CrisisCommons: Creating a Case for Investment

Roundtable organized by the Oxford Internet Institute in collaboration with the Programme on Comparative Media Law and Policy, University of Oxford

Thursday 30 September 2010  12:30-14:00

Location: Oxford Internet Institute, University of Oxford, 1 St Giles’ Oxford OX1 3JS

Registration: Free but please e-mail your name and affiliation, if any, to or telephone +44 (0)1865 287 209


  • Heather Blanchard, Co-Founder of CrisisCommons
  • Andrew Turner, Co-Founder of CrisisCommons


Founded in March 2009, CrisisCommons is a global network of volunteers who help people in times and places of crisis. Its vision is to create and sustain ‘a culture of information sharing, improving emergency management and humanitarian activities’. See: For example, during the response to the Haiti Earthquake, CrisisCamp emerged as one of many vehicles where the public could participate in the response to help search for information. For instance, the network created new maps of Port au Prince and developed prototype tools such as Tradui, the first Kreyol mobile translator, and provided surge capacity for existing organizations such as Ushahidi and OpenStreetMap. During this time CrisisCamp volunteers worked with many agencies such as UN OCHA, USAID and the World Bank.

Granlund Haiti

Is such an activity sustainable? How can such a network link with the larger crisis response community, the privacy sector, philanthropists, and academia?

The founders of CrisisCommons and the barcamp series, CrisisCamp, will present their findings at the Oxford Internet Institute regarding how ad hoc volunteer networks can provide assistance and discuss future directions for innovation in crisis response activities at local and global levels. During this roundtable CrisisCommons will present their findings and request feedback on their market assessment, sustainability model, infrastructure model and the case for inclusion of ad hoc networks to the global response efforts.

About the Speakers

Heather Blanchard is a advocate and a communications professional. Heather is working on helping government be more collaborative, participatory and transparent through the adoption of Web 2.0 technology. Her driving passion centers around helping people be better connected during times (and places) of crisis.

Andrew Turner is a neogeographer involved in helping to build the geospatial web. He is the CTO of FortiusOne, where he and his colleagues are building GeoCommons, a platform that makes it easy for people to build and share collaborative maps and customize their slice of the GeoWeb. He is also developing a number of other open-source tools such as GeoPress and Mapstraction.

Slides that will support the presentation are available at:

Comments are most welcome