Give a man internet & he’ll surf for a day, teach him how to network and he’ll email you forever…

A big part of our work is sharing our knowledge and making sure that we leave the communities to whose aid we come better prepared.
That means that we teach them to maintain the technology that we provide them with. There would be no point in installing something that won’t be repaired when it breaks, the developing world is already rife with collapsed and abandoned aid projects.

That’s why our team currently on the ground in Cebu the Philippines has started teaching local volunteers the basics of computer networking, and even the case of wireless networks the first lesson has all to do with wires (cables).

Martin Keding ran a class yesterday teaching volunteers how to splice ethernet cable. The newly accumulated knowledge was immediately put into practice running lengths of cable as part of installing another Cambium Networks ePMP device. Tomorrows class will cover basic IP addressing and “troubleshooting the network”.

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Cebu update December 10 2014.

Arapal Camp

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sitrep received from our team in Camp Arapal (North Cebu) this morning:

  • Power has been restored to the camp.
  • 1st Point-to-Point wireless link between hill 1 and main camp is up and running
  • On hill 1 a 3G router, ATA and analogue phone has been installed.
  • Work on second Point-to-Point link  from hill 2 is underway.
  • After running clinics in surrounding areas the Medical team has trained a calls of 40+ local volunteers in 1st Aid today.

More updates and hopefully some pictures soon!

Remember people, keep the donations coming. These updates show you how your money is spent!

http://www.gofundme.com/CampArapal

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Typhoon #Ruby / #Hagupit update.

As typhoon Ruby was making landfall in East Samar our team members started arriving in Cebu. With people flying in from Winnipeg, Belfast, London, Los Angeles and Sidney there was a worry that flights might be cancelled but luckily everyone arrived more or less on time. The hotel they were staying in was already filling up with families seeking refuge from the typhoon. On the way from the airport to the hotel signs of ongoing evacuations were visible everywhere with schools and other buildings being used as shelters.

evacuation-center-in-cebu-city

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Contact with Camp Arapal told us that the camp was full with refugees from the typhoon and that it would be better if we postponed our arrival by a day. This was actually beneficial as we were able to send a delegation to a Ruby Task Force meeting organised by the local authorities. The meeting was attended by local authorities as well as NGO’s such as All Hands Volunteers (one of our partner organisations), Islamic relief, Project Hope and others. The meeting provided a good briefing on the scale of the impact as well as coordinate with other NGO’s and make them aware of our presence and capacities.

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While the meeting was going on our techs Martin & Tom got their geek on and fixed the hotel’s wifi.

On the same day several boxes of supplies & equipment which we had shipped from the US in early October (thanks to the Handang Tumulong Foundation) arrived in Cebu. Again a case of perfect timing. The team and the supplies have since made it to Camp Arapal. While power is still out at the camp our techs have carried out their site survey and will start building the wifi P2P links tomorrow. In the meantime the medical team got stuck in straight away also and has already treated several medium casualties and one urgent one. The first medical clinic is planned for tomorrow. More updates to follow soon.

In the meantime your donations are still very much needed. As our work has goes on so will the costs. Your donation will allow us to purchase more medicine locally which will be administered to people attending the clinics. Please make a donation online and share this blogpost. You can by following this link.

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*WIN* Fundraising Raffle *WIN*

RAffle logo

UPDATE: As we only got partway to our goal of raising $3500 we have extended the deadline for this raffle to December 16th.

Don’t miss your chance to win and enter now!

As part of our ongoing fundraising efforts we are always looking for new ways to entice people to support us and ways to give something back to our supporters.

That’s why have come up with a fundraising raffle.

Ekahau, one of our long term supporters has donated a complete set consisting of their Site Survey Pro product(including 3D Planner and Ekahau NIC) to raffle. The RRP for this fantastic prize is $4400!

Full details of the product can be found here:
http://www.ekahau.com/wifidesign/ekahau-site-survey

All you need to do is MAKE A $25 DONATION TO OUR CURRENT CAMPAIGN ON GOFUNDME Between today and December 4th.

enter-to-win1-300x249

You can off course donate more than $25 and every multiple of this amount will give you an additional chance to win this prize!

As we strive to meet the legal requirements below are the Terms & Conditions:

Entry requirements

To be eligible to enter the raffle, entrants must:

Be over 18 years of age by 1 January 2013
Not be a member of Disaster Tech Lab staff.
Have a donation of at least $25 between November 26th and December 4th.

