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Volunteers Collaborate on Tech Projects to Help Relief Efforts in Haiti

by United We Serve Team

This morning over 200 volunteers arrived at the Sunlight Foundation in Washington, DC to code for the crisis in Haiti. Convened by CrisisCamp DC, volunteers are collaborating on technology projects that aim to assist in Haiti's relief efforts by providing data, information, maps and technical assistance to NGOs, relief agencies and the public.

Eleven different teams are working on the projects pictured below - each is a need identified by relief organizations and the Department of State. When coming up with the project list, they worked to ensure that the projects would be impactful, useful and available for future use.

“In the hours after the earthquake in Haiti, two primary observations within the tech community became clear," said Katie Stanton from the Department of State. "First, there are many well-intentioned projects in development by people all over the world - this information and these applications need to be consolidated so we can share it with those on the ground. The second is there is no central location for a need and have list –essentially a Craigslist for Haiti.”

Walking around the office, the teams work in near silence. Each team has a project manager that oversees each project and a scribe who captures the team's outcomes. Coordinated communications are key, as the tools and solutions developed need to reach those that are either on the ground in Haiti, or helping from abroad.

The DC CrisisCamp is just one of three taking place across the country today - as the day wore on, they were joined by their peers in Boulder, CO and Mountain View, CA. Clay Johnson, Director of the Sunlight Labs and the day’s ‘taskmaster’ said, “Developers turned out today to help provide long-term solutions to the Haiti crisis. By the end of this afternoon, we will have open source projects that will help NGOs on the ground. Everybody wants to help – and it has been an honor to be able to put our skills to use.”

To learn more about how to help the relief efforts in Haiti, visit the White House’s Haiti Earthquake Relief page.

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