Free software in the Haiti aid effort, and how you can help

Free Software FoundationOpenStreetMap and Sahana are two free software projects that are facilitating aid to Haiti.

We wanted to call attention to two free software projects that have been involved in the Haiti humanitarian effort, both because of the usefulness of their work and because they can surely use the help of skilled volunteers.

The first, Sahana, is free software for disaster management developed in response to the Sri Lanka tsunami in 2004. Sahana won FSF’s 2006 Free Software Award for Projects of Social Benefit. The Sahana software provides a portal page to disaster relief efforts. The best place to help out seems to be the wiki page devoted to development of Sahana’s Haiti response.

The second is OpenStreetMap, a project which uses free data and volunteer contributions to map the world. There was a massive volunteer effort to improve the maps of Port au Prince immediately after the earthquake (see the before and after photos) and this community-created, freely licensed map has been used by a long and interesting list of crisis responders. Check out their Project Haiti wiki page to get involved (see the list of editing tools).

Of course, while technology can and will help, there is a massive need for basic aid and resources. We found this resource from Charity Navigator to be useful for donating:

Haiti earthquake aid in Charity Navigator

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 3.0 license (or later version).

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