Project: Ptolemy — A Global Community for Disaster Management

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The most important actor in times of disaster or humanitarian crisis is the community itself. In times of need a community first relies on its various institutions such as religious, cultural, and civic community centers. Frequently, these community centers engage in emergency preparedness measures with the aid of government and NGOs before a disaster — likewise, they continue to function in the recovery capacity after a disaster is finally over.

Before a disaster: community centers provide education and raise awareness for emergency preparedness. What do I do in case of a disaster? Where do I go? How can I help?During a disaster: these community institutions frequently provide shelter and assist in organizing access to food, water, medicine, and various supplies with the aid of government and NGOs.After a disaster: community centers frequently aid in local recovery efforts. Civic organizations organize clean-up and centers continue providing shelter and provisions for those in need.

For these practical purposes, the community is core to the entire disaster management continuum. But what about disaster analysis and information? Individuals in the community need a constant stream of information to inform their decision-making. Unfortunately, communities in crisis aren’t always best equipped to discover and analyze impacts of a disaster. The power and communications systems outages that frequently accompany a disaster represent significant roadblocks to crucial and time-sensitive response operations — literally a matter of life or death.

At Project: Ptolemy, our goal is Global Community.

Effective disaster management requires participation in your community — not just your local community, but your online social community as well.

So, how does it work?

Before a disaster:

Create and