We’re A Non-Profit Organization! The Incorporation is Official!

Today we are excited to officially announce that the Standby Task Force is taking the next step in a large push within the crisis-mapping community to professionalize our field. For the SBTF that meant hammering down to the details of what we really do, and do well.

Namely we:

  1. Assist communities affected by disaster through online support and cooperation with local and international responders.
  2. Recruit and train volunteers to assist communities affected by crisis
  3. Coordinate with other agencies, organizations, and crisis mapping volunteers to maximize positive impacts in communities affected by crisis
  4. Provide sustainable and predictable crisis mapping and data informatics services to first responders in crisis situations

In order to achieve these efforts we will be accepting donations and contributions to further these objectives and engage in activities that are within our charitable and educational objectives. We are happy to announce that as of August 21st, 2014 the Standby Task Force is now a recognized Not-for-Profit in the state of Delaware and are in the process of application for Federal tax exemption as a recognized charitable and educational 501 (c)3 organization. The Officers and Directors of the SBTF are listed below. On behalf of all the Directors we want to say thanks to all our members for making this possible by sustaining us with your dedication over the years and to our partners who have pushed us to be better and learn with each deployment we have been activated for.

We have a training coming up next week on September 10th, 2014 from 02:00 pm (14:00) – 08:00 pm (20:00) Eastern Standard Time that will provide members with a practical guide to creating base layers and chloropleth maps utilizing a data set on sexual & gender based violence, trafficking & various human/social development indicators. More information is available here for those interested in participating in this joint training with Development Services International.

How Did We Get Here?

Well, it’s been nearly four years since the Standby Task Force began providing data mapping and crisis informatics services to communities affected by disasters. What started off as a discussion between four individuals at the First Annual International Conference of Crisis-Mapping (ICCM) has grow into a vibrant international community of 1,313 members that represent 79 countries. We have provided direct crisis-mapping, data analytic and crisis communication informatics in 29 official and 33 side deployments. Our partners range from a handful of concerned citizen to large multi-lateral development agencies and our members have continued to demonstrate a dedication to serving directly the individuals and communities affected by both sudden on-set and man-made disasters.

The past four years have transformed our organization and we continue to learn and grow as individual members through this process. Having tested a number of management and decision making structures over the past years we learned by trial and fire what was practical for a loose collaborative of crisis-mapping professional hacking together across time and space. We’ve had challenges and there have been breakdowns. We’ve also achieved incredible success and learned from our mistakes.

Elected Officers of the Board

Justine Mackinnon – Chairwoman of the Board

Per Aarvik – Vice Chairman of the Board

Joyce Monsees – Treasury

Hilary Nicole Ervin – Secretary

Board of Directors

Keera Moorish

Jeannine Lemaire

Helena Puig Larrauri

Patrick Meier

Jaroslav Valuch

Melissa Dawn Elliot

When it came time to elect an initial Board the decision was difficult more so in determining who not to include, because our list was long. In the end it came down to Founders and effective Officers. In the beginning of the year when the SBTF was restricted following a lengthy internal dialogue on structure, decision-making and mission, we elected a 22-member Core Team with a vision of working out the details of how we manage and accomplish our work into an organizational framework that would allow us to professionalize the critical services we provide to the international community in general and those affected by disasters in specific.

We’re all getting excited for the International Conference on Crisis Mapping (ICCM 2014) in New York City this year that runs from November 6th-9th with pre-training sessions and a plethora of community networking and education opportunities. This years conference will spotlight the communities affected by disasters, and our leadership is excited to have the populations we serve at the forefront of our communities discussion on how we carry out this work.

Standby Task Force activates to support NetHope during the Ebola outbreak

Standby Task Force have been activated by NetHope to assist in collection and management of information in connection with the West African Ebola outbreak.

–Urgent assistance is needed to support the 15+ NetHope member organizations that are actively involved in the response to the outbreak in the four countries in West Africa where cases have been confirmed: Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Nigeria, says Gisli Olafsson, Emergency Response Director in NetHope.

Standby Task Force will help collect openly available baseline data about the countries involved and collect openly available, yet reliable data about the outbreak into the open geospatial repository.
–Our digital volunteers are able to re-format and visualize data needed by the member organizations of NetHope. This is also a type of work that our communities do, says Justine Mackinnon, president of the Standby Task Force.
See also the blogpost at NetHope.

Enduring the world’s loss – July 2014

Our world endured a dramatic amount of suffering and loss of life this week. We offer our condolences to those who lost countrymen, colleagues, loved ones and friends. Through it all, we continue to believe that compassion and generosity is the strength of mankind and will prevail.

