Videos from Big Tent Sendai

"Big Tent: The Role of Technology in Disaster Preparedness and Relief" was held in Sendai in July, and the videos are made public.

Highlight video

Highlights from some of the articles:

Google asks governments like Japan’s to share information on disasters

Speaking in Sendai, Japan on Monday, officials from Google requested that governments be more forthcoming when it comes to releasing information to the public during natural disasters, as it would allow people to use the internet more effectively. At Google’s first “Big Tent” conference in Asia, Rachel Whetstone, who oversees the company’s public policy and communications division, said that if countries are slow to release disaster information, citizens aren’t able to create new services that benefit everybody. She commented that the improvements to Google’s maps service are credited to the sharing of information.

Google urges governments to share disaster data
"One of the challenges we have discovered in Katrina remains today, which is open data and being able to get it and deploy it and lay it on top of other data. It is what really makes a difference," 
Experts at the conference also stressed the importance of keeping a free flow of information on the Internet, even if it risked possible distribution of false information. Meanwhile, consumers of information must also be educated to maximise the benefit of IT in disasters, said Wahlstrom of the United Nations. "There is enormous work to do with the users -- communities, individuals, organisations, local governments -- about how to apply this data, and what to do with the knowledge actually at their fingertips today," she said.

Introductions : Rachel Whetstone - Senior Vice President of Public Policy and Communications, Google Inc 

Introductions : Brian McClendon - Vice President of Engineering, Google Inc 

Introductions : Kan Suzuki - House of Councillors, Government of Japan 

Communicating with disaster-affected communities 

What are people really looking for in a crisis, and what is most useful for them to know? Using search analysis to illustrate their points, this panel of experts will offer historical points of reference to share observations about how, where and when certain information becomes critical to those facing the brunt of natural disasters. They will also share recommendations of how to put this information to use.

Gwi-Yeop Son - Director of Corporate Programs, United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
Lou August - Co-Leader of Information and Communication Technology for Development, World Vision
Will Rogers - Global Coordinator Beneficiary Communication, IFRC
Jun Murai - Dean and Professor, Faculty of Environment and Information Studies, Keio University

Citizen mapping: impact of crowdsourced contributions on local population

Participatory mapping can play a significant role in disaster relief -- particularly in places where available maps are inadequate. Web-based mapping technologies, powered by the open Internet, give volunteers around the world the ability to crowdsource information and make some of the most complete maps of roads, events and resources ever. Discover how two Pakistani citizens helped their countrymen navigate the 20% of land underwater following floods in August 2010 and why the Haitian Diaspora has been credited with making the most complete map of Haiti's roads ever.

Omer Sheikh and Jabran Rafique, Pakistani Super Mappers
Wansoo Im - Assistant Professor at the Department of Family and Community Medicine, Meharry Medical College and President, VERTICES, LLC

Keynote speech : Margareta Wahlström - UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Disaster Risk Reduction 

From the web to the real world: coordinating logistics of relief and recovery 

It's one thing to build technology so that it can be deployed in a crisis -- and it's another to make sure it's effectively used on the ground. In a best case scenario, responders can even anticipate needs and allocate resources to meet them well ahead of time. Find out how responders utilize the knowledge they gain from tech platform to coordinate food trucks, organize volunteers, develop targeted relief plans, conduct wide-scale damage assessments, and raise worldwide awareness of disasters.

Jarrod Goentzel - Founder and Director, MIT Humanitarian Response Lab
Hiroyoshi Watanabe - Director and Head of Public Policy Japan, Amazon
Sam Johnson - Young New Zealander of the Year and Founder of the Christchurch Student Army
Yorimasa Tanaka - General Manager of Division of Information Systems, Yamato Transport CO LTD
Moderator Ishii Hiroshi, Associate Director, MIT Media Lab

Managing the crowd: benefits and challenges of social media in a disaster 

People are increasingly using social networks to communicate and receive information in real-time, and it's no different in an emergency. Government agencies can adopt these social tools to rapidly inform the public during a crisis by building a subscriber base well ahead of time. Updating social media pages regularly helps people get used to relying on these sources for certain types and quality of information, but managing the upkeep and keeping users engaged isn't always that easy. But while crowdsourced intelligence and social networks can be critical sources of information in a crisis, they can also become detrimental rumor mills in an already panicked atmosphere. Managing and dispelling rumors while maximizing rights to free expression can be difficult for governments and organizations to do. How do we balance the value with the drawbacks?

