Humanitarian OSM Team/Working groups/Activation/meeting 2013-01-13

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10:58 < wonderchook> is it time for the activation working group?
10:59 < pierzen> yes
11:00 < IknowJoseph> hi Hotties
11:01 < Schuyler> good morning
11:01 < Schuyler> good afternoon
11:01 < Schuyler> and good evening
11:01 < Schuyler> welcome all to the activation WG meeting
11:01 < Schuyler> show of hands, who's here for the meeting
11:02 < pierzen> :-D
11:02 < IknowJoseph> \o/
11:03 < AndrewBuck> I am lurking.
11:04 < Schuyler> ok, rather fewer than signed up on the Doodle :)
11:04 < mkl> hello hello
11:04 < Schuyler> thank you all for coming.
11:04 < boris_m> hi
11:05 < Schuyler> so, broadly the objective of the WG is to frame what "activation" means for the org
11:05 < Schuyler> both for our sakes and so that our partner orgs (e.g.
                  MapAction) understand when they can rely on our help and to what extent
11:06 < Schuyler> this task has had no small amount of effort put in, but none of it recently
11:06 < Schuyler> so we are starting at a small disadvantage in terms of determining our direction and next actions
11:06 < Schuyler> I would like to take the next 5-10 to invite you all to
                  comment on the current state of play and what we do next
11:07 < Schuyler> what do you think? what's the proper agenda for this reboot meeting?
11:08 < mkl> I know there's been some work to date. I'd like to know what we have so far.
11:08 < wonderchook> hhey guyes there are people in the wrong room on freenode
11:08 < wonderchook> that will be hopping over
11:09 < IknowJoseph> this is the right room? It said freenode on the email, but
                     when I checked it out earlier I was in there alone
11:09 < Schuyler> oh  oops
11:09 < Schuyler> I did say freenode in the email -- I thought this _was_ freenode
11:09 < Schuyler> my bad, completely
11:10 < mkl> and a point, the activation documents should be very clear and
readable. what i've seen before (and i forget what) was a bit confusing
11:10 < mkl> this is the regular #hot room
11:10 < Schuyler>
11:11 < Schuyler> I'll wait a minute or two...
11:11 < Schuyler> is #openstreetmap also mainly on OFTC?
11:12 < wonderchook> yes it is
11:12 < Schuyler> crap, ok, that was my mistake. I have join notifications turned off.
11:12 < Schuyler> who else has just joined us for the Activation Working Group
11:13 < Schuyler> we're looking at the prior work of the WG, which is
summarized here:
11:15 < Schuyler> hm, no one?
11:15 < heather> evening
11:16 < Schuyler> hi, thanks for joining us, apologies for the confusion
11:16 < mkl> one thing i don't see is a notion of levels of activation
11:16 < mkl> there are different kinds of activation, with different official organizational responses
11:16 < Schuyler> so the prior work of the WG consisted of brainstorming a list of possible kinds of activation
11:16 < Schuyler> we proposed to fill out those questions for each kind of activation
11:16 < Schuyler> and see where that left us
11:17 < Schuyler> the work bogged down at that point and the working group hasn't met in eight months
11:17 < Schuyler> so possibly that was the wrong approach
11:17 < Schuyler> there is also Nico's document, which is full of information,
but comes at the question from a totally different angle:
11:17 < Schuyler>
11:18 < Schuyler> it's more focused on whom we liase with when
11:18 < Schuyler> so, really, my agenda for this meeting is:
11:18 < Schuyler> 1) Is the activation catalog/inventory research the right
starting approach? If so, how do we avoid grounding out again?
11:19 < Schuyler> 2) If the prior approach was not the right one, what is?
11:19 < Schuyler> 3) Do we have enough interest to sustain whatever approach we decide on?
11:19 < Schuyler> 4) If so, who's going to volunteer? :)
11:20 -!- katrina is now known as Guest4875
11:20 < Schuyler> 5) whatever else you think we should talk about
11:20 < Schuyler> does anyone want to address question #1?
