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Welcome to Michael's blog. Michael Andrew, (aka Michael The Maven) is a freelance producer, photography instructor, tech innovator, and when needed, disaster aid specialist. Disclaimer: Michael is a participant in Bhphoto & Amazon affiliate programs that provides an advertising commission if you purchase through links on this website.


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01.19.10         michael's insights  

Haiti's Greatest Threat...


The greatest threat to Haiti now is the lack of free flowing information between aid agencies and groups with needs. An open source emergency website would allow all agencies, government, private, ect. to coordinate resources with needs, as well as other logistics. It will allow for updating constant changing conditions in real time. The reason this is so critical now is due to thousands of people with otherwise non-life threatening injuries, who will soon become critical without the proper care. A basic wound which becomes infected can easily be cured with cheap antibiotics, but only if we know where and when to send it, a smaller, more mobile, less red tape, less decision making group can really make a difference if they know what is needed and where.

What I am saying is at this point the problem isn't so much actual aid as it is the information which dictates how that aid should flow. With that information this essentially would be a nearly open source website that would be available to any group ready to mobilize. It's my understanding that there are scores of doctors and supplies waiting to get in, but just don't know how or where to go. Think of it as wikipedia + 911 + google maps combined. If resources are needed a simple online database can feed information into google maps and place markers on specific locations and resources required. When a need is met, the marker and information would change. This would allow for all groups involved to be able to respond immediately to constantly changing situations - this is not possible at this time.

This can also be a tool to locate alternative travel and supply routes, rally points, staging areas, alternative hospitals, etc and would relieve stress points and choke holds. There is no reason a simple prototype cannot be set up in a few hours and my friend Rob is working on this now.

I say this very carefully and is not meant in anyway to disrespect any agency, or government. They are beyond hero's and working at super human capacity. I think I speak for everyone when I say we are all extremely grateful for their amazing sacrifices. That said, these larger agencies will not be able to mobilize fast enough without the right data and the clock is ticking.

Once we figure out a way to efficiently do this, my hope is other groups to come forward on their own dime and own time to help meet these needs. Yes, the government is doing their own thing, we can do a great amount of good by developing a simple system. Which will allow for the free flow of critical information in real time.

Another solution which may already exist is Geo Tracking, but instead of prizes, it would be for emergency needs. There is even an iPhone app that does this and I'm looking into having a Geo Caching site made for this purpose.

I realize I'm going to make some mistakes and maybe get into a little trouble for saying this, but I'm going to need some help. If you can, are able, self sustained, and will not become a liability, prepare to come to Haiti. If you can not come, there will be other opportunities to help through basic data entry, and gathering other intel. If you are interested in helping please leave your information below. (I am not asking for donations, this is all completely voluntary).

I am also looking for someone who has a lot of free uninterrupted time during the day who could serve as relay for information as it comes streaming in, again please post your information below.

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