FOSS humanitarian software

I’ve been trying to apply my skills and interests to the current crisis, and I’ve wondered what “free and open source software” (FOSS) solutions there might be for humanitarian or disaster relief.

Turns out there’s a project — International Open Source Network — that’s a unit of the United Nations Development Programme and the Asia-Pacific Development Information Programme. I’ve run across them before when I was looking for migration-to-Linux resources. (Later. This dependency isn’t the case. See the comment below. Certainly information about Sahana is found at the IOSN site.)

They have some software under development called Sahana. It “is disaster managment system that handles missing/displaced persons, camp management, assistance trading system, etc. during a disaster situation. It was initial built to support relief operations during the Dec 2004 Asian Tsunami.” Sounds helpful to me.

At first glance, it doesn’t look like it was mature enough to be useful in this crisis and no software has been released, but perhaps in future. . . .

Sahana wiki

(I’m also looking at CAP, the Common Alerting Protocol.)

Categorized as Technology

By Scott Wells

Scott Wells, 46, is a Universalist Christian minister doing Universalist theology and church administration hacks in Washington, D.C.

1 comment

  1. Just FYI, Sahana is NOT an initiative of IOSN. It’s a privately organised, separately funded independent effort. As you note, it’s still in the early stages, but it should become useful in fairly short order. People who are interested in contributing should check out the Wiki, but there is also a mailing list at

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