The Documentalist

Conference: Crisis Mapping 2009

Posted in Conferences & Meetings, technology by Sarah on September 29, 2009

There will be a conference hosted in Cleveland, Ohio October 13-16 2009 focusing on the emerging field of Crisis Mapping.  Conference registration is now closed, but it will be worthwhile to follow the results of the working groups that will be hosted at the event.  See Crisis Mapping 2009: The First International Conference on Crisis Mapping (ICCM) for more information.  The conference is hosted by the Harvard Humanitarian Institute and the Department of Political Science at John Carroll University.  The Conference has received sponsorship from the Open Society Institute (OSI), Humanity United (HU), and the US Institute of Peace (USIP).

Crisis Mapping

Crisis Mapping is an emerging field in humanitarian work that takes advantage of a variety of technologies and techniques to dynamically map events so that monitoring groups, governments, international bodies, or other interested parties can follow emerging crises and respond to them.   Crises can be anything from natural disasters to large scale violence.  The idea behind crisis mapping is to allow individuals witnessing an event to post information to dynamic maps (often through Google Maps) by up-loading images or text reports from a mobile device.  These images or text files are linked to a particular geographic location on an interactive map where users can click on marked locations and view the the posted information.  As individuals submit information to a map, crisis patterns emerge, allowing for better intervention strategies.  Mapping also records key data for tracing the emergence and movement of human rights events anywhere in the world.


For detailed information on Crisis Mapping visit iRevolution, a blog maintained by Patrick Meier, a Ph.D. candidate in Harvard’s Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy.  Mr. Meier maintains the blog as part of his dissertation research, which:

… analyzes the impact of the information revolution on repressive rule and social resistance. I am particularly interested in how repressive regimes and resistance groups use information communication technologies to further their own strategic and tactical goals. To this end, I provide research guidance to DigiActive, a non-profit initiative dedicated to digital activism, and serve on the Board of Advisers for Digital Democracy.

The blog focuses on how humanitarian efforts and social resistance groups take advantage of a variety of technologies and methods for sharing information to counter social injustice, human rights abuses, and repression.  Mr. Meier profiles various mapping and information programs throughout his blog posts.  He has also produced a 38 minute video Introduction to Crisis Mapping that provides a good overview of different interactive mapping techniques and technologies.


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