I just finished a short project for the Tactical Technology Collective where I reviewed seven free tools that can be used to manipulate or visualize data. The reviews are now online.
The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian affairs (OCHA) has created a set of 500 humanitarian-themed icons, which they are making available free of charge.
While looking at the role of social media in the response to recent floods in the Philippines I came across Project NOAH, the “National Operational Assessment of Hazards”, which is an impressive example of how Google maps can be mashed with historical data, current predictions and reports from the public to provide everyone with a more comprehensive picture.
The Philippines are currently reeling from the impact of three successive typhoons that have displaced close to 250,000 people and killed at least 50. Being one of the countries with the highest social media penetration, affected communities and disaster responders alike are using Facebook, Twitter and standard Google tools to communicate needs and coordinate the response.
In many situations, the main problem faced by information managers is not a lack of data, but the fact that data is stored in too many conflicting formats and full of inconsistencies and errors. This week I discovered a few free Google tools that can help to turn messy data into clean data.
For the past three days I have been following the coverage of the Liberia elections on liberia2011.ushahidi.com. Unfortunately, I’m far from impressed. To be clear: this is not the fault of Ushahidi: After all, Ushahidi is just the technical platform and it is the responsibility of others to feed the system information, but it shows the limitations of crowdsourcing information.