Digital response ecosystem map
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Is there a digital response ecosystem?
The digital response to humanitarian and disaster events is chaotic. Official and specialized actors such as United Nations Office of Coordinated Humantiarian Affairs and Red Cross Red Crescent benefit from the new skills of digital tools and the processes they enable when they are able to fold these new tools into their existing structures. Frontline populations in affected regions continue to use digital tools like Signal and Facebook to organize themselves and coordinate response. Ad hoc community groups such as churches and schools are more and more often using their existing technical infrastructure and social media options to organize larger local relief efforts. And digital responders help to clean, structure, and utilize the massive amounts of information generated in times of crisis so those in the chaos can have more visibility to the requests, offers, and other factors in play around them.
While some official organizations have name-brand recognition, there is little understanding of local, emerging, and digital sectors. Flows of information, communication, and other aspects of coordination are poorly understood, even by those within the ecosystem.
Benefit of an Ecosystem Map
While a living thing, a snapshot of the digital response ecosystem could provide a shared view of the current actors and flows of data and communication. Our hope is that this shared view might provide better grounding for refining information flow, possibilities for collaboration, and shared infrastructure. We could thus begin to think more holistically about response, provide insights on how to make response infrastructure and mechanism more sustainable and scalable, and be able to easily share an overview to newcomers or other interested parties.
Current status and how to get involved
We're hosting calls with allies in the digital response space to explore what components need to be present for a useful (but not overwhelming) ecosystem map. We recently explored and expanded the ecosystem map
- as a remote session May 31st 9a PT/12p ET,
- at the 2016 June HumTechFest as a session on June 5th,
- June 7th and 8th as interactive wall art at the Humanitarian Technology Innovation Conference,
- at the Doctors Without Borders Canada logistics day June 10th, and
- at the 2016 June Meet Up on June 16th from 18:00-21:00 in San Francisco, CA!
If you have thoughts on what aspects of organizations, patterns of crisis response, or what sorts of data are useful in disaster and humanitarian response, please let us know! You can also receive ongoing updates by following the digital response topic on our blog, subscribing to this page's RSS, or subscribing to the digital response mailing list.