We stand with you during this difficult time and honor those who lost their lives by persevering in our efforts to help those in need.

Warmest regards,

The Standby Task Force Core Team

Update on SBTF #balkanfloods activation

Standby Task Force has been activated by UNOCHA via the Digital Humanitarian Network.

“While different assessment are being carried out, OCHA Coordinated Assessment Support Section (CASS) based in Geneva are carrying out rapid secondary data analysis to support the United Nations Resident Coordinators in the affected countries.
While country team is channeling information from the ground, CASS would also like to tap in other information sources and collect as much information as possible”

Please try the new apps and start clicking to help the response.

FYI: Text and image clicker app is up and running
iOS : https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/clickers/id859016775?mt=8
android
: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=tw.org.geothings.clickers

BBC’s Bang Goes the Theory (UK) May 5th

Everyone at the Standby Task Force is thrilled by the overwhelming positive reaction to BBC’s Bang Goes the Theory feature on crisis mapping and humanitarian technology tonight! We are eagerly waiting to share the complete feature once the BBC makes it available online.

If you are interested in contributing to digital humanitarian responses, please join us!

If you have any questions about what we do or how we work, please check out the information on our site and feel free to email any questions to: justine@standbytaskforce.com.

 

 

SBTF Needs You: Rewriting our FAQs, Your Input Needed

It is a great feeling when you are down to those final pieces of a puzzle.  A triumphant buzz runs through you when you understand how something works.  Those moments when the light-bulb shines bright are some of the most satisfying.  We need your help to keep those lights burning.

We have been working hard behind the scenes to bring you the best that being a digital volunteer has to offer. New tools, new training opportunities, updated web content, and refined teams.  As a part of this, we are rewriting our Frequently Asked Questions.

The field we work in is a dynamic and changing space; for which there is no clearly defined step by step guide on how we get to the future.

We turn to you, our great team of friends and volunteers.

We invite you to please help by telling us which questions would help you, and others, most as volunteers. Lingering questions that you had but did not ask during your last deployment?  Have you been a member, but not volunteered yet? Want to learn more about a specific team or the tools we use?  Ask, ask, ask away.

Our previous Frequently Asked Questions document contains outdated questions, teams, and tools.  We will leave it live while we rewrite the new FAQ section.  The link below is to the GoogleDocument spreadsheet where you can anonymously ask the deep dark questions that you have always wondered, but never dared ask.

On the spreadsheet, we have broken down a few example questions into  suggested categories, including an ‘Other’ section.  Feel free to add more categories and as many questions as you feel relevant. We will leave the document open for a little over a week so that you have time to dig deep and remember any searing questions that you may have had when joining through now.

We are excited to collaborate with you to update this key resource.  Thank you and Happy Helping!

 

Spreadsheet:

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1KQAuPqaI3pyHguV9J61-YFF2bIdMKRSZNdhNlbwUTmQ/edit#gid=1484789237

The Story of Crisis Mapping

Patrick Meier and Justine Mackinnon from SBTF are interviewed in a recent programme aired on BBC Radio 4 and BBC World Service.

From their programme description:

Dr Kat Arney meets the people trying to change the world one map at a time. These are volunteers who use their free time to map the world’s unmapped places and people.

She sees how being on a map affects people’s work, education and rights. And in extreme weather or after a natural disaster, she hears how mappers might help us to find the people who have fallen off the maps. She also hears from crisis mappers, people who source any information they can after tragedies to document what is happening on the ground as fast as possible.

This story starts in January 2010, when a huge earthquake hit the island nation of Haiti. Thousands of miles away, a group of American students heard about the damage, logged onto their laptops and started mapping any post-disaster information they could find online. Their aim was to help the rescue and relief services save as many lives as possible.

Four years on, international contingents of cartographers now deploy after every natural disaster, and in areas of political unrest and civil war. They scour the internet for cries for help on social media, then mark them on maps to try to get help to people who need it most.

There’s also a project making a continual effort to make the most accurate physical map of the globe. Contributing could mean joining a mapping party in London. Or cycling around rural Uganda with a GPS device.

Thousands of volunteers are now spending their spare time contributing to these efforts. Some of those who started it all have become internationally recognised in a new area of expertise. As volunteers assemble around the world, Dr Kat Arney asks how powerful these maps can be and also assesses the problems that come with them.