Prizes
The prize consists of the following:

1 x Ekahau Site Survey Pro (including 3D Planner and Ekahau NIC) to the value of $4400

Target

Applicable legislation
This raffle is conducted under the legislation of the Republic of Ireland

The target of this raffle is to raise the minimum amount of $3500. If this amount is not raised by the end date Disaster Tech Lab reserves the right to extend the raffle period.

Closing date
Closing date for entering is December 4th with the draw taking place on December 15th. Any tickets purchased after this date will be disqualified and the purchase price refunded.

Winners
The winner will be drawn by an independent person in Hollohans Pub in Abbey Co. Galway on December 15th 2014. The promoter’s decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into. The winner will be notified within 3 working days of the closing date by email. The winner’s name will be announced on the Disaster Tech Lab website (www.disastertechlab.org). Full address details will not be disclosed. Also:

The winner will be contacted by email. In the event that we cannot contact the winner within 28 days after the draw, the prize will be awarded to a new winner.

The prizes are non-transferable and only consist of what is listed above.
By entering the draw, winners confirm their agreement to take part in any associated publicity.

Please note
Disaster Tech Lab respects, and is committed to protecting your privacy. The personal information you provide will remain private and will only be used for the purposes outlined here.

Disaster Tech Lab reserves the right to amend, withdraw or terminate the raffle or alter the raffle at any time without prior notice.

Ekahau, Inc. corporate logo

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Increased Philippine participation in upcoming deployment to Cebu.

DTL has always strived to include local volunteers during our deployment. Having local participation has several benefits, it keeps our overheads down, it gives us increased local knowledge and awareness and most of all it guarantees continuity of effort. Not only can we ” leave”  some of our knowledge and skills behind but we also create a local capacity able to follow up on the work that we’ve done.

That’s why we’re delighted to be able to announce that our upcoming deployment to Cebu has a substantial amount of local support. Not only do we have several volunteers based in Manila and Cebu but we have been approached by the Fifth TAS (Technical & Administrative Services Brigade – Reserve) . This is a reserve unit of the Armed Forces of the Philippines. The unit comprises medical doctors, nurses, veterinarians, teachers, engineers, lawyers etc and is based in Cebu city.

The 5th TAS has offered to support our deployment with both personnel as well as logistical support.

To receive this level of support is an honor and will be of great benefit to the quality and impact of our mission.

Remember, we still need your support to make sure that this deployment is a success. Please go to our fundraising page and make a donation today!

5th_Technical_&_Administrative_Services_Brigade_(Reserve)_Unit_Seal

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Follow-up deployment to Cebu, Philippines.

2014-03-09 12.26.29

During our initial deployment to the Philippines, following typhoon Haiyan in November 2013, we worked in several areas across the Northern half of the island of Cebu. Our teams built communications infra-structure, provided communication services, ran medical clinics and trained several teams of local volunteers in first aid and medical skills. Out of all the lessons learned during this 4 month deployment one thing stood out from the rest: the need for the local population to become more prepared and resilient. The Philippines is a country that is battered by typhoons, earthquakes and volcanoes on a regular basis. As this is something that cannot be changed the best way to decrease the number of casualties following disasters is by enabling the population to be more prepared and to respond quicker and more efficiently.

One of the communities that we worked in stood out from the others, this was Arapal Camp. Arapal is located in a remote rural area south-west of the city of Bogo. The region is very poor and has almost no infra-structure or services. However Arapal Camp, under the guidance of US born Philippinos, has started a number of programs to empower the local community and allow them to become more resilient. They are running sustainable farming programs and livelihood training (carpentry, artisan crafts etc). They have also build a school for local children and are serving as a hub for the wider community for the ongoing rebuilding effort providing materials, labor and construction advice. The camp also has a central kitchen, a sawmill, pig & goat farm and serves as a religious center for the area with Sunday mass attracting up to 1000 people.

In short Arapal Camp is a community that wants to and *is* improving their own situation. They do not want to be dependent on aid and roll from one disaster to another.

To assist this great community, Disaster Tech Lab has decided to provide technical/communications & medical expertise and equipment. Earlier this year we installed a satellite dish as well as a number of WiFi access points providing internet access to the main building. We also ran a number of medical clinics and more importantly provided First Aid and CPR training to a team of local medical volunteers that we set up.  Having a reliable source of communications greatly enhances the communities resiliency and preparedness while the medical training and supplies provided by Disaster Tech Lab have already proven their worth in a community which was hours away from any form of medical aid.

Disaster Tech Lab has now decided to return to Arapal to continue the project we started and to make the community sully self-supporting in communications and medical needs.  During our 10 day mission in late October to early December we plan to complete the following tasks:

  • Install a 3G internet backhaul into the location.
  • Extend internet access via WiFi to the whole camp/village.
  • Install a number of VoIP phones allowing incoming and outgoing phone communication.
  • Train local volunteers in maintaining the computer network equipment.
  • Provide refresher training for the local medical response team.
  • Run medical clinics in surrounding communities providing first aid and pre-hospital care.
  • Carry out a medical assessment for the region and share with national authorities.
  • Establish a permanent local medical clinic.
  • Provide medical supplies and equipment for above clinic.

The overall effect of this mission will be that the wider community will have access to communication services which will be more resilient than the unreliable services currently offered by the telecoms companies. Not only will this allow them to communicate better following a disaster but the internet access will greatly improve the quality of their livelihood training programs as well as the children’s education in the school.

As part of our increased capacity we have set up a separate organization to handle all future medical deployments. Keeping with our ethos this organization is called “Disaster Medics”.  The team for Disaster Medics will deploy together with the Disaster Tech Lab team on this upcoming mission.

The medical training as well as the equipment and supplies are invaluable as a in these type of rural communities a large number of people still end up either dying or incurring livelong disabilities due to the non-existent medical care. For Arapal the nearest doctor is 2.5 hours away and most people can’t even afford to go. The training and medical supplies we delivered earlier this year has already been put to good use on several occasion given urgently needed aid to people with injuries or illnesses.

Donations are very much appreciated and can be made securely online via the following link: http://www.gofundme.com/ep1qak

Thank you!

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To logo or not to logo….

We’ve been having some internal discussion about our logo for some time.  The current logo is one that is mostly a homebrew one with some tweaks added over time.

Master

Some of the comments we’ve had is that it doesn’t have a clear reference to what we as an organisation do and that is doesn’t scale well.

As opinions within the organisation are divided on the issue whether or not we need a new logo we are welcoming your opinion.

Do you like our current logo? Is it representative?

If you don’t like it what would you think we should change?

We already have been playing with some new designs and below are some of the current draft designs. We would appreciate feedback on these as well.

Feedback can be left as comments below.

DTL logo proposals

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Technology & humanitarian aid: follow up mission to Philippines.

we want you

Following our successful 4-month deployment to the Philippines which finished last April we have now started planning a follow up mission and are looking for volunteers!

The team for the upcoming mission will deploy to Arapal Camp on the island of Cebu. Arapal Camp is in many ways a unique community. It’s in  a rural & very poor area with very little infra-structure and services. However a number of projects have been going on in Arapal that have made it to a hub for long term improvement for the wider area. Shepherd’s Hill together with a number of other organisations has been running programs in sustainable farming using organic methods, other livelyhood programs have also been taking place as well as schooling for children. In addition to this Arapal has served as a local hub for the rebuilding effort following typhoon Yolanda last year. They have provided expertise, materials and manpower to help people rebuild their homes.

During our first deployment we installed a number of WiFi access points in the main building in Arapal Camp as well as installed a fixed C band satellite dish on the hillside. Our goals for the upcoming deployment is to address and resolve ongoing issues with the satellite service, install a 3G service as a secondary form of backhaul connectivity and to extend to wifi footprint to most of the camp.

Arapal Camp

We are now looking for 4 volunteers to join us on this deployment.

If you’re an experience WiFi engineer and you want to use your skills to help people in need this is your chance! Bringing internet access through wifi to Arapal Camp is having a direct positive impact. It is giving local people access to communication (especially essential during emergencies), it greatly enhances the education of the children but it also allows Arapal to bring it’s unique story to the world and hopefully inspire other communities to become more resilient and self-sufficient.

In return for providing your skills and expertise you will get to spend time in a absolutely beautiful tropical setting living amongst the extremely friendly local population and you will bring back unforgettable memories.

What do we expect of you?

First of all you need to know the art of wifi networking inside out. In addition to that you need to be resilient, able to improvise and work under less than perfect conditions and have a “can-do” attitude. We need result focusses people and do-ers.

Disaster Tech Lab will provide accommodation and food during your stay in Camp Arapal but you will live as the local people live and eat what local people eat. No fancy hotels and margaritas on the beach. However during your down-time (and you will get some) you are free to do whatever you want of course!

We will be finalising the exact dates soon but it will be a 10 day deployment somewhere between late November and the middle of December.

Interested?

Just complete our online volunteer form here and we will contact you to discuss further details.

We are open to volunteers from anywhere, your current location is less important than your skills, experience and attitude.

