As witnessed during recent disasters such as Hurricane Sandy and the earthquakes in Haiti and Japan, social media and Web 2.0 technologies—as well as the expanding availability of publicly available structured data—are beginning to dramatically affect all aspects of disaster management. Such technologies permit communication and coordination in ways that were not possible even a few years ago.  Geographically dispersed volunteers now participate in large-scale online collective activities. Official organizations have new channels through which to interact with the public, and they have access to new (and large-scale) providers of both information and services.

Aston University and the University of Warwick are happy to announce the Hackathon for Disaster Response, the second 2-day hackathon to bring together software developers and emergency management experts to hack out solutions to disaster-related problems. We will focus specifically on data available via social media, and on structured data (open data, linked data) available from a variety of sources. This event is sponsored as part of the Disaster 2.0 project and will be followed by the SMERST 2013 Conference: Social Media and Semantic Technologies in Emergency Response.

What we learnt last time:

There is an enormous amount of activity in the area of free and open source tools and systems for humanitarian disaster response – for more details look at the blog posts and videos from the September 2012 event. Much work remains to be done to bring the humanitarian disaster response community in touch with the government backed emergency management agencies. We hope in the second run of this event to both support further development work for disaster and emergency response systems and get more people from the two communities talking to each other, learning and contributing.

Participants from the first hackathon valued the experience.  Comments included:

“the experience was positive: good mix of people and skills, great networking opportunities, stimulating environment.”

“It was good to sit with likeminded people for a weekend and work on important and relevant projects. The hackathon concept is a very welcome departure from the talk-shop kind of conferences which don’t have explicit tangible outputs. In particular, the tight knit group and the heavy reliance on social interactions and events makes for a light and comfortable environment in which to get work done.”

“We had a good experience, especially on the small details (food, drink, wifi, servers, tech support). This greatly contributed to the success of our project.”

What you can contribute:

Before we meet, send in your ideas to be placed in the Problem Spaces page. Then come with your ideas, energy and enthusiasm. Programming skills are most welcome but not essential.

Hackathon Dates:
12-14 April 2013
Event begins with Meet up on Friday 12th at 6.00pm
Hackathon Location:

Registration Deadline:
12 April 2013
Registration Site:
FREE – see Registration page on this website.
Event Lead:

Problem Space

To be confirmed.

UPDATE: Details on the kinds of project at the event are posted on the Problem Space page.

UPDATE: A discussion forum for the event is now available, feel free to sign up and post any questions about H4D2 there.