Call for Authors: FOSS Disaster Management
TERMS OF REFERENCE
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.
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.
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 disaster, 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.
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.
Each part of the paper 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 Management
➢ Profile FOSS based disaster management and 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 migrate 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.
- 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 issues?
- 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, etc…
Duties and Responsibilities of the Author
signed – project kick off (IOSN) Annotated
outline of the primer Feedback
to primer outline (IOSN) First
draft of primer (Author) Internal
feedback to the first draft (IOSN) Second
draft of primer + response to the internal feedback (Author) Peer
and public feedback to the primer (IOSN) Third
to the third draft (IOSN) Final
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 UNDP-IOSN 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 version.
The project will be undertaken based on the following timetable:
0th week 2nd week 3rd week 8th week 9th week 12th week 15th week 18th week 19th week 22nd week
All the copyright of research papers, materials, documents, publications, and online resources collected and worked upon by the Author belong UNDPIOSN.
UNDP-IOSN will license this body of work to the general public under the Creative Commons Attribution license. Therefore the Author has full rights to use the content and findings, for any further work of similar nature that s/he wishes to perform in the future.
Qualifications and Experience
➢ Substantial knowledge of Free and Open Source Software movement particularly in the Asia-Pacific region.
➢ Prior experience in research and publishing of papers on FOSS and in Disaster Management (including open standards, open source software, and open content)
➢ Good command of English language communication and writing skills.
➢ Good communication and interpersonal skills and experience in working effectively in a multicultural environment.
➢ A team player and self starter, able to work with minimum supervision, with sound judgment.
Terms of Payments
A lump sum amount of US$4,000 will be paid upon submission and acceptance by APDIP, of the final prepublication version of the Report. No further claims will be considered.
signed – project kick off (IOSN)
Annotated outline of the primer
to primer outline (IOSN)
draft of primer (Author)
feedback to the first draft (IOSN)
draft of primer + response to the internal feedback (Author)
and public feedback to the primer (IOSN)
Third draft (Author)
to the third draft (IOSN)
Interested authors are requested to send an e-mail to asean3 AT iosn DOT net attaching a curriculum vitae and a portfolio of creative works on or before February 28th, 2007.