During our deployment earlier this year we also deployed a team of medical volunteers who ran clinics and trained a team of local volunteers in first aid and CPR. We have since set up a separate organisation for medical mission and this organisation, Disaster Medics, is also planning a follow up mission. Medical professional interested in humanitarian aid work should check out their website.

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Upgrading to the iPhone 6? Why not do something useful with your “old” iPhone?

iphone 6

The internet is a-buzz with the #applelive event where we’re seeing the launch of the new iPhone 6 (as well as a whole slew of new i-devices).

Die-hard Apple-ites are already chomping at the bit to upgrade their iPhones as some as the 6 is released. This will lead to a whole herd of iPhone 4’s & 5’s possibly gathering dust at the bottom of a desk drawer.

We are offering the opportunity to do something useful with your obsolete iPhone!

You can donate your iphone to Disaster Tech Lab so that we can use it to connect people in disaster zones. Adding these devices to our arsenal will enable us to not only provide people who have been disconnected by a natural disaster with a communications channel but we can use the devices in the internet cafes which we build. Combined with VoIP/SIP clients we can use them to allow people to make calls to friends and family so that they can let them know they’re safe and where they are.

So here’s your opportunity!

If you’re an individual or company willing to donate your surplus iPhones so that they can be used to help people in need please send us a quick email and we’ll follow up with instruction.

Thank you!

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Disaster Tech Lab partners with US based aviation company.

 

Following is a press release that we send out last week:

Recognising the potential of airborne platforms during disaster response Sentinel Air LLC and Disaster Tech Lab have entered into a partnership. UAV’s and other airborne platforms are currently all the rage in the disaster response world. While the most common use is for video recording and monitoring DTL (Disaster Tech Lab) saw the potential for an airborne wireless sensor platform. A device that mounted on a small plane, could be flown over a disaster zone to detect and geolocate signals emitted by mobile phones (WiFi and or cellular signals). These locations could indicate people trapped in rubble or in flooded houses. By providing this data in real-time to first responders such as fire brigades or ambulance services the time needed to locate victims will be drastically reduced. Another application would be to map which wireless communications networks are still up and running after a disaster. This is something which DTL has been doing since their response to superstorm Sandy in November 2012.

“It is important to find the right partner with the right capacity to work with” says Evert Bopp founder of DTL “we purposely avoided using the very popular quadcopters as used by lot of organisations. The legislation for these quadcopters hasn’t matured yet in during a lot of recent disasters responses their use has been banned. We also wanted a partner with actual aviation experience so that they could comfortably handle all FAA formalities. Sentinel Air was the perfect fit as they have both manned & unmanned aerial platforms and the company is run by a group of former military aviators.

While the two organisations plan to work together developing and testing airborne wireless sensor platforms they will also deploy together to disaster hit areas in the US. “Aerial video footage is of a huge benefit in our work, sometime areas aren’t accessible by vehicle, or the condition of roads into remote areas affected by disasters isn’t known. Having an eagle eye view in real-time will not only help us but as we plan to share the gathered data with other responding organisations it will help the overall response effort” says Bopp.

“Our team agreed to partner with Disaster Tech Labs as we see it as an opportunity to continue to give back to the community we have served for so long.  We can assist in times of disaster, using the skills given to us by the Military.  By teaming with DTL we can not only offer our HD Aerial Video and Radio Relay abilities but now by taking DTLs equipment airborne we can increase its range and then distribute that knowledge directly to first responders. The increased situational awareness offered by combination will increase efficiency and safety for first responders and in times of disaster will save lives.” Says Dean Attridge Sentinel Air’s co-owner.

About Disaster Tech Lab: DTL provides rapid response internet access and communication services in disaster zones. It was founded following the 2010 earthquake in Haiti by husband and wife team Evert & Kate Bopp. Since then the organization has worked in Haiti, multiple locations in the US as well as the Philippines. In addition to disaster response work DTL also develops new technologies for use in disaster response work. The organization is one of the leading ones in its field. In 2013 the founders received a certificate of recognition issued by FEMA during a ceremony in the White House. Founded in Ireland the organization is also registered in the USA as a non-profit.

About Sentinel Air:  Formed in 2013 by retiring military aviators, Sentinel Air LLC is a commercial aerial support company; they offer services to Law Enforcement, Public Safety and Environmental Inspection. Experienced in both manned and unmanned aviation we elected to build a hybrid of those technologies.

 

For more information contact Mr. Evert Bopp via email: evert@disastertechlab.org Mr. Dean Attridge via email: deanattridge@sentinel-air.com or view the following websites:

www.disastertechlab.org

www.sentinel-air.com

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