Standby Task Force Update – April 2014

It has been a busy few months remodelling SBTF to become flexible for what the future in digital humanitarianism holds.
Some major changes have taken place. From new core team, new teams, new directions, new tools etc. All these things have one thing in common…. They are new!
The field we work in is a dynamic and changing space; for which there is no clearly defined step by step guide on how we get to the future. The SBTF is actively engaged in assisting development of best practices based on years of experience, to expand the knowledge base available to digital humanitarian in general and SBTF in specific. Collaboration is critical to the way we determine our future as a humanitarian actors. Though learning is always a dynamic process; the frustrations, ideas and efforts are well worth it.
During the last few months we have talked to volunteers, Coreteam, Advisory Board, tech groups, UN departments, disaster response field workers, NGOs and partners within DHN to see how we are best to move forward into the next phase of SBTF.

“Into the future”

What does this all mean though? Standby Task Force are leading the way with Geo location and Verification techniques. By exploring and testing new ways, we aim to achieve the highest of standards.
Also SBTF actively seeks to extend volunteer skill sets to encompass emerging technology by training. A dedicated podcast series also seeks to provide volunteers with a better understanding of the humanitarian field with speakers presenting on various subjects.

Standby Task Force Memberships Reopened

We are delighted to announce that applications for membership have now reopened

Thank you for your interest in joining Standby Task Force!
Please go to the sign-up page to find the application form and to submit your membership application.

• You should receive a response to your application within two (2) weeks.
• Applications are reviewed in the order in which they are received.
• No prior experience with crisismapping or microtasking is required to join SBTF.

Thank you once again for your interest in SBTF and for supporting the digital humanitarian cause.

We look forward to welcoming you to the team!

Core Team

The following individuals are core team of the Standby Task Force. They deal with the overall organization of each project, and are all of them volunteers in this effort. The skills and backgrounds within the team span over wide fields. What they all have in common, is to devote quite an amount of time to keep the Standby Task Force up and running.

Justine_Mackinnon3.jpg, Advisor, Standby Task Force, Core Team, Crisismapping, Crisis-Mapping, Crisis Mapping, Micromappers, AIDR, Volunteer, SMEM, Social Media for Emergency Management, Board of Directors, Director, Executive, Disaster, Disaster Response, Report, Map, Nonprofit, Non-Profit, Not for Profit, NGO, Justine Mackinnon, General Coordinator, Media Contact

Justine used to be Airfield manager at London, Heathrow Airport. She now is LEAN six sigma consultant and researcher for QCRI. She was named as one of the top 57 pioneering female leaders in UK – 2013.

Per_Aarvik.jpg, Advisor, Standby Task Force, Core Team, Crisismapping, Crisis-Mapping, Crisis Mapping, Micromappers, AIDR, Volunteer, SMEM, Social Media for Emergency Management, Board of Directors, Director, Executive, Disaster, Disaster Response, Report, Map, Nonprofit, Non-Profit, Not for Profit, NGO,

Per Aarvik, General Coordinator

Per is currently preparing for a MA at the faculty of Comparative Politics, University of Bergen. Previously he was teaching technology at Bergen Academy of Art and Design. He has worked as a journalist/photographer, within advertising and a variety of volunteer organisations.

 

Alain_Lemaire.jpg, Advisor, Standby Task Force, Core Team, Crisismapping, Crisis-Mapping, Crisis Mapping, Micromappers, AIDR, Volunteer, SMEM, Social Media for Emergency Management, Board of Directors, Director, Executive, Disaster, Disaster Response, Report, Map, Nonprofit, Non-Profit, Not for Profit, NGO,

Alain Lemaire, Volunteer Engagement

Alain is specializing in protest politics, international relations, conflict resolution and post-conflict development, with a focus on the Middle East and Africa.

Joyce_Monsees.jpg, Advisor, Standby Task Force, Core Team, Crisismapping, Crisis-Mapping, Crisis Mapping, Micromappers, AIDR, Volunteer, SMEM, Social Media for Emergency Management, Board of Directors, Director, Executive, Disaster, Disaster Response, Report, Map, Nonprofit, Non-Profit, Not for Profit, NGO,

Joyce Monsees, Volunteer Engagement

Joyce is a graduate student at San Jose State’s Library and Information Science School. Her focus is research in emerging technologies and is studying to be a Geospatial Librarian.She has extensive experience in new employee and student orientations, training and skills development. She is a city trustee and is certified by the National Library of Medicine’s Disaster Information Management Research Center as a Disaster Information Specialist.