11:21  * heather new and learning
11:21 < Schuyler> I can only defend it by saying it was the best I could come
up with. But I didn't have the time or patience to do all that research myself,
nor to interest anyone else, which was clearly a fatal flaw in the plan.
11:21 < mkl> perhaps that's getting bogged down in the detail. i'm still trying
to reboot a whole conception of what activation is about
11:21 < Schuyler> ok
11:22 < Schuyler> shall we just brainstorm about it de novo for 10-20 minutes?
11:22 < pierzen> Pre-Activation is more informal and Activation requires more
ressources more coordination with our partners..  We are interested do document
Activation What we haWe have to make distinction between pre-activation and
activation. Nico doc is more related to Activation which is a major event,
requiring more ressources and coordination.
11:22 < pierzen> sorry this is my draft going out.
11:23 < wonderchook> yeah, I think we should discuss what activations means
11:23 < wonderchook> I think pre-activation and activation is a matter of scale but potentially are the same process
11:23 < mkl> I agree with the distinction you make pierzen. But I think the
term Pre-Activation is confusing. We should get clear terminology.
11:23 < nico_c> So our workflow is generic and can also accommodate a monitoring/ pre-acativtion
11:23 < Schuyler> 10:28 < Schuyler> so -- it seems like one thing we need to do is identify what 
11:23 < Schuyler> actions HOT can take which would qualify as "activation"
11:23 < nico_c> but definition comes first
11:23 < pierzen> Mali, we started a year ago as pre-activation. Now we think to move to Activation.
11:24 < Schuyler> do any of you remember the meetings from last spring? or have read the logs?
11:24 < Schuyler> ^ that was me nine months ago :)
11:24 < pierzen> Yes
11:24 < Schuyler>
11:24 < Schuyler> pierzen: right you were there :)
11:24 < Schuyler> sorry, I'm not trying to quash discussion
11:24 < mkl> Are these the only two "modes" of activation? Full on crisis vs "monitoring"
11:25 < Schuyler> mkl: last year we came up with 6-8 possible response modes by HOT
11:25 < Schuyler> choosing to focus on the word "response" I think and then
letting "activation" be defined as a set of responses, i.e. concrete activities
11:26 < mkl> wow, that's a lot! i think our challenge is to simplify what is a really complicated set of situations
11:26 < mkl> that makes sense
11:27 -!- Irssi: Pasting 10 lines to #hot. Press Ctrl-K if you wish to do this or Ctrl-C to cancel.
11:27 < Guest4875> I also think we should categorize when HOT volunteers to
start an activation versus when someone comes to HOT and requests help
11:27 < Schuyler> so the "Activation catalog" part of the Template page talks about different possible responses
11:27 < mkl> ok, sorry, i'm starting to see where the previous discussion was going.
11:28 < mkl> could use a few examples to understand how it would work in practice
11:28 < Schuyler> I'm not sure the previous discussion was useful! I just
wanted to remind people that some of this discussion has happened before
11:29 < Schuyler> Guest4875: right, there is a difference between "internal" and "external" response
11:29 < Schuyler> so
11:29 < Schuyler> does anyone want to define "activation" or "pre-activation" per se?
11:30 < IknowJoseph> "pre-activation" is not a nice saying, imo
11:30 < Schuyler> there's two parts, there are the triggers for the activation,
and then there are the activities that result from activation
11:30 < Schuyler> (or pre activation or what have you)
11:31 < Schuyler> the challenge we had last year was partly that if we say
"activation is a response to a major event" then we have to say (a.) what is a
major event and (b.) who decides when an event is 'major',  (c.) what actions
are taken
11:32 < Schuyler> the questions on the template were mostly proposed by John
Crowley but I think they are comprehensive
11:32 < pierzen> For me, Pre-Activation is giving alert, following the
siuation, looks at what data is available and start some mapping work.
11:32 < pierzen> situation.
