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Crowdsourcing: gathering information to support forest fire fightings

On the 29 of March, in Rome, an interesting workshop took place,
organized by AIIC (Italian Association on Critical Infrastructures – http://www.infrastrutturecritiche.it/).
workshop was attended by experts, corporates and national research
centres representatives. The aim was to share projects, thoughts,
approaches and solutions on how to manage the safety and security of
critical infrastructures.
The panel on Communications, chaired by the President of the AIIC Prof.
Salvatore Tucci, focused on the “how to” manage the crisis and risk
communications from the journalist perspective (Dario De Marchi, spoke
person of the Italian Minister of Economic Development) and the role
and opportunities of web 2.0 (me – Elena Rapisardi – indipendent consultant).

My presentation on “risks 2.0” introduced some thoughts on social
media, sharing platforms and crowdsourcing as tools to manage
information both in peace and in emergency. I presented thoughts, projects and
tests, on web 2.0 and emergency, including the crowdsourcing project on
forest fires “Open Foreste Italiane” based on the Ushahidi Platform
[blog: http://openforeste.16012005.com; crowdsourcing web site: http://openforesteitaliane.
In my opinion, the main question is: Are we ready?
Are we ready to cope with risks? Are we ready to cope with web 2.0?
This question underlines that the challenge of our culture, including
our emergency culture, is to change paradigm and embrace collaboration,
sharing. Especially nowadays, when a new player and information
provider is on the scene: a new kind of citizen/user that could
proactively contribute to preparedness, monitoring and management of
This approach enhances the keywords of the European Community in this
matter: resilience, involving the public and business community – to
increase the responsibility for their own risk management.
We must not forget that this new player is “us”.

So how to involve and commit? How to use the new tools to improve the information sharing through web and smart phones?
How to promote a collaboration culture?
How to represent and share information on risk, emergencies?

These are open questions, that should need a common thoughts and an open discussion.
workshop has been an important and interesting opportunity to introduce
the communications issue and the web 2.0 in the critical
infrastructures field.
Hoping this will be a seed for further
discussions and ideas.

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