Sahana for Myanmar

Following the devastation of Cyclone Nargis in Myanmar, the usual questions arise: how, why and where can ICT help.. Although this time round, the situation is a bit more complicated. However, the global humanitarian community is rising to the challenge as well. An instance of Sahana has been setup, with the help of InSTEDD. Another Sahana instance is hosted at Relief.Asia : Currently, efforts are underway to localize the system into Burmese. Also looking quite promising are the efforts with the Thuraya mobile devices. Coordinates from the device’s in-built GPS receiver can be text messaged via SMS to a service which can then be used in collaboration with GIS. This is exactly what’s on the roadmap for Sahana; which contains both the SMS backend and the GIS backend/front-end, which leaves a small component to be developed to parse coordinates, and then act on it – maybe send out emails, display them on maps, show them in the Sahana Situation Mapping Module etc. Anyways, to the topic at hand: now that Sahana is setup, it would be interesting to see how the other technologies work around it. Challenging deployments add to the experience, and one day, maybe a total solution would be readily available. GeoChat and Twitter seem to be hot on the charts as well – a ready made case for social networking, and the future semantic web..


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