The Tech Used to Help in Haiti's Earthquake Recovery

haititech.jpg

The Knight Foundation released a report today detailing how technology was employed in the aftermath of last year's earthquake in Haiti. The infographic above summarizes some of the key areas, but there's a full report available, too.

They left off one effort, though, that I was personally involved in creating: Haiti ReWired, a site dedicated to technology, infrastructure, and the future of Haiti. That community dazzled me. Using the social networking site Ning, people self-organized around a variety of topics and projects. For example, we were able to organize the crowdsourced translation and adaptation of an earthquake-resistant construction booklet for use in Haiti thanks to hard work of dozens of volunteers.

What the crisis in Haiti showed was that the tools we'd played with could be used to do real work in the world. SMS wasn't just for telling people about parties; it could be used to let first responders know where injured people were trapped. Crowdsourcing wasn't just for making t-shirts on Threadless; Haitians across the globe could come together to do difficult technical translations.

It's the work of Ushahidi and groups like them that should make us wary of those who would say that all Internet-organized social activity is frivolous. Because in one of the most humanitarian crises in recent memory, that just wasn't true. Of course, the technology didn't do the work on its own. It took real humans pulling the levers and doing the hard stuff. But the actions the technology enabled, though they could not mitigate all the horrors of that time, did help.

Presented by

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register with Disqus.

Please note that The Atlantic's account system is separate from our commenting system. To log in or register with The Atlantic, use the Sign In button at the top of every page.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

A New York City Minute, Frozen in Time

This short film takes you on a whirling tour of the Big Apple

Video

What Happened to the Milky Way?

Light pollution has taken away our ability to see the stars. Can we save the night sky?

Video

The Faces of #BlackLivesMatter

Scenes from a recent protest in New York City

Video

Ruth Bader Ginsburg on Life

The Supreme Court justice talks gender equality and marriage.

Video

The Pentagon's $1.5 Trillion Mistake

The F-35 fighter jet was supposed to do everything. Instead, it can barely do anything.

More in Technology

Just In