One scroll through your Facebook or Twitter news feed and you’d think the world was going crazy. People share their addresses, their heated political commentaries, and strange pictures of cats or food that seem to have absolutely no relevance to their lives or yours. Despite this, last March, I stood up on the stage at TEDxCollegeofWilliamandMary and spoke about the potential of using crowdsourcing technology to save lives.
About two years, ago, I started the Lunas Project—an integrative disaster management platform that leverages crowdsourcing technology, SMS messaging, and mapping tools to improve disaster relief in developing countries. The system has four main competencies: (1) text message warnings to even remote populations, (2) a crisis map that collects emergency reports from social media and texts to better coordinate rescue and relief operations, (3) a road status map where people can upload photos, videos and news links of roads being down or alternate routes that they know of, and finally (4) a donor portal to connect willing donors across the globe to local stores on the ground. (more…)