11:32 < mkl> not sure if this has been discussed before, but HOT needs a clear
way of communicating what activations are happening, and have previously
happened. I'd suggest something simple on the HOT website, with links to wiki
docs, comm channels, etc
11:33 < Guest4875> agreed
11:33 < mkl> where does the "regional flood" situation lie? This happens a lot,
and some kind of response happens, but not clear what.
11:34 < IknowJoseph> mkl: Agreed - the projects listed on the website don't
cover many of the activations or pre-activations ("monitoring" sonds better, I
11:34 < mkl> and monitoring ... does this apply to non-sudden onset crisis?
political situations, and potential drought?
11:35 < mkl> how do we characterize preparedness exercises? or should those be
clearly outside this discussion.
11:36 < IknowJoseph> the scope of monitoring would be defined by the people
available, I'd say. So it may be possible to monitor non-sudden crisis events
over wide areas, if there's the people to do so
11:37 < heather> are there activation and risk levl tiers? 
11:38 < Schuyler> the problem is that there are no clear cut answers to any of these questions
11:38 < Schuyler> we have to decide
11:39 < Schuyler> I had thought that the only way to decide was to try to do a thorough inventory of the options
11:39 < Schuyler> but that is, admittedly, extremely boring work.
11:39 < Guest4875> can we try defining ®activation® and ®pre-activation® by what it is not?  
11:42 < mkl> activations don't go on and on. there's a time when there's an emergency and focus.
11:43 < cgblow> I can understand the "extremely boring" aspect of an option
inventory, and I think many options are not realistic for this reason… mI
wonder how can we provide transparency without a huge monitoring burden?
11:43 < mkl> i guess i'm confused by the "monitoring" activation. that could
apply to so many places and situations, i'm unclear why one place would be in
this mode vs another
11:44 < mkl> since haiti, how many events have there been that would have triggered an activation?
11:44 < Severin> sorry a bit late on this: by pre-activation we have been using
this term when we refer to reacting to an event/ crisis which has the potential
to be big but which has not yet developed as a crisis and which is monitored by
the hum community. If it develops and if there is a consensus operationally
wise that we need to scale up or continue our effort, we activate.
11:46 < cgblow> Ihow to not to become over extended. How many times a year do
we activate? how do we know when our capability is exhausted? 
11:46 < Severin> in a conversation I had with Kate, Mikdel an others, native
English speakers preferred monitoring than pre-activation
11:46 < cgblow> err *I'm concerned how to … 
11:46 < Severin> Like: "we are monitoring the situation and collecting data for
a possible activation during this time"
11:46 < pierzen> And some other actions are not necessarily pre-activation. We
give some support for an event. This is sometimes a member initiative like I
did for Richelieu river last year.
11:46 < Severin> @pierzen yes
11:48 < mkl> Severin: how many places would HOT be monitoring, if we counted
all places globally under that definition?
11:48 < mkl> another way to look at this: what is HOT in greatest need of organizing?
11:49 < mkl> i think that if we had another major crisis, we're not in great
shape to deal with it ... it would still be ad-hoc
11:49 < wonderchook> yeah, I think cgblow has good points about not
11:49 < cgblow> HOT activation often happen with an established humanitarian
partner who is already working on the ground, I think this is an important
improvement over other more ad-hoc disaster intervention groups.
11:49 < wonderchook> and how we prevent that
11:51 < Severin> basically we activate when we are sure someone skilled enough
is available and happy to handle it
11:51 < cgblow> Sometimes I think after a disaster many times people volunteer
for things they can not sustain
11:52 < Schuyler> cgblow: +1
11:52 < cgblow> For example in 2010 after the haitian earthquake I was amazed
how many dropout projects there were
11:53 < cgblow> if we have a big disaster which is very close to us, and we
have got all of this experience and activation protocols, it becomes tempting
to just go
11:54 < Severin> Oh yes, for activation I am only talking about our basics
11:54 < mkl> that's what we need to manage. one thing, the OSM community is
big, so we can almost always count on leveraging normal mapping activity, and
other toolsets
11:54 < pierzen> This is the easy part.
11:54 < mkl> but what we're missing is a group of folks to keep things
organized, connect with humanitarian partners, etc
11:54 < pierzen> yes.
11:55 < pierzen> This, you learn by experience, you develop contacts.
11:56 < cgblow> @pierezn right that makes sense to me. Do we need more formal
terms for activation stages?
11:56 < cgblow> can we have prerequisites for scaling up to each stage, eg
personnel, partnerships must be established before going "up"
11:56 < wonderchook> that sounds reasonable to me cgblow
11:57 < mkl> pierzen: yes, but we need to formalize that a bit. risk is that
we're too dependent on certain individuals connections, rather than "HOT"
11:57 < pierzen> I agree that as a group we should have the objective to
develop relations more deeply with humanitarians on the ground.
11:58 < cgblow> it seems the danger of formalizing it is that it will be
inaccurate, or it will kill the organic things we are doing right.
11:59 < pierzen> I dont think we should formalize.
11:59 < cgblow> in 2013 I would love to take an approach that tries to expand
the "base of the pyramid" before making it taller — that we would focus
on building up remote monitoring and tasking capability before increasing our
"strong activation" rate
11:59 < Schuyler> I think that if we don't formalize to some extent we risk
becoming perceived as unreliable by partners
12:00 < Schuyler> we need to have common terms for engagement, both within and
outside the organization
12:00 < pierzen> We are very good already at remote mapping.
12:00 < cgblow> @pierzen yes!
12:01 < pierzen> We have to enforce our capacity to activate rapidly with
partners, identify their needs, obtain imagery.
12:01 < Schuyler> ok, my friends. it is 1700 UTC and I have to step away from
the computer. please feel free to continue conversing. I will post the log to
the wiki and mailing list later today.
12:01 < Schuyler> (including whatever you guys get up to between now and when I
come back)
12:02 < cgblow> Imagery and partner work is beyond me but I would like to help
with tasking servers.
12:02 < Schuyler> thank you all for joining this meeting. I apologize if
rebooting this working group has been frustrating -- it is a complex task, and
we are picking up after a long time.
12:02 < cgblow> @schuyler thx & good day!
12:02 < Schuyler> I think it is generally agreed that if we can push through
the confusion, it will be much to the benefit of the organization.
12:02 < Schuyler> talk to you all soon, I hope :)
12:03 < mkl> thx Schuyler
12:03 < pierzen> thanks Schuyler.
12:03 < mkl> i'm going to move to other things. when the next one, we should
keep thinking and moving...
12:03 < ClaireH> in formalizing, I see most of the "to do" points written by
Nicolas, such as preparing templates for imagery requests, writing guidance
documents, explanations about data licence etc (in some international languages
maybe), it would allow us to go faster...
12:03 < heather> Schuyler and all, I will keep thinking on this topic and
learning. Have a good night. it is dark in Nairobi and I need to zoom home. 
12:04 < Severin> yes are these points the one you wanted to be formalized @mkl
12:05 < Severin> I would say it describes the things that need to be handled
12:06 < mkl> i'd like to see it so that activation lead could be a skill
someone learns, there's only a handful of people who can do it now
12:06 < cgblow> @mkl yes agreed
12:06 < mkl> and something which can be handed off in a crisis ... there's only
so long someone can lead an activation before they get burnt out, or have other
tasks to look after
12:07 < Severin> yes defintely as it will be the person in contact with the
12:08 < Severin> after a first introduction by HOT members who knows them if
12:09 < Severin> Basically these persons are reasonable and of ever an issue
would arise that makes them inform the community that they need a handover
12:10 < Severin> I do not think we have been faced by a disrupture so far
12:11 < cgblow> where are we working on this in the wiki? 
12:12 < cgblow> oh I found the Activation group page
12:13 < mkl> Severin: sorry, I'm confused. are you saying that everything is
working fine?