Leesa_Astredo-M

Leesa Astredo, Media Monitoring, Empathy

Leesa is working to help make the world just a bit better, tweet by tweet and blog by blog. Through tweeting, blogging and networking, I have a very great network of peers. Leesa is passionate about our work and our desire to help others in the virtual disaster response and SMEM world. If one effort helps one person, than the many hours are more than worth it.

Ellen_Rosner_Feig.jpg, Advisor, Standby Task Force, Core Team, Crisismapping, Crisis-Mapping, Crisis Mapping, Micromappers, AIDR, Volunteer, SMEM, Social Media for Emergency Management, Board of Directors, Director, Executive, Disaster, Disaster Response, Report, Map, Nonprofit, Non-Profit, Not for Profit, NGO,

Ellen Rosner Feig, Incorporation and Fundraising

Ellen works as a Professor of composition and literature at Bergen Community College in NJ; advocate for genocide survivors. Carl Wilkens Fellow with Genocide Intervention Network with focus on forgotten genocides and using technology as assessment tool in conflict. Founder of W.R.I.T.E Africa which focuses on recycling computers and discarded school materials for use in Nigeria and Cameroon.

Sharon_Low., Advisor, Standby Task Force, Core Team, Crisismapping, Crisis-Mapping, Crisis Mapping, Micromappers, AIDR, Volunteer, SMEM, Social Media for Emergency Management, Board of Directors, Director, Executive, Disaster, Disaster Response, Report, Map, Nonprofit, Non-Profit, Not for Profit, NGO,

Sharon Low, Incorporation and Fundraising

Sharon is both a practitioner and researcher in social work and public health sectors with training and experience in monitoring and evaluation for about 15 years. She has worked in humanitarian and development contexts in Asia and Africa.Ehsanul_Hoque.jpg, Advisor, Standby Task Force, Core Team, Crisismapping, Crisis-Mapping, Crisis Mapping, Micromappers, AIDR, Volunteer, SMEM, Social Media for Emergency Management, Board of Directors, Director, Executive, Disaster, Disaster Response, Report, Map, Nonprofit, Non-Profit, Not for Profit, NGO,

Ehsanul Hoque, Incorporation and Fundraising

Ehsanul has a Bachelor in Environmental Science and Master in Development Studies. Work Experience: ActionAid, East-West Center- Nishorgo, Center for Natural Resource Studies (CNRS), UNDP- Bangladesh

Nicole_Rodgers.jpg, Advisor, Standby Task Force, Core Team, Crisismapping, Crisis-Mapping, Crisis Mapping, Micromappers, AIDR, Volunteer, SMEM, Social Media for Emergency Management, Board of Directors, Director, Executive, Disaster, Disaster Response, Report, Map, Nonprofit, Non-Profit, Not for Profit, NGO,

Nicole Rodgers, Online Presence

Nicole Rodgers is a nonprofit and management consultant, business mentor, and nonprofit Board Member. She is the former Executive Director of The Keys for Success Foundation, Vice President of Kitsap Tilth, and principal of Human Helper Consulting. She has served as a Director for NGOs in affordable housing, sustainable agriculture, business mentoring, education, and prison reform. Her work and interests lie in social justice, crisis mapping, advocacy, fundraising, alternative currencies, sustainable agriculture, education justice, and designing and implementing projects in the humanitarian sector.Bert_Brugghemans.jpg, Advisor, Standby Task Force, Core Team, Crisismapping, Crisis-Mapping, Crisis Mapping, Micromappers, AIDR, Volunteer, SMEM, Social Media for Emergency Management, Board of Directors, Director, Executive

Bert Brugghemans, Verification

Nowadays active as an area manager, chief communications officer and senior fire chief for the City of Antwerp Fire Service, Bert started his career as a voluntary fire fighter and EMT. He has more than 14 years of hands on experience in emergency and crisis management. During his career he has evolved from a narrow focus on firefighting to a broad multidisciplinary approach to crisis and emergency management. He constantly tries to be innovative in this field (eg. Social Media, Information Management, Crisis Intelligence).

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Joseph Pollack, Verification

Joseph is a long-time crisismapper and SBTF volunteer. He does research in crisis management training and humanitarian logistics. He co-leads the Verification Team and hopes you will join him there.

Hilary_Nicole.jpg, Advisor, Standby Task Force, Core Team, Crisismapping, Crisis-Mapping, Crisis Mapping, Micromappers, AIDR, Volunteer, SMEM, Social Media for Emergency Management, Board of Directors, Director, Executive

Hilary Nicole Ervin, Geo-location

Hilary is a mapper and gender-based violence expert with a background in public health and development. Her passion lies in data analytics and security for the grassroots.

