David Nott volunteers for a month a year with the medical charity
For the last few days I have been having a spirited discussion with Janet Ginsburg of InSTEDD offshoot Trackernews over at Paul Currion’s blog humanitarian.info. This new blog post has helped bring me back to reality. This is what it is all about:
A British doctor volunteering in DR Congo used text message instructions from a colleague to perform a life-saving amputation on a boy.
Vascular surgeon David Nott helped the 16-year-old while working 24-hour shifts with medical charity Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) in Rutshuru.
The boy’s left arm had been ripped off and was badly infected and gangrenous.
Mr Nott, 52, from London, had never performed the operation but followed instructions from a colleague who had.
The surgeon, who is based at Charing Cross Hospital in west London, said: “He was dying. He had about two or three days to live when I saw him.”
Posted in News
Tagged MSF, SMS
Previously, we mentioned Yammer as a possible tool for corporate or organizational communications for emergency response scenarios. Now there is Present.ly which apparently ‘means right now’ and which has recently entered the corporate Twitter arena. Check the vid, take the tour, use it and let us know. Thanks TechCrunch for the heads up!
Posted in Apps
Tagged SMS, Twitter
Mike Kirkwood over at Polka.com is our hero of the day. Mike responded to the request I posted yesterday asking for iPhone developers for a worthwhile SMS GeoChat App that InSTEDD is working on. I owe him a big thanks for stepping up to the plate. We’ll be sure to let you know what these folks come up with but in the mean time why not head over to the iTune’s App Store and check out his Emergency Card App?
Thanks again, Mike!
Eduardo Jezierski over at InSTEDD is looking for a developer to help build an SMS GeoChat iPhone App. It seems that SMS GeoChat has begun to draw some attention even though it is pre-Beta. For those of you interested in volunteering your time (that’s right, volunteering) please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This is a fairly cool app that they are working on and I am proud to say I had a little hand in some of the design aspects. I am most excited about the fact that aid workers will now be able to send their coordinates from a Thuraya via SMS to a group of email addresses and the recipients will be able to view the sender’s location in Google Earth, Google Maps, Live Earth, etc.
For all you road warriors out there this one might prove useful. TechCrunch has a story about a new release from Mozilla Labs called Snowl:
“Mozilla Labs announced a new project today called Snowl. It is an add-on for Firefox that aims to bring all of your messages together in one place, whether it is from email, SMS, Twitter, or RSS/Atom feeds. The project right now is an early, buggy prototype that only supports RSS/Atom feeds and Twitter. So that is nothing special.”
Evan Henshaw-Plath, a.ka. Rabble, wrote to let me know that he has linked his SPOT to Twitter via Yahoo’s Fire Eagle. (You catch him on Twitter under his alias.) Check out this Twitter post:
rabble “Fire Eagle last spotted you 14 minutes ago at xxx NW Gxxxxx St, Portland, OR using SPOT Satellite Messenger. ” So cool. It Works
SPOT is a personal locator tool which uses GPS to find you and then uses a satellite network to send your location to folks that are following you. The data is a available in a variety of formats (GPX, GeoRSS and KML) and can easily be sent out via email, SMS or RSS.
Yahoo’s Fire Eagle is “the secure and stylish way to share your location with sites and services online while giving you unprecedented control over your data and privacy.” If you haven’t signed up for a Beta invite yet please do so here. Evan had a hand in creating Fire Eagle as well as Twitter. You can watch him here talking about Fire Eagle at eComm 2008:
By directing Fire Eagle to route his SPOT tracks to Twitter Evan can keep his followers informed of his whereabouts at all times. Evan also said that SPOT works just fine in a backpack so there should be no line-of-sight issues.
It makes me wonder if all the climbers on K2 (that I wrote about yesterday here) were carrying SPOT’s and had them set-up so that their teammates could follow them would more of them have survived? There are so many factors to consider that there cannot be one simple answer. We do know that one person survived thanks to the fact that they could identify and send their location via their Thuraya satellite phone.
This is the type of resourcefulness that I love to hear about. While the SPOT isn’t cheap at $169.99 it is unique in it’s abilities and if you are running off to the bush, and you are in a permissive environment, you might consider throwing one in your bag. Fire Eagle and Twitter are both free to use so once you’ve paid the upfront costs you can enable your entire network of friends and associates to follow your every move.
Posted in Gadgets
Tagged Fire Eagle, GeoRSS, GPS, KML, satellite, SMS, SPOT, telecommunications, Thuraya, Twitter, Yahoo
As a follow-up to the last post here is a news update on the climbers in Pakistan. Apparently, one climber was saved thanks to his ability to access GPS coordinates on his Thuraya. I am not certain how the coordinates were used but it seems as if he may have been sending his coordinates to his fellow climbers via SMS.
11:32 pm CDT Aug 02, 2008
(K2Climb.net) Norit expedition leader Dutch Wilco Van Rooijen has incredibly survived 3 nights exposure on the high slopes of K2.
He is currently in Camp 3, together with Cas and Pemba Sherpa. Yesterday, Wilco was located between camp 4 and 3 on the Cesen route thanks to GPS coordinates on his Thuraya sat phone, and later people in BC spotted him coming down very slowly under his own power.
It is for this very reason that I blogged about Twittering from Thuraya some months ago. The more easily people in the field can relay there location back to their support team the better.
Posted in News
Tagged GPS, SMS, Thuraya, Twitter
“Thuraya SMS: We have been having many problems with this. One great suggestion is to use Internet Explorer rather than Firefox, Safari, or another browser. If you send an SMS, please indicate how it was send in the message (IEWin for windows IE, IEMac for mac IE, etc). This will help us figure out what works. Any twelve-year old in a programming class could fix the Thuraya web site (assuming this is the problem), but apparently Thuraya only hires eight-year-olds (and their software shows it).”
Read on for the full story, their lat/long, etc.
I watched a great presentation at Where 2.0 by Jesse Robbins and Mikel Maron about disaster tech. Jesse is a champion of what works and what doesn’t and is part of the team over at O’Reilly Radar. I first had the pleasure of meeting Jesse after watching him dismantle a well meaning (but totally off-base) individual at a local disaster tech conference some time ago. Mikel just spent some months working his way across India all the while working with locals to develop OpenStreetMap.org. I have to give it up to Jesse for introducing me to Eduardo Jezierski over at InSTEDD during my quest for a ‘Twitter for Thuraya‘ app. Eduardo and I spent several days hunkered over a desk, building out their SMS GeoChat platform at Where 2.0. I am hopeful that you’ll soon see a Beta product for field workers. If it wasn’t for Jesse and Mikel keeping the fire alive the mainstream tech world would probably let disaster tech drift away in the current.
Paul Currion is another straight shooter who continues to deliver reality to all of those starry eyed folks who believe laptops and Web 2.O are going to save the world. For a dose of this reality be sure to jump over to humanitarian.info.
p.s. – I’ll have the Cradlepoint MBR1000 review up in the next couple of days.
I just wanted to let you all know that we are working hard on building out InSTEDD’s GeoChat platform to bring you a viable Twitter-like solution for sat phone users. I was introduced to Eduardo Jezierski and Daniel Cazzulino of InSTEDD through Evan, Mikel, Schuyler and Jesse (Many thanks to you all!) on Wednesday and since that time we have been working steadily to create a tool that will allow any Thuraya user to send their GPS coordinates via SMS and have it arrive as attachment in a designated recipient’s inbox. Daniel and Eduardo have been doing an amazing job and within 24hrs they had the server end up and running. As soon as we have something viable I will be sure to let you all know.
In the mean time check out http://www.teddster.org/ to get a taste of things to come.