James Kondo - President, Twitter Japan
Heather Leson - Director of Community Engagement, Ushahidi
Hiroyasu Ichikawa - President and Social Media Consultant, SocialCompany, Inc.
Mark Harvey - Executive Director, Internews Europe Moderator Jeremy Wagstaff, Reuters, Technology editor, Asia Pacific

Video Message from Motohisa Furukawa, Minister of State for Science and Technology Policy

The next generation of emergency alerting: using every day technologies to communicate effectively 

Emergency broadcast systems have historically incorporated television networks, radio channels, and most recently even SMS as platforms for disseminating critical information in times of crisis. With more and more people going online for emergency information, how can we leverage the power of the Web to target and reach affected populations where they already are? Better alerting systems that are implemented in an open and interoperable fashion can allow others to interact with government systems to display alerts tailored to geography, vulnerability, and situation in an open manner so that more people can use or build on it.

Bill Ho - Manager Information Technology and Communication Unit, Asian Disaster Preparedness Center
Nigel Snoad - Product Manager, Google.org

Making use of an archive of disaster data 

With all the information gathered from each disaster we face, there are infinite amounts of discoveries to be made as processes can be observed and assessed to become more efficient. How can the data be preserved for optimal use, what's the particular use of maintaining these archives for the future, and who should have access to them?

Jake Porway - Founder, DataKind
Wei-Sen Li - Director, Taiwan National Science and Technology Center for Disaster Reduction
Fumihiko Imamura - Professor, Tohoku University
Moderator Ishii Hiroshi, Associate Director, MIT Media Lab

Building Internet networks for resilience 

Without guarantees that a network will stay up when physical infrastructure might be impacted, it’s impossible to leverage any Internet existing Internet tools or create new ones to address different emergencies. When building infrastructure, governments should consider facilitating the deployment of decentralized, diverse networks that are built for resilience. And to fully harness the power of the Web in a crisis, governments should ensure that citizens have speedy access to broadband and mobile networks at a cost they can afford. The reach and impact of access to emergency information online and effective, timely communication depend on these two factors.

Takashi Shimozato - Interconnection Promotion Department Senior Manager, Interconnection Business Section NTT East
Kei Irie - NTT Docomo
Moderator Norio Murakami, President of Norio Murakami Office Co., Ltd

How government data can save lives: open data and instant information sharing 

The ability of the Internet to capitalize on its potential of assisting in crises depends on both companies and governments improving how they share information. Using divergent standards slows collaboration and response time. But speedy and open access, powering the ability of users to share and communicate information, accelerates relief efforts. Translating emergency information from government websites in arcane formats on personal computers and into open standards is critical, and should happen in advance of a disaster rather than in the middle of a crisis. Onerous licensing requirements and closed formats can make it difficult for responders and local populations alike to gain access. How can we make information that's critical to an emergency easy for the average individual without expert experience to access and share quickly and effectively?

Gisli Olafsson - Emergency Response Director at NetHope
Ian Gomez - Surveillance in Post Extreme Emergencies and Disasters (SPEED), World Health Organization Philippines
Klaikong Vaidhyakarn - General Manager, ChangeFusion
Michelle L. Chang - Program Officer, Governance and Law and Co-Chair, Technology Working Group, The Asia Foundation
Kenji Hiramoto, Executive Advisor for CIO, Ministry of Economy,trade and Industry (METI)
Moderator Norio Murakami, President of Norio Murakami Office Co., Ltd

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed here are my own, and do not reflect those of my employer. -Fumi Yamazaki

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