Katherine_Papadopoulos.jpg, Advisor, Standby Task Force, Core Team, Crisismapping, Crisis-Mapping, Crisis Mapping, Micromappers, AIDR, Volunteer, SMEM, Social Media for Emergency Management, Board of Directors, Director, Executive

Katherine Papadopoulos, Geo-location

Katherine is a Developer Intern for the Sahana Software Foundation on the Eden framework. She is currently working on Python, GIS, Postgresql and multiple mapping layers and applications. Prior, she was Web Applications Coordinator at Doctors Without Borders in NYC.

Keera Pullman, Data, Mapping & Analysis Keera_Pullman.jpg, Advisor, Standby Task Force, Core Team, Crisismapping, Crisis-Mapping, Crisis Mapping, Micromappers, AIDR, Volunteer, SMEM, Social Media for Emergency Management, Board of Directors, Director, Executive

Keera’s background in the visual arts, landscape architecture, and GIS. Her diverse training has given her many opportunities to engage in collaborative projects with professionals across several disciplines, including atmospheric and environmental sciences. She is currently employed by Esri as an Instructor.

Lubna_Amir.jpg, Advisor, Standby Task Force, Core Team, Crisismapping, Crisis-Mapping, Crisis Mapping, Micromappers, AIDR, Volunteer, SMEM, Social Media for Emergency Management, Board of Directors, Director, Executive

Lubna Amir, Data, Mapping & Analysis

Lubna has a PhD in Geosciences from France (University of Nancy). Her background is mostly related to geophysics and modeling. All along my bachelor and master degree at the institute of geophysics in Strasbourg (France), she has always been interested by natural disasters. And consequently, she works on projects related to earthquakes and tsunamis.

Sam_Mackinnon-kopi

Samantha Mackinnon, Media Monitoring

Samantha is a researcher in humanitarian sectors and co founder of CrisismappersUK. I have experience in monitoring and evaluation, data analysis and team leadership. I have contributed as a volunteer with SBTF for the last 3 years. I helped co lead the Samoa simulation in 2011 with creating all reports that were used, I assisted in the following activations: Pablo, Evan, Uchaguzi, Columbia floods. I co-led during phase 3 of the Yolanda activation for SBTF. She has also worked behind the scenes for SBTF for the last 2 years doing ad hoc tasks.

 

Advisors and Support

Jeannine_Lemaire2.jpg, Advisor, Standby Task Force, Core Team, Crisismapping, Crisis-Mapping, Crisis Mapping, Micromappers, AIDR, Volunteer, SMEM, Social Media for Emergency Management, Board of Directors, Director, Executive

Jeannine Lemaire, Advisor

Jeannine is a global health consultant working on developing, mobilizing and leveraging private sector initiatives in HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. Focused on public-private partnerships, using mHealth to support and expand the reach of programs, and health mapping. Based in Paris, France and Colombo, Sri Lanka.

Melissa_Elliot.jpg, Advisor, Standby Task Force, Core Team, Crisismapping, Crisis-Mapping, Crisis Mapping, Micromappers, AIDR, Volunteer, SMEM, Social Media for Emergency Management, Board of Directors, Director, Executive

Melissa Elliot, Advisor

Melissa is a communications expert, and has an overload of instant messaging and social networks to prove it. Melissa is a member of CrisisCommons and CrisisMappers. She has presented social media techniques used in disaster relief to the American Red Cross during their Emergency Social Data Summit in Washington, DC; multiple presentations at the Canadian Governments DFAIT (Dept. of Foreign Trade & International Affairs) during their Open Innovation Summit in Ottawa, ON; to The National Academies; and at the Global Engagement Summit.

Jennifer Chan, AdvisorJennifer-Chan2.jpg, Advisor, Standby Task Force, Core Team, Crisismapping, Crisis-Mapping, Crisis Mapping, Micromappers, AIDR, Volunteer, SMEM, Social Media for Emergency Management, Board of Directors, Director, Executive

Jennifer is one of the faculty at the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative (HHI) and an ER doc at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago. Her projects and research focuses on crisis mapping and helping organizations integrate technology and new information flows into humanitarian programming. She has also supported NGOs and UN agencies over the years with public health humanitarian programming during crisis. Every year she leads a humanitarian technologies education module at the Humanitarian Studies Course.