In this episode, we chat with Maurits van der Vlugt, one of the co-founders of Australia’s Bushfire Connect service on the power of the crowd in an emergency. Maurits talks candidly about the opportunities and challenges of establishing and sustaining a voluntary initiative using social tools, and the importance of these initiatives engaging with the ‘command and control’ culture of the formal emergency management agencies and structures.
Bushfire Connect allows anyone in the country to submit local updates, which are then mapped and combined with official warnings and then alerts are sent out to people who are signed up for that particular region – all that’s done in real time.
About Maurits van der Vlugt
Maurits is recognised as one of Australia’s leading authorities in the design and implementation of (interoperable) spatial data infrastructures, and web delivery of spatial data. Maurits has a long career in consulting government and the private sector on developing location-intelligence strategies, along with the enabling technology frameworks, business cases and implementation planning. Having worked for over 20 years in the spatial information industry in Europe, the USA and Australia, he has developed an extensive international network.
Maurits also volunteers his time to not-for-profit crisis management initiatives such as BushfireConnect and Random Hacks of Kindness.
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Episode links and resources
- Bushfire Connect website
- Ushahidi open source software that powers Bushfire Connect as well as other similar initiatives around the world
- Emergency Management 2.0 research project for the Australian Government’s 2.0 Taskforce
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