Open Aid: How Open Source Tools and Techniques are Transforming Disaster Relief

Accepted Session
Short Form
Scheduled: Thursday, June 22, 2017 from 3:45 – 4:30pm in B304


Open source works best when the stakes are high, volunteers are pouring in and tons of stakeholders need to coordinate their resources, so it shouldn't be a surprise that the open source movement is transforming how individuals and institutions respond to disasters.


Open source tools and community management techniques are transforming disaster relief and humanitarian aid through a movement some people are calling “Open Aid”. This transformation is manifesting online and offline, within institutions and outside of them.

During this talk, I’ll:

  • propose a framework for understanding how open source impacts sectors,
  • use this framework to analyze how “Open Aid” is impacting the humanitarian sector
  • provide four case studies in which open source tools and techniques were successfully used to improve disaster response and humanitarian aid
  • offer a vision of a glorious future in which disaster response and humanitarian aid are organized under open source principles
  • explain some ways the audience can get involved with projects advancing the “open aid” movement


disaster response, emergency management, community management, open data, humanitarianism

Speaking experience

I give presentations, organize panels and deliver trainings that help people understand how free/libre/open-source tools and techniques can be applied to a specific sector of work. Recently I’ve been doing a lot of speaking in the humanitarian aid and disaster management field for organizations such as the American Red Cross, National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (NVOAD), International Association of Emergency Managers (IAEM) and New York City Emergency Management (NYCEM). You can see my presentations here: