Last week’s bombing at the Boston marathon, and ensuing investigation, manhunt & capture, showcased the increasing role that technology is playing in how we respond to crisis. The entire country sat rapt in front of our twitter feeds, or listening to the Boston Police scanner stream online, while a Boston-based tech firm worked to furiously analyze video footage taken in and around the site of the attack.
Of course, this isn’t new news; we know that technology is playing an increasingly important role in how we respond to and cope with everything, including disaster.
What is exciting is to see is how technical skills (technical skills you can learn) can literally save lives in crisis situations.
Want to put your tech skills to use saving the world? Check out these three organizations who are building technology to allow you to do just that:
1. Google.org is devoted to creating technologies that address some of the greatest challenges facing the globe. They have created the People Finder, which was used right after the Boston Marathon, as well as Flu Trends, which tracks the spread of disease.
2. The Ushahidi Platform is an open source mapping and data visualization tool specifically designed to help activists and news organizations manage crisis situations. The platform has been used all over the world for a myriad of different purposes such as tracking election fraud in Bulgaria and documenting pollution sites in the Qiantang River.
All you need to get started with The Ushahidi Platform is some PHP know-how and a desire to help!
3. Tor is a tech company that is working to protect our privacy, and by extension, freedom of speech, online. One of their projects is called the Tor Cloud, which allows people like you and I to help activists and political organizers around the world access the uncensored Internet.
Want to help the cause of political freedom? Go set up a bridge right now.