Humanitarian App Design & the CrisisMappers 2014 Mapping Challenge

Since the beginning of the year I have immersed myself in the humanitarian aid coordination world. Through my employer Phase2, I’ve been designing applications, and iterative improvements for the United Nation’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). It’s been both the most challenging, fun, and rewarding work that I’ve ever done.

I don’t normally discuss my work in any level of detail in a public forum, however, my client has been tweeting my involvement, and even sharing shots of my wireframes (which is an awesome first for me)… So I don’t feel like I’m divulging anything that isn’t already publicly available.

@HumanitarianID Wireframe Tweet

International Conference of CrisisMappers 2014, New York City

This weekend, I attended the CrisisMappers conference. The conference is “the leading humanitarian technology event of the year, bringing together the most important humanitarian, human rights, development and media organizations with the world’s best technology companies, software developers and academics.”

The event itself was wonderfully informative, and it was cool to see all of the brilliant innovations that people have come up with, while also reinforcing that essentially everyone is grappling with different variations of the same problems.

The event has filled me with inspiration, hope, and a better understanding of where my client fits in within the larger humanitarian world.

Mapping Challenge

Saturday’s sessions largely consisted of a mapping challenge whereby attendees broke-off into groups and had to map something in Union Square.

The overall results were varied and nifty. 

My group consisted of my colleague Brandon Morrison; my client Andrej Verity, and our new friend and researcher David Haynes.

Together we gathered data, and mapped whether stores, services, or features in and surrounding the park serviced locals or tourists.

ICCM 2014 Union Square Local vs Tourist Map

We built it with Leaflet, fed the data in via GeoJSON, and everything is available on GitHub.

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