This past Saturday (Jan 23, 2010) Yahoo! hosted a CrisisCamp. CrisisCamp is a barcamp/hackday-like event focused on the goals of CrisisCommons, an international volunteer effort to “create technological tools and resources for responders to use in mitigating disasters and crises around the world” (according to the CrisisCommons “about” page).
This was the second CrisisCamp in support of disaster relief for post-earthquake Haiti, and in addition to Yahoo!’s camp, there were ten other satellite camps hosted across North and South America. Attendees came from various companies and NGOs. 121 people participated in the Silicon Valley camp. Somewhere between 700 and 1,000 people participated overall.
You can see photos of the various camps on Flickr. Here's one showing some of the CrisisCamp volunteers at work in Sunnyvale:
Unlike a hackday, where the focus is on developing an idea in 24 hours and competing for prize at the end, the projects created and developed at a CrisisCamp persist after the camp is over and can be picked up by volunteers at a subsequent camp. Visit the CrisisCommons site to see the list of officially adopted projects. Check out the CrisisCommons wiki projects list to see details of all projects proposed and adopted, completed, and under development. As each camp finished it’s work for the night in one region, the relevant team in the next region would be briefed on progress so work could continue. The Silicon Valley camp picked up work from the Washington D.C. camp.
In short, CrisisCamp was productive and rewarding. It offered a chance to meet cool people and create something positive. The next CrisisCamp is this coming weekend, with satellite camps in New York, Chicago, and Montreal. If you can’t make it to one physically, you can always contribute remotely. Jump on the IRC channel (info) and shout out to the group, and/or look up the contact info for a particular project’s organizers on the wiki.
Yahoo! Developer Network