Ignite Talk: Jon Nystrom

This is a liveblog post from the International Conference on Crisis Mapping at Tufts University.  You can also follow tweets from the event’s many open laptops at the #ICCM10 hashtag.

Jon Nystrom, the FEMA Account Manager for Haiti, takes the stage for an ignite talk.

Nystrom, of ESRI, notes that ESRI’s goal is to support the global crisis community.  In the past, he explains, this used to be done on the phone, via fax, and FedEx.  Now, Nystrom says, technology makes it easier.

ESRI donated hardware and software through the Open Street Map team.  Nystrom notes the incredible crowdsourcing work done during the earthquake, and how technology has enabled incredible things in the field.

“Can crisis GIS data be integrated?” asks Nystrom, wondering aloud if we can build these core services before the next event.  He says that, with all of the different information coming in, “where do we put it?”  Explaining that if GIS and social media had been connected beforehand, analysis would have been easier.

After the Haiti disaster, Nystrom notes that feedback overwhelmingly was in support of OpenStreetMap, thus they created the  ArcGIS Editor for OpenStreetMap, which allows people to download, upload, and update data in the OpenStreetMap environment.

They are now giving free software to organizations doing crisis mapping, and have announced a strategic partnership with Ushahidi, working with them on trainings and allowing their tools to “talk to each other.”

By combining the two projects, they can work faster and more efficiently.

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