Data Management Software Recommendations
At the most basic level, groups engaged in disaster relief and community resilience work should have access to a Dropbox-like file sharing system which can host both public and private files and folder systems. OwnCloud is an easy-to-deploy, easy-to-use system that could meet this need. If a group or network wants to make it easy for its member organizations to benefit from the open data revolution, they can set up a CKAN “data repository”, which provides groups with the ability to upload, describe, preview, download, host and stream a wide variety of data formats. It can be used to host and organize PDFs, turn CSVs (spreadsheets) into interactive maps and serve dynamic data streams in real time to other software applications. For the more technically ambitious, it can also wrap data in an API with which software developers can use to create applications, produce visualizations and build semantic information resources. Disaster relief groups could use a data repository to share a wide variety of data and knowledge information, including: information about affected areas, such as demographics, geography/geology, environmental reports, important places, and mapping layers canvassing data related to individual and neighbourhood needs for things like food, shelter, and health care raw data about who is providing disaster relief and which populations they are serving templates for managing inventory, work sites, damage assessment surveys, volunteer registration forms and other tools for disaster relief groups how-to's and trainings guides about everything from killing mold to anonymizing and responsibly sharing data Data repositories allow users to upload both public data that can be shared with everyone, and private data that can be managed by particular users without anyone else seeing it. To prevent confidential information from being made public, the system can be configured such that all public data uploads are moderated, and only approved data sets are made public. In such a configuration, when users find incorrect data or data that shouldn't be shared on the system, they can flag it as inappropriate so it can be taken offline. Of course, with more data tools available, it would be incumbent on the relief community to learn more about how to use data and data tools to improve their operations.