Annual report 2014

Download our annual report 2014

The Standby Task Force annual report for 2014 can be downloaded as a PDF.

Cloud of words like map, crisis and SBTF

The Year That We Incorporated

The Standby Task Force became an official nonprofit organization this year.
With tax exempt status, we can now receive funding to increase our technology and provide better services.
We created a 10-member Board of Directors to advise, monitor and plan the exciting changes to SBTF.
Our first president is Justine Mackinnon.
Our vice-president is Per Aarvik.
The Core Team led five deployments, including four phases to assist responders of the West Africa Ebola Outbreak.

Due to the dedicated efforts of our volunteer teams, the Standby Task Force name was respectfully spoken in many circles of the disaster response field.

  • August 21, 2014 was our official incorporation date.
  • October 24, 2014 – We received 501(c)(3) tax exempt status.

A Global Culture

This year, 364 people from all over the world submitted applications to be members of Standby Task Force. That’s about one a day!! We welcomed each to our team and brought our overall member total to 1370.

With 85 countries represented, our members bring vast experience, cultural knowledge and a wide range of skills. This makes us unique and gives the Standby Task Force an advantage for information collection.

  • 364 New Members
  • 1370 Members Total
  • 85 Countries

Applications opened April 11, 2014

Justine Mackinnon’s appearance on the BBC show Bang Goes the Theory on May 5 generated an immediate raise in membership applications

News articles

Partners in Emergency Services and Response

The Standby Task Force worked with multiple groups.

Each time we joined forces, more people learned who we are and what we do.

  • Antwerp Belgium, Emergency Services
    Disaster Simulation
  • MicroMappers
    Wildlife Challenge
  • Verily
    Verification Global Challenge
  • Zooniverse
    Typhoon HagupitImage Identification


Drought in Pakistan: March

The Standby Task Force officially deployed in response to a request from the World Food Program (WFP) to assist their Pakistan country office with general information management in response to the unfolding crisis brought on by drought and famine in Tharparkar and other districts of Sindh province.

Flooding in Balkans: May

In May, heavy rains in Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia caused destructive floods and landslides. SBTF deployed to assist UN OCHA by classifying and collecting actionable images and text using MicroMappers’ Text and Image Clickers.

Antwerp Disaster Simulation: May

The same month we deployed in response to a simulated disaster organized by Antwerp emergency response teams for their annual large-scale emergency drill. The role-playing exercise of a train crash took place on Campus Vesta in Ranst province, renamed Gameente Vesta for the simulation. This simulation represented the first time social media was used by Antwerp emergency responders in their annual drill.

Typhoon Hagupit/Ruby: December

The Standby Task Force was deployed in response to a Digital Humanitarian Network (DHN) request from UN OCHA to assist with media monitoring and mapping for Typhoon Hagupit (Ruby). Our volunteers were assisted by members of GISCorps to geolocate images from multiple social media sources

West Africa Ebola Outbreak: Beginning August

Our largest endeavour began in August. Urgent assistance was needed to support the 15+ NetHope member organizations actively involved in the response to the outbreak in the countries in West Africa where cases had been confirmed: Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone. We completed multiple phases that included collecting baseline country data, health facilities and NGOs within Peer-to-Peer communication range.

Our databases and maps were acknowledged by multiple inter-governmental organizations, departments of state and non-governmental organizations. With the epidemic still ravaging Africa, this deployment continued into 2015.


Photo of people smiling happilyWe <3’d NY

The Standby Task Force was well represented at the International Conference of Crisis Mappers (ICCM). Sixteen members attended mapping classes, toured emergency management facilities, spoke publicly about important issues and networked with fellow crisis mappers and technical communities.

The 2014 conference was held in fabulous New York City. Before the conference officially started, some toured the NYC Office of Emergency Management while others attended training on the maps and mapping software. It was a great way to start the week.

The rest of the conference was held at The New School, a college embedded in the heart of the city just blocks from Union Square.


Keynote Speakers included:

  • Ms. Atefah Riazi, Chief Information Technology Officer & Assistant Secretary General, UN.
  • Dr. Jemilah Mahmood, Chief, World Humanitarian Summit, United Nations.
  • David Miliband, President, International Rescue Committee.

Photo of four people on a stage in a panel discussion

One highlight of the week was the Ignite Session featuring Patrick, Hilary and Leesa.

Hilary: Gender Considerations in Outbreak Response

Patrick: Humanitarian UAVs

Leesa: The Emotional Impact of Emergency Response on the Digital Humanitarian

After ICCM, some of us attended the Digital Humanitarian Summit, a planning session for the member organizations of the Digital Humanitarian Network (DHN). It is great to collaborate with the rest of this team.

All 264 people who attended ICCM heard our stories, saw our maps and learned how we can help.

These attendees represented 152 different organizations!

Academic institutions

This year several university professors partnered with SBTF during deployments to teach crisis mapping or GIS skills, or included the SBTF model in their curriculum.

Thank you to:

  • The University of Wuppertal
  • Northeastern University
  • John Carroll University
  • San Jose State University
  • University of Toronto


NetHope generously donated $5000 to the Standby Task Force Inc. to support our work for the West Africa Ebola outbreak.

With this funding we can pay general business expenses, including website fees, which had previously been paid for by individual members out of their personal accounts.

OCHA supported Standby Task Force with at small grant ($10 000) for our long lasting effort to assist the digital coordination of the IM/GIS community as well as for maintaining our datasets related to the Ebola crisis.

The funding however arrived in 2015 and will be reported next year.

Thank You

Our sincerest appreciation goes to all the Standby Task Force members who started this group in 2010, developed it through the years and whose efforts paved the way for incorporation.

We are grateful to all the Core Team members who led with compassion and integrity and laid the foundation that we build on. Your methodologies, lessons learned, resources and extensive library of past work continue to be part of the team.

Thank you to all members who gave their time and efforts to help the victims. On behalf of those who will never hear your names, thank you; we know how hard you worked to help them. You are truly amazing people.

Like others of the volunteer communities within the DHN, the Standby Task Force is an organization where all members are volunteers. To be able to offer an even better prepared organization in the future, the internal discussions have started on how to organize ourselves.

If we receive funding, there are two areas that steps forward as important: One is to be able to support our volunteers to attend courses, conferences and training-session. We believe that learning new skills might be one of the big motivators for volunteering with SBTF. To be able to run this, the second strand would be to engage a small group of paid staff to make sure the daily operations possible to run. By the end of 2015, we hope to have come up with a sustainable structure for this, well aware of the need for transparency and the challenges connected to it.

Special Acknowledgements to:

  • Mads Anderson for creating our new logo
  • Alain Lemaire for leading our incorporation process

Standby Task Force 2014


Board of Directors

  • Per Aarvik
  • Melissa Elliott
  • Hilary Ervin
  • Jeannine Lemaire
  • Justine Mackinnon
  • Patrick Meier
  • Joyce Monsees
  • Keera Morrish
  • Helena Puig Larrauri
  • Jaroslav Valuch

New Logo

Our new logo, which represents a map pin, was created by graphic designer Mads Anderson in Bergen Noway.

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