Geeks Without Borders (GWOB.org) is an international coalition of passionate problem solvers working together to assist people whose survival is threatened by lack of access to technology or communications due to violence, neglect, or catastrophe. Two representatives of this new organization (launching 10/10/10) will be coming in from out of town to talk about this project.
How do we do this? There are three main components:
Digital Mountaintop (DMT)
The Digital Mountaintop is a free, open communications hub, accessible via voice, text (SMS), plain old telephone (POTS), Skype (SIP), Google Voice, Twitter, Facebook, Email, Instant Messaging (IM)…and as many other networks we can connect to. In crisis situations, neighbors can ask for help simply by sending sending a message to the DMT, as long as they (or someone they know) can connect via any of the messaging or real-time communication methods it supports.
Cloud Collective (CC)
Geeks are naturally passionate problem solvers. The Cloud Collective is crowd-sourced problem solving in the cloud. Geeks and other technology-friendly people actively listen to the DMT via existing social networks like Twitter and Facebook. This is already happening, as we’ve learned through amazing stories about Geeks all over the world donating time, expertise, project management skills and resources during 9-11 in 2001, the Indian Ocean Tsunami in 2004, Hurricane Katrina in 2005, and Hatian earthquake in 2010. The CC is not meant to replace first-responders or boots on the ground, rather, it’s designed to empower them. It’s neighbors helping neighbors.
Water in the Well (WW)
In situations where human lives are threatened, there is no way to accurately predict the needs of a community in distress. A solution could be something as simple as being able to receive a wireless text message that indicates whether or not a well 5 miles away has water in it. WW allows for the easy creation and deployment of applications that sit on top of the DMT; applications custom built by members of the CC and rapidly deployed in response to requests shouted from the DMT.