Making lifesaving connections in Haiti
Although Haiti is nearly 1,700 miles from John Carroll’s campus, Jen Ziemke, Ph.D., of John Carroll’s Political Science Department, is connecting people in remote areas with organizations and agencies that provide vital resources—all from her computer in the Administration Building.
Ziemke is a co-founder of The International Network of Crisis Mappers. The goal of crisis mapping is to help save lives through the use of dynamic mapping technology that can help the world detect, and therefore respond faster to patterns of mass atrocities and catastrophes.
Ziemke and a large group of volunteers around the country use technology—combing the Web, Tweets, sending text messages, Twitter feeds, blogs, and news reports—to assess needs and connect people on the ground with available resources.
For instance, they picked up an early report of an SOS from an orphanage with little or no water. After the location of the orphanage was shared with the appropriate group, 20 liters of water were delivered to the orphanage within a day. In another example, the crisis mappers learned of a clinic that needed diesel fuel. After the clinic’s location and specific need were posted on a website called Ushahidi, the State Department and FEMA discovered the need and fuel was delivered.
In October, John Carroll and The Harvard Humanitarian Initiative (HHI) jointly hosted the first International Conference on Crisis Mapping at John Carroll University. The purpose of the 3-day conference was to bring together the most engaged practitioners, scholars, software developers and policymakers at the cutting edge of crisis mapping to define the future of the field, along with best practices and lessons learned. Over 60 organizations attended from around the world.
Learn more by clicking on the following links, featuring interviews with Dr. Ziemke:
WCPN 90.3 FM, NPR
WKYC, Channel 3 News (NBC)