Sahana News January 2014

Happy New Year!  It was a busy month of December (and beginning of January) with the ongoing response to Super Typhoon Yolanda in the Philippines, the Google Code-In, a SahanaCamp in Thailand, and hopefully, everyone had some time off with family and friends to celebrate whatever one celebrates at the end of the year.  I know I did.

The past December 26th marked the 9th anniversary of the Indian Ocean Earthquake and Tsunami…. a horrific event that gave birth to the idea of using open source tools to help the survivors of disaster… and by that I mean Sahana.  This June in Sri Lanka, there will be a weeklong series of meetings and conferences to commemorate the 10th anniversary of this event.  Planning is well underway; I hope you can be with us for the OASIS CAP Workshop, ISCRAM Asia Conference, Sahana Annual Meeting and a SahanaCamp / Bar Camp / Workshop (exact monikers are still being debated) in Sri Lanka this June.

Recent News and Announcements

Google Code-In.  The 2013 Google Code-In concluded this month.  We had 36 students complete 153 tasks.  A great job was done by our entire mentoring team as always – providing the students with helpful advice and direction as they learn to contribute meaningfully to an open source project – as well as our first time admins Ramindu Deshapriya and Vishrut Mehta who did a lot of hard and thankless work behind the scenes to make sure the program ran smoothly as always.  Thanks also to the participants who assisted us greatly on closing tickets and other tasks on our existing to do lists.  Our grand prize winners were announced this past Monday by Google: Congratulations to Akshaykumar Kalose from the United States and Anurag Sharma from India.

SahanaCamp@AIT Thailand December 16-17.  SSF Director Nuwan Waidyanatha facilitated a 2-day SahanaCamp as part of a three week course at the Geoinformatics Center attached to the Asian Institute of Technology (AIT) based in Thailand.  On day one, the SahanaCamp introduced participants to Sahana Eden’s Community Resilience and Vulnerability Mapping tools with hands-on exercises that helped them realize how additional GIS layers such as census data and assets (e.g. buildings) data can be overstayed with the hazard maps to determine the communities level of risk.  The second day of the SahanaCamp exposed them to Sahana-based alerting/warning (i.e. Sahana CAP-enabled Alerting and Messaging Broker) and situational-reporting (i.e. Sahana Incident Reporting System) tools.  Read more about it here: SahanaCamp at the Asian Institute of Technology in Thailand.

Updates to Website:  SSF Communications intern Hannah Schwartz, SSF Director Devin Balkind and I have been working on reorganizing the content of our website with a two-phase plan that will initially update some of the content of the website, reorganize some pages and menus, and give a quick makeover to the homepage.  You will notice some of these changes already on our site (I hope… hint… look for fewer options on the top level menu and wider content columns inside the front page… also check out the new deployments page and of course the reorganization of our home page).

In the long term, we’ll be looking to get a designer to update our theme and add some features that will make the site more useful to everyone – potential customers/users, sponsors, new contributors and our existing community.  As part of this process, we’ll be looking to link and embed certain information from documents and spreadsheets in the Foundation’s Google Drive folders – where they will be more easily accessible and able to be updated, as well as the long-awaited for Sahana Sunflower site that will serve as a repository of foundation records and information and provide a hands-on tool for Sahana Eden developers to work with.

Deprecating the Wiki:  As part of the effort to move more of our content to be more accessible via the SSF website and through Google Drive folders, it has become apparent that there is not much remaining value in continuing to try to maintain the main Sahana Software Foundation wiki for this purpose.  Without technical or admin support for dokuwiki, this resource has been foundering for a while.  It is used mostly for Google Summer of Code pages and as a repository of official Foundation records; that content can easily be moved to Google Drive documents and folders.  Once these records are moved, we plan on disabling future edits to most of the namespaces, while leaving the wiki up as a historic resource and archive.  However, we recognize that the Vesuvius project also uses the wiki, so they will have to decide where they want to move their wiki… or if they want to take over support for dokuwiki to serve their project needs.

Project Updates

The Sahana Software Foundation will be beginning/continuing work on a number of projects early this year:

Los Angeles Community Resilience Mapping Portal.  Year two of this project will see us working with 8 community coalitions in Los Angeles County to help them add and edit data within this Sahana Eden based system while we add new features and enhancements based on a user evaluation to take place in the Spring.

MCOP Puget Sound.  We’ll be beginning the first phase of a project this year to bring better situational awareness to the City of Seattle of threats and hazards affecting the Maritime industry in Puget Sound.  Sahana Eden will be used as a resource directory, for task management and mapping data as part of an extensive multi-year and multi-vendor integration project.

NYC Prepared.  Work is continuing to prepare a Community Information Management System for community based organizations in the Greater New York City area involved in Super Storm Sandy long-term recovery efforts.  The Sahana Eden based NYC Prepared site will primarily to serve as a shared resource for directory and services information (a 2-1-1 type resource).  See the NYC Prepared Tools page for more information.

Philippines Super Typhoon Yolanda.  We are continuing to provide support to groups using Sahana Eden as part of the recovery efforts and are looking for funding to support an effort to hold a SahanaCamp and associated Evaluation Campaign to build a Filipino Community Of Practice amongst humanitarian and technical organizations in the Philippines.

Upcoming Events

IOTX Lanka June 16-22, 2014 in Negombo and Colombo, Sri LankaSAVE THE DATE and plan to join us for a series of events commemorating the Indian Ocean Tsunami Xth Anniversary and focused on strengthening disaster planning and preparedness.  Planned public events include an Common Alerting Protocol (CAP) Workshop, ISCRAM Asia Conference, SahanaCamp Hackathon/Barcamp, a LirneASIA Public Lecture, and of course, the 2014 Sahana Annual General Meeting.

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That’s all for this month.  If I’ve missed anything important, please do share your news with the community as well.  And as always, my inbox is always open.  I look forward to hearing from you.

Best regards,


Go forth and do good!!!

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