Update #1 on Ecuador Earthquake

SBTF Update #1 for the Ecuador Earthquake

Ecuador Earthquake

Ecuador is now on its third day since the 7.8 earthquake, one of the most destructive in their history, struck the country Saturday. The death toll has reached 413 with thousands injured or without homes. Some international aid organizations have already reached the area but most are still mobilizing. These organizations will need to coordinate their operations so they can reach the different needs and not overlap aid. Our 3W (Who is doing What, Where) can help them. By providing contact information and descriptions of their response plans, we help these organizations render vital aid faster and more effectively.


How does SBTF help the victims?

We have deployment tasks for every skill: online search skills, geolocation of affected areas and NGO operations, Spanish translation of tweets, and data visualization. This information will be available to relief groups on the ground.

We also have been in contact with an Ecuadorian group that is trying to travel from town to town to report on the damage and needs. Most of these small villages cannot be reached easily since the roads are so damaged. Did you help us with Nepal? Remember those small isolated villages that desperately needed help? Like Nepal, we can map those towns, describe their needs and offer this to organizations mobilizing to help.
Through our contacts on the ground, SBTF connected the city authorities in Portoviejo with the Humanitarian UAV Network. They are now deploying local, professional drone-pilots and GIS experts on the request of the GAD Cantón Muncipal de Portoviejo to get an overview of damages in affected districts.

Finally, we support the crowdmap initiative mapa.desastre.ec with experienced, Spanish speaking SBTF volunteers to help out mapping the disaster.


Al Jazeera news has reported:

There, survivors curled up on mattresses or plastic chairs next to flattened homes. Soldiers and police patrolled streets while rescuers searched for any survivors.

Tents sprang up in the town’s football stadium, where relief workers treated the injured, distributed water, food and blankets, and stacked coffins.

Numbed by their trauma, bruised and bandaged survivors wandered around, while the more seriously injured were evacuated to hospitals.


More than 300 aftershocks rattled the stricken region, leaving survivors huddled in the streets, fearful that their already damaged homes would cave in.


Join us

Please join our deployment. Information and sign up sheet is available on the Ning http://standbytaskforce.ning.com/


Do you have questions? Email the core team at coreteam@standbytaskforce.com or contact us in the Slack general channel.


Deployments Leads:

Per Aarvik

Stuart Costello

Valeria Villan

Joyce Monsees


photo credit: www.360nobs.com/

SBTF – NERP Activation – Phase 2

SBTF – NERP Activation – Phase 2

February 23rd  2015

Standby Task Force is officially deploying in response to a request from NetHope to assist with media monitoring, data mining and verification for the Ebola response in Liberia.

Deployment timeframe: 9:00 UTC, Thursday, February 26th – 9:00 UTC, Monday, March 2nd.


NERP stands for NetHope Ebola Response Program. NetHope, in collaboration with Inveneo and Volobroadband, plan to install internet technology at selected NGO operating sites in Liberia to help aid efforts. This project involves creating a layer (a visual component of a map) containing all of the different NGOs chosen to receive this technology. The map will aid the field staff while installing the equipment. This deployment’s specific goal is to identify, document, and create a database of NGOs that are located in close proximity to the selected sites.

Volunteers skills required:

No experience required as leads and coordinators will be on hand to assist your needs – please join us.

STEP 1: Please sign up for the deployment here and indicate your availability:


STEP 2: Please RSVP to this event on our Ning website:


STEP 3: We will add you to the Skype chat window for the deployment, SBTF NERP Activation window. Please check this Skype window for further instructions and link to the platform for the deployment.




If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

Thank you very much for your time and we look forward to working with you!

Joyce and Stuart.

Free GIS and Mapping Course


One of our goals in the Standby Task Force is to help our members develop skills for collecting and mapping data. For those of you who wish to learn how to create maps in ArcGIS, here is a free 4-week online course!

This free course was available last year and is being offered again. You will have access to ArcGIS to learn how to import data, add pop up windows, mark boundaries, create different types of digital maps and more.

Join me! I took this course last year and registered again. Contact me on Skype if you have questions: joyce.monsees

Registration is open!

Click here for course information and registration

Add your name to the Ning Event page here

The UN Dispatch highlights the Standby Task Force

The UN Dispatch is blog from the United Nations Foundation. Their posts inform readers worldwide of global initiatives, important topics and the latest news in the humanitarian field. Their latest post features the Standby Task Force!

This January 2015 issue, titled “10 Stories That Will Drive the Global Agenda in 2015” spotlights the effectiveness of crisismapping and the innovative technologies used to collect and organize data. Look at article number 10. Your efforts continue to be recognized and respected.

We applaud all of our volunteers for their dedication to humanitarian aid and our goal to help those who have been the victims of disasters or crises. Thank you

You Can Help the Victims of Super Typhoon Ruby (Hagupit)

Super Typhoon Ruby (Hagupit) made landfall in the Philippines. The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in Manila has activated the Digital Humanitarian Network. Standby Task Force have deployed and are responding. We are using MicroMappers Clickers to augment their important damage and needs assessments on the ground. Our mission is to identify tweets that refer to urgent needs, infrastructure damage and humanitarian aid. We’ve also been asked by the UN to identify pictures posted on Twitter that show disaster damage. This is exactly the same request we received in response to Typhoon Haiyan last year. Anyone who has an Internet connection and speaks some English can join this digital humanitarian effort. You don’t need prior experience or super-hero skills to be a Digital Humanitarian (also known as a Digital Jedi).

You will find links to the Clickers here: MicroMappers


The platform is still under development, however, so we thank you for your patience and understanding if not everything is as perfect as we’d like. We’ve included a link in each Clicker tutorial to a feedback form where you can let us know how to improve the Clickers.

Please note: the Clickers may at times be out of tweets and/or pictures, in which case you’ll see the message “100% completed”. If you do see this message, this means we’re busy uploading new tweets/pictures to the Clickers. Simply give us a bit of time as we upload new tweets/clickers and check in again later.

And that’s all there is to it. Thank you very much for your time and goodwill!

Enduring the world’s loss – July 2014

Our world endured a dramatic amount of suffering and loss of life this week. We offer our condolences to those who lost countrymen, colleagues, loved ones and friends. Through it all, we continue to believe that compassion and generosity is the strength of mankind and will prevail.

We stand with you during this difficult time and honor those who lost their lives by persevering in our efforts to help those in need.

Warmest regards,

The Standby Task Force Core Team