Microsoft New England Hosts Humanitarian Toolbox Codeathon

Jun 8, 2016   |   James Sturtevant, Senior Technical Evangelist, Microsoft


On June 18th 2016, Microsoft New England will be hosting a codeathon for Humanitarian Toolbox. The Humanitarian Toolbox is a charity supporting disaster relief organizations with open source software and services. They are a group of developers, designers, testers, and industry professionals who want to contribute their unique skills in disaster relief aid. Whether it is through creating apps that map the spread of disease or maintaining software that helps to optimize the delivery of relief supplies, Humanitarian Toolbox has a goal of creating software and programs for relief organizations to have ready in times of need.

At the codeathon in June the Boston developer community will come together to work on the Crisis Checkin application. Crisis Checkin is the “first responder’s phone book” and was developed to make it easier for coordinators and leaders at disaster sites to manage and deploy people to more effectively provide relief to those affected. Crisis Checkin is being developed with several scenarios in mind, but one of our primary use cases was defined and tested as part of Operation Dragon Fire, which focuses on enabling data sharing during disasters and medical emergencies.

In May, the CDC and San Mateo County Health System conducted “Silver Dragon X”, a full scale exercise to increase public health and safety readiness to respond to a health-related emergency.  The exercise tested fire departments and community volunteer response teams to conduct door-to-door inspections and deliver key information in the community within a designated period of time.  As part of the exercise, Crisis Checkin was tested at two field locations.

With 76 contributors and 839 commits, this is a real project that is being actively developed and helps solve real world problems. Learn more about the history of the project from the Humanitarian Toolbox President Bill Wagner in an interview on the project.

If you are interest in helping out and can’t attend the codeathon on June 18th, you can always head over to the GitHub Repository, find a starter issue and start contributing. Not a developer? You can also donate contribute by donating at

Sign up for the codeathon at the event page and learn more about the project at

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