February Digital Humanitarian Network Call-in

Posted on Feb 12, 2014 in Get to Know, Other Companies

Audio can be downloaded from here.

Topics We Covered

The DHN Website

The current DHN website is based on the Ning platform, and has a bunch of bottlenecks based on admin roles and how communication happens on it. It is also on a proprietary platform, antithetical to the values of some Network members. They have been fantastic hosts (technically and socially), but we’re also excited to move over to a Drupal-based platform put together by Network member PeaceGeeks. They’ve done a lot of work in front end as well as in UI on the backend. Watch for that to launch in March.

DHN Meetups

Meetups happened in New York, Boston, and Nigeria. We didn’t hear much more than that, but folk are excited to host some this upcoming round. You’re encouraged to do the same – Feb 22nd is the preferred date, in whatever city you like. Just get one started – if you want it listed on the DHNetwork website, ping us! Here’s a handy guide to get you started.


World Humanitarian Summit

The UN Secretary-General is convening a global humanitarian summit in 2016 to discuss the changing humanitarian landscape, share knowledge and best practice — to see what works and what can be done better and broaden the involvement those involved in disaster preparedness and relief.
The Network has been activated to help with the event, tho the shape of that help is still developing. This breakout group covered the possibilities and parameters of that assistance.

Activation Workflow

Currently, when activation requests come in, coordinators coordinate, a long email-thread ensues, and it’s generally pretty confusing and noisy. I got us set up on Loomio as an attempt of having discussions specific to a proposal, and then either creating a new proposal or approving a current one. Those on it really like it.
This is just one step in a larger overhaul – the next will be about task management and ticketing – after a proposal has been created, how do we keep track of the status of various components needed to complete an activation?

Working With Each other

As the Network grows, it continues to be difficult to know what groups are capable of what. One activation begets others similar to it (“oh, I remember DHN did this thing, maybe they can do this thing as well..” One suggestion was members of the Network activating the other groups, as a way to showcase ability.
We also need to have a better understanding of what each group does. For instance, Statistics Without Borders hasn’t been called upon much, but is capable of things like

Figuring out things like which areas have the most destroyed buildings, the most tweets, etc.
They can also help with data analysis after a disaster.


We had an incredible list of callers this round, and we’re honored to have had their attention for so long.

  • AJ – open gov program at FEMA. Getting FEMA data released to the public. Released some APIs. www.fema.gov/data-feeds and also www.fema.gov/developer – utilize data
  • Willow – Director of Geeks Without Bounds, Accelerator for Humanitarian Projects.
  • Lindsay – program director with GWOB. PHA, SpaceApps
  • Lisha Sterling – Developer Coordinator at GWOB. also PHA, SpaceApps, RHoKSec (cybersecurity special event), mentor for projects in our accelerator
  • David Litke (GISCorps): current project with HOT mapping in South Sudan; principals are Heather Milton and Severin Menard
  • Andrej Verity (OCHA): Information Management Officer at UN-OCHA. Based in Geneva. Co-founder of DHNetwork.
  • Thea Aldrich: Random Hacks of Kindness/SecondMuse
  • Lyre Calliope – community organizer w/ Mozilla & Code for America, hackathon organizer (CrisisCamp, RHoK, NDoCH, etc) based in Boston
  • Renee Black (PeaceGeeks) – tech capacity building for grassroots non-profits
  • Rebecca Petras, Translators Without Borders, working on new pilot of a global translation crisis relief network. Pilot is in Nairobi and is intended to support aid workers working with communities that do not speak the same language. Launch is Mar 4 in Nairobi – happy to provide more information!
  • David Black , CrisisCommons and University of Toronto. Connected to Global Solutions Network
  • Gary Shapiro & Cathy Furlong, Statistics Without Borders looking to see how they can help in activations.
  • Nico: Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team (HOT)
  • Chris / Cat: Humanity Road who responded to 200 events in 2013(!). Monitoring and responding a wide range of emergency types. Participating in several upcoming events. Leading DHnetwork solution team for the World Humanitarian Summit (2016)
  • Paola Fava (gnucoop),data collection tools and web apps development for non profits organizations
  • Kat Townsend: USAID in Washington – open gov/data. Running Gov Open Data day later in Feb. @DiploKat rtownsend (at) usaid (dot) gov
  • Jon Nystrom – Esri supporting FEMA/Red Cross and Disaster Response Team
  • Severin : Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team (HOT), Crisis activation and Field deployments
  • Richard Campbell: Humanitarian Toolbox – crowdsourcing the development of tools (with CrisisCommons, OHI, etc)
  • Christoph Dennenmoser, HumanityRoad, Team Lead Urgent Needs
  • Nadia Berger, Humanity Road – World Humanitarian Summit project
  • Ryan Lanclos (ESRI): Emergency Management team
  • Luis Capelo, working on a data initiative at UN-OCHA. :-]
  • Chinmayi: Bachchao Project – distress application in India.
  • Cindy Becker: Humanity Road, Team Lead, Animals in Disaster
  • Aline Carr: Humanity Road, Team Lead Volunteer Management (World Humanitarian Summit project)
  • Per Aarvik: Standby Taskforce – Gen coordinator (can hear you – but don’t get through speaking!
  • Pascal Schuback: CrisisCommons (Arrived late to the call)
  • Pierre Béland, Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team, Crisis Activation