“CrisisCamp” Hacker Session Planned in Cambridge to Help Haiti

Crisis Commons, a non-governmental organization formed last year to apply information technology to disaster management and humanitarian relief efforts, will mount a “CrisisCamp” session for Boston-area developers this Saturday in Cambridge. It’s the second weekend in a row the group has organized such sessions; similar camps took place last weekend in Los Angeles, Washington D.C., and other cities.

“The goal is to bring together a large group of volunteers from the technical community—at varying levels of technical proficiency—to collaborate 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,” says Liz Campbell, vice president at Cambridge-based Fama PR, which is assisting Crisis Commons with publicity around the event. Previous CrisisCamp sessions have produced digital maps of Haiti to help relief groups coordinate rescue operations and a Creole-to-English dictionary for the iPhone and other smartphones.

Travel reservation software company ITA Software is hosting the session, which will run from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. this Saturday, January 23. At press time, there was still room for at least 60 participants. For detailed information about the event, see this CrisisCommons wiki page, and to sign up to participate, go to this Eventbrite registration page. For more background on the CrisisCamp phenomenon, see this informative article at CNN Tech.

Wade Roush is a freelance science and technology journalist and the producer and host of the podcast Soonish. Follow @soonishpodcast

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