OpenStreetMap at the Camp Roberts Disaster Response Experiments

An extraordinary week at the Camp Roberts experiments. Simply .. the Open approach to disaster response is becoming a reality.

John Crowley of Star-Tides, who many of us met at CrisisCamp (and I still haven’t written up that amazing weekend, it’s been that kind of summer) assembled a stellar crew of developers and thinkers from Google, DevelopmentSeed, InSTEDD, Sahana, TerraPan, and OpenStreetMap. Bring together these projects and talented individuals, poke and prod them with interestingly mis-congruent to agile development, Army style 08:00 daily briefings and “hot washes”, and the amazing collaborations develop.

Though a completely different world, it all had a similar feel to the week long locative arts workshop in Nottingham, organized by Ben Russell, that originally delivered me to OpenStreetMap. That journey, from art to emergency, says everything about the rapid changes Open source, data, and standards are triggering in the most crucial parts of our world.

Eric Gunderson captured the experience with brilliant photos.

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Josh Livni and Mike Migurski generously took days out of their intensely creative day jobs to hack, brainstorm, and have a great time down in Paso Robles.

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There is a Kitfox

This image says it all. The Kit fox is a threatened species in California, and specifically on the Camp Roberts base the fine for accidental killing is over $100k! This does lead to a lot of grumbled joking, but rather effectively raises awareness of its plight. It became a kind of mascot for our field tests.

The journey of this little report is a result of integration and data sharing among all our systems, rapid development, micro-power and UAVs, and an open data sharing policy that just a couple years ago were just back of the napkin drawings.

The dusty details in the next post…