The New York Tech Meetup signed up over 800 potential volunteers to help build tools on the fly. Perhaps the most successful has been the Sandy Coworking Crowdmap, which helped businesses displaced by the storm find places to set up shop free. The map worked, and a big reason was that the local tech industry excels at spreading information internally. Efforts to reach the larger city have not caught on as easily (in part because many people’s phones did not work in the immediate aftermath of the storm).

#NYTechResponds – Day 5 Update. #NYTechHelps

The following is cross-post of http://nytechresponds.wordpress.com/2012/11/04/nytechresponds-day-5-wrap-up/. Remember we’ll be posting less to this blog as we move the new site at http://nytechresponds.wordpress.com. Please go there FIRST for updates on #NYTechResponds and NYTM response to Sandy.

The hard work of Sandy recovery continues and so too does a surge in enthusiasm and cooperation as people from around the city, and around the world, work together to find ways to help those most impacted by the storm. The NYTM community, along with friends and fellow technologists from communities such as Hurricane Hackers and Crisis Commons, remain committed to doing everything we can to get NYC back on its feet. A couple of helpful tools and links to keep handy in this effort:
  • If you are a volunteer with technical skills, and would like to work on some of the technology related response, please let us know by filling out this form – https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/viewform?formkey=dHRJZk9uSmFycld2TW5tbDNfaFpneEE6MQ
  • If you, your business, or non-profit organization are in need of specific technology related support to get back on your feet, use this form – https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/viewform?formkey=dHlJNldWMWQ5cHZJSDFrajhEejhyRkE6MQ. Examples of help might include connectivity troubleshooting and restoration, database recovery, or help getting a POS system up and running again.
  • If you have an idea for a technology project – i.e., a new app, tool, platform to help in the recovery – or are already working on something, take a moment to enter it here http://bit.ly/nytrprojects/. This will help us to coordinate across developers and development teams, avoid duplicate efforts, and find additional opportunities for collaboration and re-use. As the immediate rescue efforts begin to wind down over the next week, we’ll be turning our attention to how we can help solve the long term problems those impacted by Sandy will face, while looking to create durable platforms to help us better recover next time.

Sandy Technology Project Intake

Working on a new technology app, platform, tool, etc. to help support #Sandy relief. Have an idea for one? Have a need for a technology tool to support your relief effort? ENTER IT HERE – https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0Atzn4MFqzJfPdFNGY3lSdS1yTkc2LU5Oc3NoUHRVZXc&pli=1#gid=0

Also remember we’ll be posting less to this blog as we move to the WordPress site we’re using — it’s at http://nytechresponds.wordpress.com. Please go there FIRST for updates on #NYTechResponds and NYTM response to Sandy.

Volunteers – 520 Clinton Ave, Brooklyn #NYTechHelps

Today’s focus for the NY Tech community is direct help of impacted communities and families. A number of people will be gathering at 520 Clinton Avenue in Brooklyn today at the The Church of St. Luke and St. Matthew which will be used as central depot and organizational location for relief efforts. If you can, please stop by there, or other volunteer spots in the city, and HELP OUT.

Also remember we’ll be starting to post less to this blog as we move to the WordPress site we’re using — it’s at http://nytechresponds.wordpress.com. Please go there FIRST for updates on #NYTechResponds and NYTM response to Sandy.

#NYTechResponds Day 3 Wrap-Up: Hackthon, New Sites/Apps

Another productive day. Here are some updates.

Hackathon
We have received a number of e-mails, tweets, etc. expressing enthusiasm for a hackathon. 48 hours ago we targeted a Saturday event; yesterday we discussed a date in the middle of next week. As we’ve been thinking today about the hackathon timing and location, a number of concerns have come up about doing a hackathon even a week out from today. These concerns can be summarized as:

