A great deal has been written about the how the combination of social media and cell phone technology has become a powerful fundraising mechanism in the wake of the disastrous earthquake in Haiti on Tuesday. But that one example got me thinking about other kinds of computational tools that could help provide an accurate picture of both the reality near the epicenter of the quake and the ripple effects throughout the region and across the globe.
I posted a question about this via twitter with the hashtag #DistributedExpertise and got some interesting responses via Facebook and email that further fueled my own thinking. Some are examples of applications already providing vital information about the situation on the ground, while others could be created to provide useful ongoing coverage, especially as earthquake survivors emigrate to the US and elsewhere. I’m going to split the responses into a couple of posts. This one will focus on breaking news coverage, the next will look at lessons from the Katrina and the 2004 tsunami, and the final post will focus on tools for local coverage.
Breaking news coverage
They included searchable databases of victims, such as this Haitian Earthquake Registry, which pulls information from a database maintained by the International Committee of the Red Cross, among other sources.
The Wolfram Alpha chart neatly summarizes information that is provided in greater depth by the US Geological Survey. In addition to the seismological reports, there is a podcast in which one of their experts answers questions.
Services for donors and volunteers
Al Tompkins at the Poynter Institute points to Charity Navigator as a way to find credible organizations to receive donations.
Have you seen any interesting applications that should be included in this list?