Interested in Mapping and Social Media? Check out the Crisis Mappers Volunteer Task Force

We've written here before about how the development of "crisis mapping" is merging social media, location-based networking, and activism. It's an emerging technology that has seen great use in Haiti, for example.

Improvements in mapping, mobile, and social media technologies have helped facilitate the development of tools to help first responders quickly and efficiently address crisis situations worldwide. "Crisis mapping," as its called, is a processing of collecting mobile and map information and crowdsourcing, visualizing and analyzing that data. Mapping can be undertaken by researchers, first responders, NGOs, and citizen scientists.

If you are interested in offering your skills to these sorts of projects, you might consider applying for the Crisis Mappers Volunteer Task Force.

Patrick Meier, a PhD student at Tufts University, put out the call to action on his blog iRevolution over the weekend. Noting that the volunteer response to Haiti, while unprecedented, was reactive, Meier seeks to help build an informal network that is ready -- namely, trained -- to respond.

Meier notes that there are three pieces that would be necessary for a task-force of skilled, professionals who'd be willing to volunteer for crisis-mapping relief efforts:

1. a Tech team
2. a Task team
3. a Crowd Force team

On the technical side, Meier would like to see the participation of developers who are familiar with Ushahidi, FrontlineSMS, and Sahana, for example. As he notes, it's not a matter of being able to build new tools from scratch, but rather being able to rapidly deploy these tools in a crisis situation. Because, in part, Ushahidi i

Others who may not have the technical experience can still contribute their time, via social media monitoring and blogging, for example.

The third part of the task-force, as Meier envisions it, is the Crowd Force Team. This team, says Meier, doesn't need to have prior training necessarily -- just access to the Internet and a willingness to help. "Members of the Crowd Force Team are known for their energy, commitment, team-player attitude and can-do mentality." As the response to the earthquake in Haiti demonstrated, there are lots of things that can be done without being physically present at a crisis.

Meier is asking people who are interested to apply to the Crisis Mappers Volunteer Task Force by October 1.