[Ubuntu-PH] Call for Authors: FOSS Disaster Management

Yolynne Medina yolynne at gmail.com
Wed Feb 14 23:33:40 UTC 2007

pls. dessiminate when needed

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Alvin B. Marcelo <alvinbmarcelo at yahoo.com>
Date: Feb 14, 2007 5:55 AM
Subject: [Asiasource2-participants] (no subject)
To: iosn_general <iosn-general at lists.apdip.net>

CALL FOR AUTHORS (from the International Open Source Network)

Author for Primer: FOSS Disaster Management

Duration: 6 months


On December 26, 2005, the countries of Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Thailand were
severely hit by a
tsunami that killed almost 500,000 people. In the Philippines, landslides
during the rainy season
have become regular fare because of the denuding of the forests. Indeed, the
Asia–Pacific region
rests on a disaster-prone part of the Earth. The region contains many of the
volcanoes in what is
called the Ring-of-Fire and is often in the path of the storms that emanate
from the Pacific
Ocean. All these natural and man-made calamities contribute to the slowing
of economic growth
which delay national and regional progress.

As developing countries in the region grapple with their economic problems,
they also have to
contend with the natural disasters that regularly affect the region. This
paper examines how FOSS
– namely, open standards, open source software, and open content can help
address the many issues
disasters bring into the Asia Pacific region.

In times of disaster (and even in the period preceding), open standards,
open software, and open
content are life-saving concepts.

For this paper, the term disaster management encompasses the spectrum from
disaster prevention,
mitigation, up to rehabilitation.

Open Standards

Often, the problems during disaster are resource management and allocation.
As foreign aid
arrives, it becomes a logistical challenge to manage all the resources that
start pouring into the
devastated area. Sometimes, the problem is not lack of resources but the
lack of a system to
distribute them or to match supply with demand. There is also a dearth of
knowledge-bases in times
of disaster. Without relevant and timely knowledge, rescue workers have no
idea how the resources
should be distributed in an equitable and efficient way. An open standard
for disaster data
systems may open up the possibilities of quick access to knowledge in times
of disaster.

Open Source/FOSS

The Internet has become one of the most successful projects because of the
standards that have
guided developers. Software developed for the Internet inter-operate with
each other because of
their underlying compliance with the specified standards. In times of
culturally-specific software will need to be inter-operable with other
non-native applications.
Knowledge-bases from source outside of the devastated area may need to be
used and integrated into
local databases. If software for disaster management are kept open, the
benefits of data sharing
among other open  systems are compounded.

Open Content

It is known that in times of calamities, the local ICT infrastructure is
often destroyed or
severely debilitated. In these instances, access to locally relevant data
may not be possible at
all. Open content development for disaster prevention allow victims and
rescuers to have access to
data in times of crisis. In non-disaster situations, availability of
geographic data as open
content (eg, real-time geocoded satellite maps) can contribute to the
development of better
disaster prevention techniques.


The primer will:

➢ Introduce Free/Open Source Software,  Open Standards, and Open Content. It
will refer to
previous primers already published by the IOSN and explain the spectrum in
which these co-exist.

➢ Provide a rationale for the use of Open Standards, Open Source, Open
Content for Disaster

➢ Profile FOSS based disaster management (including GIS applications)
placing focus on
those emanating or are being used within the Asia-Pacific region

➢ Compare the aforementioned FOSS-based applications with proprietary
equivalents and
explain benefits and disadvantages.

➢ Give an overview of standards setting bodies for Disaster Management, and
how Open
Standards, Open Source, Open Content can enhance the work that these bodies
are doing;

➢ Profile FOSS software and tools that can be used to create new content or
existing content

➢ Provide case studies where the use of standards have increased
interoperability, scaling
up of projects and process efficiency.

➢ Provide sample tenders for ICT projects; review existing policies
endorsing open
standards, open source, open content from this region.

Sample Outline

    * What is FOSS?
    * What is disaster management?
    * What are the issues related to disaster management?
    * How can ICT resolve these issues?
    * How can FOSS – open standards, open source, open content resolve these
    * What is the state of the art in ICT-enhanced disaster management?
    * What are FOSS applications used in disaster management?
    * How can FOSS further improve disaster management?
    * Sample Outline Part II
    * What are geographic information systems?
    * What are important concepts in geographic information systems?
    * What are popular GIS applications? Why?
    * What are popular FOSS-based GIS?
    * Why are open standards important in GIS?
    * Why are open software important in GIS?
    * Why is open content important to GIS?
    * How are GIS applications used in disaster management?
    * How can FOSS GIS applications further improve disaster management?
    * Etc

Duties and Responsibilities of the Author

The Author will be required to carry out the following:

➢ Conduct background research on Open Standards, Open Source, Open Content
for Disaster
Management and for Geographic Information Systems particularly in the
Asia-Pacific context.

➢ Review and analyze existing FOSS-based applications (as above)

➢ Produce a first draft according to objectives as described above.

➢ Provide drafts of the primer taking into account the feedback provided by
according to the timeline below.

➢ Consolidate and compile feedback based on a select list of peer reviewers
approved by
UNDP-IOSN, and make the necessary revisions.

➢ Ensures that the publication material conforms to the UNDP Style Manual,
December 2002

The complete call is at:


About IOSN

The International Open Source Network (IOSN) is a Center of Excellence for
FOSS in the
Asia-Pacific Region. It shapes its activities around Free/Open Source
Software (FOSS) technologies
and applications. Via a small secretariat based at the UNDP Regional Centre
in Bangkok and three
centres of excellence – IOSN ASEAN+3, IOSN PIC (Pacific Island Countries),
and IOSN South Asia,
based in Manila, Suva and Chennai respectively, the IOSN is tasked
specifically to facilitate and
network FOSS advocates and human resources in the region. The vision is that
developing countries
in the Asia-Pacific Region can achieve rapid and sustained economic and
social development by
using affordable yet effective FOSS ICT solutions to bridge the digital

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