(Photo by Lalita Clozel)
Ravi Kumar, who is a native of the Janakpur region in Southern Nepal, woke up in New York City Saturday morning. He learned about the earthquake on Twitter. “People like us, we are far from home but we are really sad,” he said.
“I started to cry,” Kumar went on. He thought, “I can’t fly in but there must be something that we could do.”
Now Kumar, who cofounded Code for Nepal at Open Data Day DC 2014, is “trying to find were the needs are and trying to find where the helpers are and trying to connect [them].”
More than 5,000 have died in the earthquake, which also destroyed scores of centuries-old monuments. But Kumar believes that with an effective, coordinated response, all is not lost.
So, he launched a #Nepalquake Google Doc, a “low tech, low bandwith-friendly” resource that has about 50 or 60 active contributors. Code for Nepal is also keeping track of and mapping the death toll in various regions.
Maptime DC, a Meetup group for mapping enthusiasts, will run a special session to participate in the Nepal mapping efforts, in partnership with the Red Cross’ GIS Team, U.S. Department mapping initiative MapGive, and the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team, an organization that crowdsources mapping data.
“With all these people around the world who can do this mapping from their computer, we can bring a lot of resources to bear on the problem and get data to people that need it fast,” Blake Girardot, VP of the board of directors of HOT, said on WBEZ.
The event, held from 6:30-8 p.m. at the American Red Cross (2025 E St. NW), will allow civic technologists, experts and newbies to contribute to the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team effort. Hurry up and: