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New information technologies and their impact on the humanitarian sector

31-12-2011 Article, International Review of the Red Cross, No. 884, by Patrick Meier

This article introduces the field of crisis mapping and provides key examples from Haiti, Russia, Libya, and Somalia to demonstrate how digitally empowered affected communities and volunteer networks are reshaping humanitarian response in the twenty-first century.

Abstract

New information and communication technologies are impacting the humanitarian sector in profound ways. Both crisis-affected communities and global volunteer networks are becoming increasingly digital. This means that the former are increasingly the source of relevant crisis information, while the latter are becoming more adept at managing and visualizing this information on live crisis maps. This article introduces the field of crisis mapping and provides key examples from Haiti, Russia, Libya, and Somalia to demonstrate how digitally empowered affected communities and volunteer networks are reshaping humanitarian response in the twenty-first century.

Biography

Patrick Meier, PhD, is an internationally recognized thought leader on the application of new technologies to crisis early warning and humanitarian response. He currently serves as Director of Crisis Mapping at Ushahidi and previously co-directed the Program on Crisis Mapping and Early Warning at the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative (HHI).