12:17 < Severin> I was talking about the Activation leads
12:17 < wonderchook> about the idea of having leads? Yes I think that is good
it should be worked in to the protocol 
12:17 < ClaireH> Even if there was no big problem in activation leads so far,
preparedness could still be improved.
12:17 < Severin> egarding the risk of them to let an Activation down
12:19 < mkl> we should design the protocol so that we aren't asking too much of
activation leads
12:19 < cgblow> wow Nicolas' google doc is very helpful, but dense …
12:19 < wonderchook> that is true, I think the leads do too much right now
12:19 < wonderchook> yeah, I think we need to distill things to be simple
12:19 < cgblow> always makes me nervous to hear something is handled just with "personal contacts" 
12:19 < cgblow> it feels like "oh it's too complex to write them all down" 
12:20 < Severin> I think yes the work could be divided so that the leads do not handle too many things
12:21 < Severin> @pierzen what is your feeeling about this? Do you think it
would be helpful for you as an Activation lead, if we identifiy specif
skills/tasks people could help you eg for DRC?
12:21 < wonderchook> �cgblow: that is true. I think it should more be there are leads for things
12:22 < wonderchook> e.g. I'm currently the lead for imagery requests tot he US
government. That doesn't mean other people can't talk to them. It means I need
to beaware of the request
12:22 < wonderchook> and we should probably discuss before people approach them
12:22 < wonderchook> one reason is we want to make sure we are wording requests
correctly. it doesn't mean I will always be the only lead. it just means we
need to nail down our method of interacting
12:23 < pierzen> For DRC, it is uneasy even with ClaireH being in the capital.
The problem we need to identify NGO's needs plus convincing them to support us
for imagery. Simple to say, harder to do.
12:23 < pierzen> I think that we can make some reflexion on how to support leads in that.
12:24 < cgblow> of course it IS too complex to write *everything* but yes it
seems like we can enumerate all organizational contacts that we are making,
enumerate specific daily goals for leads … what if we just have some kind
of activation mailing list that leads can CC on activation communications?
12:25 < pierzen> This is already done. 
12:25 < wonderchook> pierzen: I'm confused, because I wouldn't answer the same way to cgblow.
12:25 < wonderchook> that isn't happening overall
12:25 < pierzen> I mean, we already have 4-5 persons in hot that follow the activation.
12:27 < wonderchook> yes, but those peopel are overstretched
12:27 < wonderchook> or at least this person is <------
12:27 < wonderchook> nico, sev, and I shouldn't be on every activation, all of us
12:27 < wonderchook> for example
12:27 < pierzen> plus in french sometimes!
12:28 < wonderchook> I live in Google Translate;)
12:28 < cgblow> ha kate thanks for your honesty about that
12:28 < ClaireH> I think you are right
12:28 < cgblow> from a risk perspective i think exhaustion is #1 
12:28 < cgblow> leads to unpredictable situations in the worst time
12:29 < cgblow> perhaps we need also need to clarify the deactivation protocol :|
12:29 < cgblow> I have to run now, thank you all for the thoughtful input I
look forward to following up and reading the transcript. 
12:30 < Guest4875> I am willing to create guides for the steps that leads need
to take so that we can start training more people, but I will need some
guidance and feedback... we could put it up on learnosm... but then again would
that be useful?
12:30 < AndrewBuck> Is there documentation somehwhere of who all the leads are,
and what organization they are the lead for?
12:31 < mkl> Guest4875, who are you?
12:31 < Guest4875> sorry, katrina
12:32 < mkl> :)
12:33 -!- Guest4875 is now known as katrina
12:33 < wonderchook> late night IRC lesson in the HOT jakarta apt;)
12:33 < katrina> score
12:33 -!- katrina is now known as Guest4883
12:33 < pierzen> oh Hi Katrina 8-)
12:33 < pierzen> too late.
12:34 < IknowJoseph> I guess "katrina" has been taken :)
12:34 -!- Guest4883 is now known as Mappingkat
12:35 < Mappingkat> testing
12:36 < wonderchook> AndrewBuck: for which organizations? ones that we interact with?
