Posts Tagged HFOSS Project

Disastwitter

After major “incidents” (such a neutral word for clearly negative events), local and national volunteer agencies group together to most effectively bring relief to the affected populations. The Volunteer Organizations Active in Disaster, or VOAD, manages much of the relief effort.

With the close guidance of the New York City Office of Emergency Management, we have made a webapp, VirtualEOC, that provides a way for committees in the VOAD (like Housing or Information/IT) to share updates and files with each other.

As we prepare for a table-top disaster exercise in New York City, we’ve seen our web application grow from a greenfield to 2500 lines of PHP and scores of HTML templates. We went from a few mockups and a loose set of requirements to a real, functional application in just a couple of weeks. We have interviewed potential users, exchanged hundreds of emails, and plastered the whiteboard several times with database schemas. It’s still definitely pre-beta, but it’s already getting reviews like:

This site and all your work is really amazing.

and:

The site looks fantastic! Great work.

Even though the application is barely functional and has yet to be field tested, Connecticut, Westchester County, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Long Island, Toronto, and several other regions have expressed interest in the application along with several major NGOs including the Red Cross.

On Thursday, Sam, Dimitar and I are going down to New York City to observe them as they use the application. The simulation involves the cleanup effort after a hypothetical major hurricane in the NYC area in which 80,000 homes and 50,000 jobs are lost.

My biggest concern at this point is the NYC traffic.

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