The CrisisCommunicator Project

What is the CrisisCommunicator?

The CrisisCommunicator, as it stands today, is a blueprint, a plan, for a comprehensive tool that will leverage today's mobile computing technology (think: tablets) and disaster communication modalities (think: radio) to aid disaster responders in streamlining their response. It is being designed to work even with zero internet connectivity.

For the non-technical person, this is best described as google maps, with live updates, on your tablet, even with no internet. For the computer techie, think of it as a swarm of nodes on a broad-cast only network. For the Amateur Radio Enthusiast, think of it as Xastir, with some additional features, re-built native on Android.


The CrisisCommunicator is initially planned to have the following features:

  • Personnel tracking - see where other CrisisCommunicators are, their direction, speed, and latest update.
  • Geo-tagged Situation Reports - Note down the position of roadblocks, secondary disasters, points of interest, location of resources, etc., and see the notes that others have made.
  • Refugee Center Management - It transforms into a refugee register, taking down refugees names and family members, tracking stocks of medicine and more.
  • Geo-routing - Driving directions! Also flying directions / walking directions / etc., all offline, and taking into account roadblocks entered by Situation Reports.

Some Background, Please!

Sure thing! :)

In 2004, we were living in Kerala, India, when the Asian Tsunami struck. This was hardly the worst-hit place in the world, but where we were was the worst-hit part of the western seaboard of India. In our area, the cell phone towers were still operational, but were useless for the disaster response; everyone was trying to call home, so no-one could get through.

In 2010, we were in Leh, Ladakh, when freak rain made rivers of mud that washed away whole villages. This time, all communication was down, as in, smashed, broken, and buried. The Indian Army was stationed nearby, and was able to be prime movers in the response, but it still took a long time. My mother and I worked in the mud and hospital for a week before our turn came to fly out.

To make a long story short, in both cases, and in most natural disasters, communications are one of the first things to be hit, and are the most important tool for making an effective response. The CrisisCommunicator project aims to change this, by building a communication system that will operate independently of any other network.

Guiding Principles

Rather than wax eloquent about various virtues that we want to move forward with, here are a few of our guiding principles in short, concise, bullet-form:

  • Open-Source: The CrisisCommunicator will be open-sourced, and will be designed to use freely available or open-sourced data sources (maps, etc).
  • Social Benefit: One target for the CrisisCommunicator is to form the basis for creating and equipping Community Emergency Response Teams in villages and communities around the globe.
  • Appropriate Technology: The proper place of technology is to enable humans to be better humans. There are some (totally awesome) disaster response systems that use satellite imaging and computer image processing to determine the extent and future spread of a disaster, high-tech digital satellite communications, and expensive hardware. There are super radio systems that cost thousands of Dollars/Euros/Yen. There are disaster networks that deploy high-bandwidth WiFi networks using portable base stations. That's great, but it's not our goal Our goal is to build a system that is simple enough to be adopted by anyone relatively quickly, and low-cost enough to be deployed ubiquitously, with reasonable limits.
  • Compatibility: A disaster is the last place to quibble about proprietary formats. The CrisisCommunicator is being designed around open standards and open technologies, and will have compatibility layers built to interface seamlessly with other databases, such as the Red Cross's Disaster Management Portal, Google's Disaster Management services, Sahana Eden, and others.

Progress To Date


Looking for an Android Developer who knows something about APRS. Are you the one?


Wise Earth Technology accepted into Movexum's Pre-Lab business incubator, and is awarded a grant for development of an Android-based version!


A winner was announced for the CrisisCommunicator Worldwide Programming Challenge! Basic mock-up of the program was made in Python, and available under the PeaceOSL on GitHub. Check out the links under "For Developers".


The CrisisCommunicator project is awarded the Young Innovator Fellowship from the United Nations International Telecom Union!