Although I could not attend the BarCamp held yesterday at Respere, I managed to find time over my university lectures and project stuff to be part of this historic moment of the Sahana project.

The last couple of days the Sahana community hold its first international conference here at Colombo, Sri Lanka followed by a BarCamp, and the series of events was ended today with a cocktail party at Hilton, Colombo. It marked the graduation of Sahana project form LSF to an independent foundation. It was attended by distinguish individuals representing various disciplines, such as domain experts, academia, developer community, government, foreign ambassadors, industry experts, etc… Among them there was Prof Thissa Vitharana: Minister of Science and Technology, Prof Rohan Samarajeewa, Mr. Robert O’Blake: US ambassador to Sri Lanka and Maldives, Dr. Sanjiva Weerawarana, Mr. Chamindra De Silva, Mr. Ramesh Shanmuganathan, Anuradha Ratnaweera, Buddhika Siddhisena to name a few. During the event a certificate of appreciation was given to past contributors of the project appreciating the effort they have given and I was also fortunate enough to receive one of them. During the event I felt bit unhappy due to some of the things that came out and I’m curious to see what would be the setup of the project under the new foundation.

From its inception at 2005 till today, Sahana as a community based project that took the path of free and open source philosophy, proved to the world that the power and effort of community (both developer and the domain experts) can achieve to greater heights with success. It has provides us with valid proof it being the de facto disaster management system that is available in the world. According to my knowledge, from 2005 up to present several countries(including governments and other organizations) have used Sahana system for managing disaster situations, including Pakistan – earthquake, Peru – mudslide+earthquake, US:New York city – Coastal Storm management, Philiphine – mudslide, China: Sichuwan – earthquake, India:Bihar – mudslide, Myanmar, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka:Sarvodaya(in progress), Red Cross(in progress), DMC (in progress).

The Sahana system got this kind of wider acceptance by the world community due to its flexibility in functionality that made it to be useful for managing any sort of post disaster operations, in terms of

  • tracking down missing, lost and deceased persons, etc…
  • registering camps, volunteers, donor agencies, etc..
  • managing the inventory, catalog, etc…
  • effective messaging and coordination of activities
  • GIS for a better situation awareness to name a few.

Through community effort, the functionality is getting expanded to various dimensions, such as disaster preparedness activities, bio-surveillance, etc…given


Sahana Conference 2009 – Day 2

Unfortunately for me I could not attend the conference today because I had to be at the university. Although I missed the today’s proceeding, got to know that it was a huge success. Next on the agenda, tomorrow we have the BarCamp at Respere.

Another exciting event also has taken place, that is Miyuru, Ravith, Nishantha, Chamara and Sandaruwan has created a new Sahana module called Press and Media during conference with in 2-3 hours by adding value and excitement to the event. Great work guys.

Sahana Conference 2009 – Day 1

The final semester started off yesterday, first subject offered was Robotics – where I’ll get a chance to learn the methodologies and principles used i n the process of developing robots. Next was the Theory of Programming Languages, but unfortunately I heard that this time also it’s not going to get offered.

Today I attended the inaugural Sahana Conference 2009, which took place at the conference hall at HNB tower, Colombo, Sri Lanka. It was attended by distinguishing practitioners of disaster management around the world, academia, local government representatives, students, etc…

The gathering was warmly welcomed by Dr. Sanjiva Weerawarana, with an enlightening speech. The Keynote speech for the day was delivered by Mr. Brent Woodworth highlighting key aspects of modern disaster management with special reference to most popular GIS applications. Next, Mr. Chamindra De Silva spoke about the history and evolution of Sahana and its community from its inception to present, highlighting how & where its was used to elevate and minimize the impact of human sufferings in the aftermath of disaster situations, which occurred during the past couple of years.

Next Mr. Mifan Careem delivered his speech on the theme “Veni, Vidi, Sahana“, highlighting the operations and ground work that took place at the DMC just after the Tsunami devestation that took place on 26th December, 2004 and how it helped to capture and formalized the exact requirements for initial stage of the project. Next Mr. Dominic Konig shared his experiences, value and importance of localization for a system like Sahana when the end users are not a native English speaking person.

After the lunch break, the ICTA representative Mr. Wasantha Deshapriya discussed about the current status and the progress gained by the e-Sri Lanka and other government sector agencies. Next Mr. Martin Thomsan shared his experiences about On-site operations and co-ordination activities that was carried out during post-disaster situations. Although it was scheduled to have speech by Mr. Mifan Careem on “GIS in Disaster Management”, instead Mr. Brent Woodworth delivered a speech on “Contingency planning in disaster situations “. Lastly Mr. Ajaya Kumar shared his Sahana deployment experience at Bihar and other FOSS experiences in India.

Looking forward for another day of exciting day of events on Sahana Conference 2009 – day 2. But I have a little concern in my mind regarding the end result of the series of events in the coming days because I feel like some parties will get left behind 😦 .

First Sahana Conference – 2009

The Free and Open Source Software Community of Sri Lanka is hosting the 1st Annual SAHANA Conference on March 24 & 25, 2009. In its inaugural year, the conference will provide opportunities for anyone involved in Disaster/Emergency management to network and share best practices with each other.

Sahana Conference 2009

Sahana Conference 2009

The conference is aptly named SAHANA, meaning Relief in Sinhala, and is named after the Sahana Disaster Management System, which was created as a Free/Open Source software solution in response to the South Asian Tsunami occurred on 26th December 2004.

Next on the list is a BarCamp which will held on 26th March, 2009 somewhere in the heart of Colombo city , Sri Lanka.