12:36 < wonderchook> nope
12:37 < AndrewBuck> So my understanding is a lead, is a person who is a contact
point in HOT from some external org, correct?
12:37 < ClaireH> that would be too much work to maintain those lists for all
countries at all times.
12:38 < ClaireH> a lead is someone from HOT coordinating the effort  through
OSM (in my understanding)
12:39 < AndrewBuck> ok, i see.
12:39 < wonderchook> AndrewBuck yeah sort of the gateway between HOT and the agencies 
12:40 < AndrewBuck> I think part of the problem with coming up with activation
procedures for how we use our resources is that we don't really even have an
inventory of what resources we even have.
12:41 < Mappingkat> it would be nice to gather information about what areas HOT
members are involved in, which OSM mapping communities.  That way other
organizations know which people to contact in those areas.
12:41 < Mappingkat> a lead contact for that geographical location
12:41 < AndrewBuck> So getting lists together of who are our active members (by
active I mean poeple who participate in one way or another on a semi-regular
basis, whether they are "official" members or not) as well as a list of what
agencies we have contacts with and who is their contact in the HOT team.
12:41 < Mappingkat> well this one would not be a list... it would be a map
12:42 < ClaireH> agreed
12:49 < Severin> we can make this kind of survey to have an overview, but I
think when we would need to activate, we would ask the experienced ones as
leads and the other person interested to fill some tasks to do or to provide
their specifif skills
12:55 < wonderchook> sorry we blew a fuse just as the conversation was getting
12:55 < wonderchook> and then had to reroute the internet because it wouldn't
stay on
12:55 < ClaireH> Kate, I think that the fact Nico, Sev and you are currently
added in mailing lists of all activations is exactly the result that not enough
things are written down. e.g. about the imagery request to be done to the US
12:57 < IknowJoseph> but arguably also because those are the people that have
the connections at the appropriate places
12:57 < wonderchook> ClaireH: actually the request format is written down in a
12:57 < wonderchook> for the US Govt stuff
12:57 < wonderchook> but yes we dont' hae a guide that say "you need this type
of imagery go here"
12:57 < wonderchook> but the problem with sev, nico, and I is we are all over stretched
12:57 < wonderchook> which is why nothing is written down
12:57 < wonderchook> honestly there are a lot of emails why I'm not sure why
I'm cc'd on them in the first place
12:57 < wonderchook> I suppose I could start asking people to stop
12:58 < wonderchook> if there were regular sitreps people wouldn't have to know
everything going on
12:58 < ClaireH> exactly
12:58 < wonderchook> I can make alias addresses at and point them at
people as well
12:59 < wonderchook> which I think it better than using personal email
addresses for many thing
12:59 < wonderchook> s
13:00 < ClaireH> that would improve visibility in the field too, + 1
13:02 < wonderchook> one thing I wasn't sure was the best way to set those up
13:02 < wonderchook> should we have accounts by activation?
13:02 < IknowJoseph> ?
13:03 < ClaireH> I think the openatrium is also a goood way to improve
communication about steps and what's going on in a specific activation but it
is not easy to access it with a very slow connection
13:03 < katrina_> by country?
13:03 < wonderchook> ClaireH: yeah I'm not sure if there is something that
would be easier with low bandwidth, I have the same issues
13:14 -!- wonderchook is now known as Guest4888
13:15 < wonderchook> sorry monsoon season is doing all sorts of things to us
13:20 < ClaireH> same here ;-)
13:21 < pierzen> you really have very low bandwith! 15min between new info.
13:21 < pierzen> 8-)
13:24 < wonderchook> I'm tethering my phone 
13:24 < ClaireH> 8-) by the way, as it seems that it becomes a DRC conversation
now: are the NGOs supposed to officially write to the US stuff for imagery
requests, or can they write to us and we would compile and send the request
13:24 < wonderchook> anyway, maybe the meeting should close. Should we come up
with some action items