  • Planning efforts for a hackathon may take away from time and cycles that should be spent on direct action and immediate aid
  • Primary aid (food, shelter, basic supplies, first aid, essential connectivity) is still the more pressing need right now over technology; significant portions of the population will still be struggling for the basics come next week
  • Transportation may still be a problem next week
  • Current bootstrapped processes such as those being employed by groups like Hurricane Hackers are producing concerte results — code is shipping (e.g., http://sandy.hydr0.com/)
  • We’re still not clear on what the exact nature and priority of the needs are that should be the focus for the technical community to address – we should look to build platforms and tools that both help in Sandy recover as well as become durable platforms for future responses
  • The city agencies we’d like to work with are buried and are not in a position to focus on a hackathon; not having their participation would be a big gap as their involvement allows us access to a whole host of tools, data, and expertise that would make what is developed at the hackathon much more useful
This is mind, the current thinking amongst those of us who have been considering a hackathon, in particular the leadership of NYTM as well as some of the lead volunteers, is as follows:
  • Continue to maximize the use of the various co-working spaces that have opened their doors to members of the technology community. These co-working spaces can be found using the http://sandycoworking.nytechresponds.org/ tool
  • Consider working with several planned upcoming hackathons; encourage them to focus on Sandy related relief projects
  • Plan for a #NYTechResponds hackathon for later in the month when needs are better understood and transit is better recovered; this will also give us time to better plan for the fundraising angles we’d like to tie into this event
  • Hold a hackathon that emphasizes getting bright, talented people from different organizations and background in a room to crowdsolve problems in working groups based on expertise and experience.
What do you think? Check out the Google Doc about the hackathon we’ve created and share your thoughts there around the where, when, how, why, and what of the hackathon. The will help us to maximize the hackathon’s utility to Sandy and applicability to future responses.
Hurricane Hackers
Our friends at Hurricane Hackers have made a lot of progress today. Two particularly notable developments:
Tools and Key Links
Here are some helpful links and URLs right now as the response continues:

“Sponsor a volunteer” fundraising platform
As we were thinking about the hackathon, we also discussed doing a “sponsor a volunteer” pledge drive whereby donors could give money to charities by pledging money per hour of volunteer work — essentially a way of “double dipping” whereby each hour of volunteer work produces both concerte action and new dollars to support relief. Take a look at the basic spec we put together for the idea here –
http://bit.ly/SponsorAVolunteerAppSpec. Let us know what you think and if you might like to help build this idea out.

Hurricane Hackers – @hurricanehackrs

Hurricane Hackers published an announcement a bit ago about the great work they are doing. Check it out at http://sukeyio.blogspot.co.uk/2012/11/hackers-unite-help-sandy-victims-join.html, and pasted below:

Hackers Unite! Help #Sandy Victims. Join #HurricaneHackers on irc.freenode.net and follow @hurricanehackrs on twitter

Hey all,
Sandy is a major storm, previously a hurricane, that has caused  extensive flooding, power and transportation outages, and physical  damage to the US East Coast and Caribbean. More than 100 deaths have  been linked to the storm. You can see an overview of what is going on in NYC here: http://google.org/crisismap/2012-sandy-nyc

So essentially, over  100,000 people in Lower Manhattan are without power, and will likely  not have it back up for a few days. In order to stay informed as the  situation changes, and to keep in touch with loved ones, they will need  a way to communicate with their laptops  and phones.

We are innovating rapidly to create tools built and deployed using Heroku, Twillio, Human.io, google docs, google maps, crowdmaps — pretty much anything we can get our hands on. This effort is being  spearheaded by the http://civic.mit.edu/  to help make services and connect tech people with people in need on the ground. A lot of interesting things are happening in the wake of  this natural disaster:http://www.fastcompany.com/3002598/sandy-prompts-louder-calls-free-wi-fi

This  is a unique opportunity to innovate to help people (people before  borders, tech beyond borders) and maybe change the debate on issues like  universal free open wifi). Please volunteer some coding / hacking  time and help some real people in a different part of the world that are  not having a great time right now. This a chance to demonstrate the power of the open, unrestricted internet, and the community that such an internet makes possible.

Come and help us over at #HurricaneHackers! Start here: http://hurricanehackers.com/|
Then read the HH-Projects list here: 
http://bit.ly/hh-projects-read |
lulz:
http://brownbag.me:9001/p/sandylulz|
tunes:
http://turntable.fm/hurricane_jammin | follow us @hurricanehackrs.
Also: Join or organize a Sandy CrisisCamp this weekend:
http://crisiscommons.org/2012/10/30/sandycrisiscamp/

If you are in NYC are looking for space to work with power, heat, and wifi, check outhttps://sandycoworking.crowdmap.com/ and the#sandycoworking hashtag on Twitter. Many of NYC’s co-working spaces were damaged, so the need for work space is urgent. Updates on the broader NY Tech community response can be found at www.nytechresponds.org.

Please share this post far and wide!

#HurricaneHackers
@hurricanehackrs