Call to code for natural disasters

Written by Julian Blake, Editor at DigitalAgenda

Natural disasters have had a $1.5 trillion economic impact since 2003, affecting an average of 80,000 people daily. Now an industry-backed competition urges coders to help in responding – with a challenge for the best developer disaster response entering its final weeks.

Every week it seems we are greeted by another major natural disaster on TV and social media. Right now we are looking at images of a flood-ravaged Kerala. We’ve seen wildfires in California, Greece and elsewhere. With a changing climate, it’s inevitable that the world will see more weather-driven natural disasters.

For those at the sharp end, of course, this is way more real than a troubling on-screen image.

Given their natural propensity to solve problems, it’s little surprise that developers around the world have increasingly been called on to help address the challenges that come with natural disasters, helping to create more efficient warnings, responses, data collection and infrastructure provision.

In the UK we’ve seen hackathons like 2014’s Floodhack bring developers together to address that year’s serious flooding. Here and elsewhere, we’ve seen coders rise to the occasion to help the humanitarian response to the refugee crisis.

Now the industry-backed Call for Code has sent out a worldwide rallying cry for natural disaster response. Its 2018 Call for Code Global Challenge asks developers everywhere to focus on natural disasters, to improve the state of preparedness, to reduce the disruptive impact on lives, health and wellbeing.

It is urging developers to use their skills to help respond to natural disasters, using technologies like blockchain, Ai, bots, sensor data and machine learning to respond. All code developed must be new and use IBM Cloud services.

“Developers have revolutionised the way people live and interact with virtually everyone and everything,” say challenge organisers. “Where most people see challenges, developers see possibilities.”

“This multi-year global initiative is a rallying cry to developers to use their skills and mastery of the latest technologies, and to create new ones, to drive positive and long-lasting change across the world with their code.”

Call for Code was set up to bring startup, academic, and enterprise developers together by inspiring them to solve the most pressing societal issues of our time. It is backed by IBM, AngelHack and David Clark Cause, among others.

Coder responses to natural disasters could include:

  • Building secure blockchain networks
  • Using Ai and bots to improve real-time communication
  • Understanding health/nutrition needs with data science
  • Improving logistics based on weather and traffic activity
  • Collecting device sensor data to take corrective action
  • Using machine learning, deep learning and visual recognition to improve critical processes.

One team will win the Call for Code global prize, supported by the United Nations Human Rights Office and the American Red Cross’ International team.

More than 900m on social media heard the Call for Code rallying cry for natural disaster response on World Humanitarian Day this week. The social reach of the CfC campaign was boosted by the support of global celebrities, charitable partners, affiliates and the public.

The Call for Code Global Challenge is open for entries until 28 September. Winners will be announced at the Call for Code prize event in San Francisco on 29 October.


whois: Andy White Freelance WordPress Developer London