[Talk-cl] InSTEDD, and GeoChat

Eduardo Jezierski edjez en instedd.org
Vie Mar 5 20:13:22 GMT 2010

Hi Jean - nice to meet you!

As you can see here you are not the first one to suggest using OSM
And it would be great in situations to be able to use OSM and its imagery + vector data.

Adding Nico who leads our platform team so he can provide some direction and contacts to anyone wanting to help contribute OSM integration.

For anyone interested this is where we do announcements, etc: http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/geochatusers/
and the help wiki : http://geochathelp.com

And finally the app itself:

Please help us make it a better tool for everyone with your feedback!

Status - 

GeoChat is in beta; but is already used as mission-critical tools in SE asia to connect community health workers up to the provincial health offices; with 2 province-wide deployments and  the govt of Thai, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam and China have requested national rollouts this year (with local shortcodes).GeoChat was used by some groups in Haiti for reachback support;   We have over 2000 active users; and around 30% of active ones only use it via SMS and have never signed to the web (you can sign up, create groups, invite folks, etc all through SMS as needed). There are some other organizations doing apps on the API for clinics reporting data; connecting SMS to resource mapping to query/update map info via SMS, etc. 

We have a very small dev team so we are always looking for feedback and contributions :)

Phone coverage -
	InSTEDD has 44911 connected to GeoChat in the USA
	In cambodia and thailand GeoChat is toll-free from certain phone companies. 
	We are also working with wireless providers in Africa (East & South mostly)
In addition to get started we have MVNO numbers (international clickatell-style) for covering most of the world but these rely on international routing which can be spotty. If you need something cheaper; you can plug in a modem/phone to your computer and use a local gateway program that will bridge it to GeoChat.

Adding Nico who leads our platform team so he can work with anyone wanting to contribute to the effort.


On Fri,Mar 5, 2010, at 11:42 , Jean-Guilhem Cailton wrote:

> Dear Julio,
> I just found out about InSTEDD (http://www.instedd.org/) and think it might interest you to have a look at what they offer. 
> As a recent example of their activity, they technically supported the emergency short code SMS system in Haiti.
> In particular, InSTEDD GeoChat was apparently designed as a communication means for "major humanitarian crises". (http://www.instedd.org/geochat)
> A quote from http://www.instedd.org/technology_overview follows:
> (I do hope nobody takes offence that there might be some common points between crisis situations anywhere in the world and common situation in the developing world)
> "InSTEDD GeoChat is a unified mobile communications service designed specifically to enable self-organizing group communications in the developing world.   The service lets mobile phone users broadcast location-based alerts, report on their situation, and coordinate around events as they unfold, linking field, headquarters, and the local community in a real-time, interactive conversation visualized on the surface of a map.  Once you create a GeoChat group, you may use it as the text equivalent of a push-to-talk radio:  send the group a message on the Web, by email, or by SMS, and the rest of the group receives it.  GeoChat allows information to flow over multiple messaging channels, including dedicated SMS servers, a cell phone plugged into a laptop, a satellite phone, and even Twitter.  You may learn more about InSTEDD GeoChat here. Please join the online community around GeoChat here. GeoChat is hosted "in the cloud" via Amazon, so there is no server to deploy.  GeoChat has global SMS coverage through Clickatel, has a US domestic SMS shortcode, and may easily be integrated with gateways of local carriers.  Users have referred to GeoChat as “Email for the Bottom Billion”."
> GeoChat is in Beta.
> I do not know whether it is easy to have OSM as the map used in GeoChat (example pictures display Google maps), but since it is free and open source (GPLv3), it would certainly be possible to adapt it if necessary.
> I am just learning about InSTEDD, so there may also be other potentially interesting things on their website (like http://www.trackernews.net/, for instance).
> Hoping this helps,
> Jean-Guilhem

Eduardo Jezierski, InSTEDD, VP of Engineering
skype: eduardojezierski
twitter: @edjez
mobile: +1 425 269 8378
Iridium +88 16 32 51 61 85

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