previous codeathon, are working to refine a solution that doesn’t require government participation. They are simply providers of open source tools that anyone can adopt.
Thanks to the RHoK PDX sponsors ProKarma, Tropo, Yesmail and Geeks Without Bounds for making the event possible.
A number of other projects were worked on in Portland:
http://www.rhok.org/solutions/home-away-home (Best in Show award)
http://www.rhok.org/problems/water-purity-test (Award winner for Continuation)
http://www.rhok.org/problems/saaraa-situational-awareness-and-rapid-assessment-application (Award for Modularity)
http://www.rhok.org/problems/time-2-giscuss-0 (Award for Documentation)