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Indonesia: Hacking for Humanity

Stuart Gill's picture

It has been another inspiring and exciting weekend of 'hacking for humanity' at the 3rd bi-annual Random hacks of Kindness (RHoK). On 4-5 December, the Australia-Indonesia Facility for Disaster Reduction (AIFDR) alongside other partners including the Bank hosted the Jakarta-leg of Random Hacks of Kindness. This global event brought together disaster risk managers and over a thousand software engineers (the hackers) to 21 locations around the world for a 48-hour “hackathon”. During the event teams of hackers developed practical software solutions to reduce the impact of natural disasters and help save lives.

The global event kicked off in New York and included a visit from United Nations’ Secretary General, Ban Ki Moon, who thanked the hackers for their contributions to bringing peace to the world. In Indonesia the event was opened by Dr Sutopo Nugroho, a Director at Indonesia’s National Disaster Management Agency, and drew together 34 of Indonesia’s best and brightest hackers. Participants came from Yogyakarta, Bandung, Surabaya and Jakarta. The hackers gave the event their all, with many working all night and donating their weekend for the opportunity to save lives.

At the end of the weekend Jakarta’s hackers voted Disaster Streaming as their winner. This tool, created by two friends, Mr. Takdir and Ms. Yeni Madjida can place SMS, photos, YouTube clips and live webcam streams from disaster events directly onto a web map such as Google Maps. This ingenious but simple tool could help share information on disasters in real-time, with the online map showing people where problems are occurring on the ground.

Disaster Streaming creators Ms. Yeni Madjida and  Mr. Takdir.

Mr. Takdir and Ms. Yeni saw that quick and accurate information is important during disasters and they hoped that their application could play a part in reducing their impact. “Many people can send information on disasters from this gadget and many people can then see this information,” Mr. Takdir said.

Over and above the solutions that are developed at these events are the communities around the world that are being formed. Mr Kristiono Setyadi, one of the participants and organisers of this year’s event, said it best “It’s not about the winning, it’s not about the prize but it’s about the delight and it’s about the pleasure...of collaborating with others to help people on the other side of the world.” At its core, Random Hacks of Kindness is about developing and nurturing this open-source community to develop innovative solutions to disaster risk management problems.

RHoK was founded by Google, Microsoft, Yahoo!, NASA and The World Bank. The first event was held in California in November 2009 and resulted in applications used on the ground during the devastating earthquakes in Haiti and Chile. The winning application from the second hackathon, (from Washington D.C.), helped engineers visualise landslide-risks to help guide urban and rural planning and development. To learn more about RHoK visit www.rhok.org or email Stuart Gill (sgill@worldbank.org).

Trevor Dhu of the Australia-Indonesia Facility for Disaster Reduction (AIFDR) contributed to this post.

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