By Peter Kerr
An interesting meeting of people who could help get groundfacts off the (sorry) ground today at Creative HQ, Wellington.
Ranging from university academics (with deep links into Govt), programmers and geeks, researchers and a couple of Enspiralites, (and me, a writer), exploring whether and how the idea that emerged at last year’s Wellington Startup weekend can get traction.
One fact that emerged is the huge volume of unusable (from a useful point of view) tweets that emerge in a crisis. Richard Clark checked out the figures following Japan’s earthquake/tsunami in March 2011. He reckoned there was 2000 ‘noisy’ tweets to every one that was helpful. Much of this noise is retweets and people from outside the disaster area wanting to know more.
groundfacts, admittedly a work in progress, wants to 1) figure out how to sort the noise from the news through a mix of automatic sorting plus human/manual intervention and 2) have an almost instant place the useful information appears on a map.
This would be as a home page for the disaster – a one place, first place of information for those in the middle of the disaster, those outside the zone who want to know more, government (especially, initially the relief teams) and media.
It seems that while many people around the world are circling around the challenges such a (sorted information) instant disaster home page would provide, no one yet has cracked it.
One thing that seemed to emerge is that an open source, open to all format would be best.
groundfacts (Inc) hasn’t yet figured out how to fund the development of such a project; suggestions are welcome.
Note to self: kickstarter?