Just another weblog

Haiti Earthquake 2010 (Part One) January 12, 2011

One year ago, Jan 12, I was on my way to Vietnam.  I didn’t hear Haitian news until I arrived in Saigon which was two days later. Needless to say, the support gang and OLPC/Sugar community reacted to the news in Haiti much quicker. As I was going through my email box days later, there was a flood of emails about initiatives trying to help Haiti in all possible ways.

 OLPC and the whole world:

On Jan 26, Official letter from Nicolas Negroponte reached thousands of people who participated in G1G1  program in 2007, urging them to donate their laptops to Haiti.

Starting in 2008, OLPC partnered with the Inter-American Development Bank to send 13,700 XOs to Haiti, for the students and teachers in 60 schools.

Subsequently post-earthquake in 2010, almost 3,000 used XOs have been donated by individuals around the world. 200 of these were granted to the Waveplace Foundation in March 2010.

Dozens of millions of US dollars were donated by citizens of different countries so that Haitian people have a better chance to build a normal or better life than before.


CrisisCommons / Crisis Camps are an open/grassroots movement to use open source technologies (primarily) to help Haiti recover and hopefully later reinvent itself“. See a Video about the event that took place on Jan 16 in Washington DC, Silicon Valley and London. Our own Nicki Doiron (CMU) played important role as a Haiti Community Mapping Software Developer. Nick worked with community-informatics tools for haiti, like and

“Hey All, The site, now 30 hours old with zero sleep, is looking for help developing an API for getting input into their site, basically a POST. They have an add page but want to be able to add using a POST. Anyone who might be able to help, or who has insomnia, should write to Tim Schwartz. C.”

“Adam is correct – we ‘re absolutely swamped at the moment. Lots of simultaneous efforts-both stateside and in Haiti-going on all at once. We are preparing to deploy to Haiti early on Sunday and intend to bring three Xos with us…”

“Please now begin drafting a similar/carefule public appeal for Haiti Relief Contributors who can _genuinely use XOs for (post)disaster response, to be broadcast after midnight tonight.”

“Hi Adam, Given the much limited power and connectivity options in Haiti, I think a deployment of Sahana on the OLPCs would be valuable…. If we can get a team from OLPC to work on integrating Sahana on a LAMP stack on the new 1.5 version that would be great.  The sahana project is actively responding and you can find details (including the custom code for Haiti) here. Join us on Freenode IRC at #sahana where we are gathering to respond to this.”

Adam Holt wrote a great blog post summarizing immediate efforts

Thank you to all who helped!


WikiMapia December 25, 2010

From Adam Holt:

Regardless of the fact I was talking at length with Russian support volunteer Nina Stawski last night — this is a critically important participatory-mapping precedent we need to study and learn from — I used them in 2006 and am Amazed they have not yet been clobbered/absorbed by Google 😉

WikiMapia is a privately owned, online map and satellite imaging resource that combines Google Maps with a wiki system, allowing users to add information, in the form of a note, to any location on Earth.[2] Users may currently use this information for free; however, contrary to popular belief, Wikimapia is not creative commons and they make explicitly clear in their terms of service agreement that they retain the right to impose fees or usage restrictions at any time.[3] Inspired by the success of Google Maps and Wikipedia, two Russian Internet entrepreneurs Alexandre Koriakine and Evgeniy Saveliev launched the website on May 24, 2006.[4] Its aim is to “describe the whole world”. It now has over 13,600,000 places marked.[5] Although registration is not required to edit or add to WikiMapia, over 996,253 users[6] from around the world currently are registered.[7] All content uploaded by users is currently made available for non-commercial use through Wikimapia API.[8]

The entire  article is worth pondering carefully; just 1 excerpt for now:

     Voting and user statistics

Users can vote in favor of or against other users’ contributions, thereby allowing users to rise in status among the community. There also is a user statistics and ranking board which automatically ranks users based on their contributions. However, vote tallies and user statistics have no impact on a user’s user-level.

[edit] User accounts and levels

Optional user accounts were introduced in October 2006.[14] User levels and permissions have evolved over time in response to the need to control vandalism or abuse. As explained in the WikiMapia FAQ, there are three user-levels.

  • User Level 0 (UL0): Level 0 is the default user level assigned to all new users. UL0 are able to add places, edit existing places, and use the personal messaging system. New users are temporarily prevented from posting in the forum.
  • User Level 1 (UL1): Users are automatically upgraded to UL1 after a few days. In addition to the regular UL0 functions, UL1 users are able to change polygons (place outlines), add roads, add rivers, add railroads, delete places, and contribute to the forum. The vast majority of Wikimapia contributors fall into this category.
  • User Level 2 (UL2): A few hundred registered WikiMapia users have been granted Level 2 access. UL2 permissions include functions which are vital to maintaining site security (such as the ability to initiate ban proceedings on vandals) and anti-vandalism efforts on the map itself (such as the ability to delete a greater number of tags, to protect tags against editing by unregistered users, and to quick-delete certain tags).

[edit] UL2 status

UL2 status may be one of the most misunderstood aspects of WikiMapia’s hierarchy, in part, because the process of promotion remains mysterious to most new users.[15] Level 2 permissions are granted solely at the discretion of WikiMapia Administrators (or site owners), and have been revoked in a few instances. Although Wikimapia Administrators have historically taken recommendations by senior users into account when promoting new users,[16] they have also occasionally acted unilaterally to demote UL2 users.

[edit] Clutter and filtering

In some areas of the world with out-of-date or very expensive mapping, such as India, WikiMapia growth has been phenomenally rapid. This rapid growth brought problems of its own, however. Urban areas became covered with thousands of overlapping rectangles marking the positions of private residences, but there was no provision in the WikiMapia interface for distinguishing those residences from places of public interest.


Happy Birthday OLPC Project! November 16, 2010

Filed under: Volunteering — polyachka @ 3:15 pm
Tags: , , , , , ,

Nicholas Negroponte and Kofi Annan unveiled a working prototype of the Children’s Machine 1 (CM1) on November 16, 2005 at the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) in Tunis, Tunisia” (from Wiki).

So what happened since OLPC XO first introduction to the world five years ago? In response to the Official Overview of OLPC Monitoring and Evaluation Reports  and overview, I just want to say that OLPC has done a lot of great things. New OLPC website is work in progress with its very graphic map that indicates how many XO laptops were distributed worldwide. 

More than that overall number of XOs shipped worldwide I want to know how many children are actually using XO laptops right now. I’d rather support one happy child who is using it than hundreds of laptops locked in the closet.

I also want to know how many people support the idea of OLPC and keep it alive, including educators, developers, content creators, etc., because people make ideas happen. Please, read Ben’s notes on community support question. See pics of volunteers from San Francisco OLPC Community Summit, courtesy of  Mark Battley from Ntugi Kenya deployment.

Thank you, OLPC Community for your dedication and hard work!


%d bloggers like this: