Thursday, 9 June 2011

Geomedia Summit panel discussion participated by Google, Yahoo, Honda, and Watanabe Laboratory of Tokyo Metropolitan University

Video streaming by Ustream

Geomedia Summit 7 was held at the University of Tokyo on Wednesday, June 8th 2011 with the participation of Google, Yahoo, Honda, Watanabe Laboratory of Tokyo Metropolitan University, and members (many of Geomedia Summit steering members) who played active roles in the post Great East Japan Earthquake. This summit consisted of three parts; lecture, panel discussion and lightning talk under the topic of "What Geomedia can do". Participants looked back their actions up until now and actively exchanged their opinions for the future. members truly feel that communication among technicians during peacetime would help crisis situations therefore they continue to create a great trend which goes beyond the organization and gain their forces!

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Message from Patrick, Director of Ushahidi

Mr. Patrick Meier, Director of Ushahidi has visited Japan on May 31st 2011 to join LinuxCon Japan 2011 press conference as a keynote speaker. (Footage is the video message by Patrick for conference on May 14th 2011.)

Offline communications among members were actively taken place and the youngest member of team, @sora-h and Patrick finally met in person. (Photo: All rights reserved by fumi ← Thank you!) Thanks! Patrick!!

Postscript: Footage from LinuxCon Japan 2011 Open Forum in Yokohama on May 31st 2011 was released.

Postscript: Photo of Patrick and members! (Photo taken by nobuyori ← Thanks!)

Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Patrick Meier of Ushahidi and on LinuxCon

Miura, the deputy managing director of and Patrick Meier of Ushahidi ( platform) will join the LinuxCon Japan which will be held on May 31st.
This is a great opportunity for many of members to meet Patrick for the first time.

For details, refer to the following:

LinuxCon Japan 2011, open forum

Open Forum: The Power of Collaboration in a Crisis

This forum will raise awareness of how collaborative activities can create value to society, and in particular how it helps people in crisis and disaster situations.

Open source community examples will be shown such as Ushahidi, OpenStreetMap, Hack For Japan, and Linux.

Through joining this forum, attendees will understand how these communities work and how they can participate in these communities through the development, translation, documentation and so on.

Date: May 31st (Tue)
Open at 13:00
13:00 - 18:00

Pacifico Yokohama Conference Center, 4th floor >>MAP
No admission fee

Everyone is welcome to join this forum
Please click here to register

Saturday, 28 May 2011

400 accounts increase of Japan OSM users after the earthquake!

Parent organization of is OpenStreetMap (OSM) Foundation Japan, an organization to support creating a free editable map of the world. The OSM started its activities in England in 2004 and has been expanding its activities all over the world. OSM Foundation Japan has started its community in March 2008 so it is still a young organization.

Initially it really was a small community as there were only 10 members. However, number of users started increasing gradually so OSM Japan was able to have 600 users in 2010 and now 800 users after entering into 2011. Our organization has been expanding our activities while increasing our users. The above graph shows the activity status of OSM Japan before and after the Great East Japan Earthquake. The number of user has rapidly increased in March this year when the earthquake occurred where the number of total user became more than 1,200 and the number of active user who has done the work of editing OSM within one month after the earthquake has increased to approx. 500 accounts which almost doubled the number of 200 - 300 accounts before the earthquake.

While increasing the momentum, OSM Japan continues to work on updating tasks of background map in order to properly document process of recovery/restoration on the map.

Friday, 27 May 2011

YokosoNews, an approach to foreigners settled in Japan

Since the March 11 earthquake, many information websites including have been launched.
However, much information in Japanese are provided ahead of information in English. Amount of information in English is still not enough.
YokosoNews has been providing information in English about Japan actively and was introduced on their site.
Recently, Seki, our managing director and Miura, our deputy managing director were on their radio program via Skype.
Also, we have our official English blog here.

We are still struggling with English, but are trying to provide information in cooperation with our reliable translation team.

Monday, 23 May 2011


Hi, this is mapconcierge from, crisis mapping team.
We introduced the activity of our mapping team in the symposium which was held on May 14th, that we have been creating an OpenStreetMap (OSM), a free editable map. Many people are asking us,

"There's Google Maps, but why are you involved in OSM?"

Anyone can use Google Maps for free, it surely is useful, however, we cannot use it without any restriction. As specified in Google Maps/Earth Terms of service (, we must not copy, redistribute, sublicense, or modify the Google Maps. For example, we need prior written authorization to make a copy and redistribute the Google Maps, whereas we can copy, redistribute, transmit and modify OSM freely, and its commercial use is allowed.

In addition, Google Maps and Bing Maps have the Map view and the Satellite view such as satellite images and aerial images. In both services, most of imagery data for disaster-stricken areas are updated after the earthquake. We, actually, prefer tracing such updated Satellite view to update OSM data, however, Google Maps does not allow such use. Bing Maps by Microsoft, allows us to trace their Satellite view freely to update the OSM data. That is to say, Google, which is considered as an "open platform" is actually closed in the mapping world, and Bing is open to OSM.

Sunday, 22 May 2011

Introducing one of reports

The OpenSource Conference 2011 and Hack For Japan were held today and yesterday in Sendai.

Some of members were participating in these events, and verified one of the reports on our site in person.

Today, we would like to introduce this verified report.

On April 10, this report was submitted to our web site.

It was news that a Sendai's maid cafe, the only one in the Tohoku region, was to reopen.
Sendai maid cafe, "fairy tale," is schedule to open on the 18th.

A follow-up post was submitted on April 15.
Sendai maid cafe, "fairy tale," is schedule to open on the 18th.
The cafe opens at 11:00, and closes at 18:00 until further notice.
The last order time for hot sandwiches and pancakes is 17:00. The last order time for the rest on our menu is 17:30.
Customers can stay at our cafe up to two hours on the 18th, 19th, Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays.
Some of our signature dishes, such as carbonara rice and omurice (omelette stuffed with seasoned rice) , may not be available.


A member of went to the cafe during the OpenSource Conference 2011 Sendai yesterday and verified the report.

The member reports:
  • They originally felt it might be inappropriate to reopen the cafe amidst of this disaster.
  • However, someone left a note on the shutter of the store that said, "We are looking forward to seeing you reopen." So they decided to reopen the cafe.
  • I gave them two different types of stickers, white and green, and mentioned that I became aware of the cafe through the report on

This episode made me think that it is nice to see different kinds of rebuilding going on, particularly in this situation.

Well, I think this is an important report. So I'm adding my name to this entry!

by aganard

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Making it easier to participate in our efforts!

We are pleased to announce that many attended our first symposium.

In order to make it easier to join our efforts, an official mailing list is now available. If you are interested in volunteering to help us, please subscribe to our mailing list.

sinsai-info-users Mailing List:

*Currently, our e-mail is only available in Japanese, so we also made a english facebook page. The like button is embedded at the bottom right corner of this blog!

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Many Thanks: We held a symposium on May 14th (Sat).

We successfully finished the first symposium.
Thank you for your participation and cooperation.

This symposium marks a new phase for
We appreciate your continued support and cooperation.

We will make the symposium documents and participation report available in a few days.

We also created a Mailing List, which was announced at the symposium.
Please participate from the following URL.

sinsai-info-users Mailing List:
*Currently, our e-mail is only available in Japanese.

We also have a community group on mixi. If you have an mixi account, please participate. mixi Branch Office:
* mixi Branch Office (Community) is only available in Japanese.

Saturday, 14 May 2011

New User Interface now available

To commemorate the symposium today,
we are releasing a new user interface (main screen).
(Honestly, the release was actually delayed due to bug fixes. Oops!)

You can still use our previous version, if you'd like.
Please update your bookmark to gadget ver. 1.0.0:

Our new user interface is implemented as an OpenSocial gadget; it can be embedded on
  • your site via Google Friends Connect,
  • your mixi, iGoogle, or goo home page.
Developers may rewrite the gadget's source code, create mashups, or a new social application.
Also we are looking for talented engineers who can help us improve this user interface!

Read more about our APIs Developers may rewrite the gadget's source code, create mashups, or a new social application.

Also we are looking for talented engineers who can help us improve this user interface!

Read more about our APIs here.
*This document is only in Japanese.

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

We will be holding a symposium on May14th (Sat). Everyone is welcome to attend.

Next week it will be two months since was launched.

There are more than 10,000 reports at As with other websites like ours, the demands and expectations of our visitors change as the situation develops.

Initially, the priority was providing urgent information regarding life-threatening conditions. More recently, however, we have received feedback indicating that the current demand is for information about available services and the status of the recovery efforts, which may have been overlooked by the larger media outlets.

The content of our reports keeps changing. We pick up hashtags from twitter, but it is getting more difficult to find useful information as the hashtags are getting polluted with spam messages or unrelated topics.

The sources of our reports have changed as well. Early on, the bulk of the information we collected was related to safety inquiries or help requests via Twitter. Now we are getting more input directly from our web form or from third-party organizations such as "Tasukeai Japan" via its API.

We are also working on improving the user interface and promoting usage of the API.

So, we are holding a symposium to share our activities and discuss future goals and priorities. We would like to focus on the mid- to long-term goals and activities for our Moderator Team (also called the "Data Team").

Everyone is welcome to join our symposium whether you are a member of or not. If you are interested in our work or have any desire to assist us, please feel free to join us at the symposium.

The symposium will be held both in Tokyo and Osaka on May 14th (Sat). Please register via following registration site (ATND).


Summary symposium

Date: May 14th (Sat) 14:00 ~ 17:30 no admission fee
Location: Tokyo, Osaka
  • Tokyo: Big conference room, Komaba Campus, Tokyo University, 3-8-1 Komaba Meguro ku, Tokyo
  • Osaka: Room 202 Osaka Municipal City Citizen Community Center Naniwa, 1-3-10 Naniwa west, Naniwa ku, Osaka city
Content: Sharing activities among individual team and other third party organizations- Sharing the activity information
- Deciding priorities
- Networking with other volunteers
- For future


* The registration is via third-party website called "ATND"

Please come and join us.
Looking forward to seeing you.

Thursday, 28 April 2011 introduces

The Nikkei reported on and posted an article on their website.

Nikkei: Internet role in "infrastructure" -- a blind spot?

The March 11 Japan Earthquake has proven the importance of the Internet as a part of the social infrastructure. While landline and mobile telecommunications were disrupted, the Internet remained as a vital tool to communicate rescue and support requests from the quake-stricken area. Is there a blind spot regarding the Internet as a "lifeline?" We asked Mr. Haruyuki Seki, the organizer of, which gathers and sorts quake (disaster) information, as well as Mr. Koichi Suzuki, CEO of the Internet Initiative Japan (IIJ).

Thank you very much. By the way, the article says, "There are many system engineers in disaster stricken areas. We have secured a location at Sendai Station where volunteer engineers can work". However, this "location" seems to refer to the "Info Input Station" set up by Tasukeai Japan.

Volunteer Information Station in Sendai, Miyagi: volunteer recruitment information (within Sendai City) collected at Sendai Station is made public via an API. automatically captures the data and makes it available to our viewers. did not set up the information facility in Sendai.

We would love to have data input directly from the disaster area. Please let us know if you are interested in working with us.
Contact Us

Monday, 25 April 2011

Demo of post-earthquake recovery gadget prototype

With APIs, our new gadget prototype can be embedded in your blog, iGoogle, mixi as well as OpenSocial SNS. Please watch this demo video and try it yourself.

XML URL is below.

Also available in Flash!

Sunday, 24 April 2011

Presentation at the regular meeting of Japan Android Group Yokohama Chapter

"aganard",'s Legal team leader, gave a presentation at a regular meeting of Japan Android Group Yokohama Chapter. Appears from about 1:06:00.'s overseas presentation is updated gave a presentation to an international audience at a TechWave social event after the Where2.0 conference.
The presentation slides are uploaded.
The slides are made public under a CC-BY SA license.

Thursday, 21 April 2011 was presented at Where2.0.

Patrick Meier of Ushahidi introduced to the audience at the beginning of his presentation to the Where2.0 conference in Santa Clara, California.

He explained Ushahidi is not only utilized to respond to natural disasters, but also to the Libyan civil war and the revolution in Egypt. on Ushahidi official blog

Crisis Mapping Japan appeared on Ushahidi's official blog. Reported are our current access stats and characteristics of usage in Japan, etc.
Mr. Patrick Meier and other Ushahidi members contacted us via Skype several days after the launch of They provided translated documents, information on useful plug-ins as well as technical advice.

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Interested in creating an application using data? offers open data.
Anyone can utilize APIs to implement an application for post-disaster recovery.

Reports at can be gathered in json format by accessing

A tutorial is available (only in Japanese).

Let's utilize APIs to create post-disaster recovery applications!
The samples in this tutorial show you how to use OpenSocial applications (iGoogle gadgets, mixi apps, goo apps).
You need only a browser to develop.
Please create an application!

Sample gadget

Tuesday, 19 April 2011 on BBC

BBC TV reported on is supported not only by Japanese but by people all around the world.

How technology helps with aftermath of disasters

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Watanabe Laboratory of Tokyo Metropolitan University launches "Traffic results information mashup" has started collaboration with "Traffic records mashup" operated by Hidenori Watanabe Laboratory of Tokyo Metropolitan University.
Ushahidi is capable of KML output; however, Google Maps APIs cannot handle the enormous data flow of reports sent to the site.
We are grateful to Yahoo! Japan who helped us load balance!

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Reflecting on the past month with

This post has been contributed to TechWave.

Hi, my name is Hal Seki. I am the managing director of

I am CEO of Georepublic Japan, and also a member of OpenStreetMap Foundation Japan.

One month has passed since the earthquake struck off Japan. We have spent most of the time on improving the site since we took over its management on the very day of the earthquake. Let us review our activities.

This Great East Japan earthquake has extensively affected including crippling on-site infrastructure, cell phones, and electricity. Under such circumstances, I have become painfully aware of powerlessness of IT over the past one month. I have also constantly frustrated that I cannot provide direct support toward disaster-affected areas even using support.
In fact I may be the one who is rescued the most through this activity. Even I get to the disaster affected areas, I know I would become a burden. However, there is still something that I can do which made me forget a looming sense of anxiety and frustration on a daily basis.
I am still not sure how much of helps how many people. However, when I talk to NPOs and people who have been to disaster-affected areas, it appears certain that information gap becomes serious issue. Therefore I believe that platform like may be of help at a time like this when electricity and communication infrastructure are recovering. With that in mind, I would like to continue our activities.

Read more at TechWave (only in Japanese)

Lecture video from TEDx Earthquake 9.0

Watch live streaming video from tedx at

Video of TEDx Earthquake 9.0 (Sun 4/20/2011 at Kyushu University) is now available.
Mr. Miura, Vice Managing Director as well as many of our activities were introduced at appx. 2:07:00 in the video.
Click to view presentation slides.

Monday, 11 April 2011

Presentation documents at TechLION and EARTHLING2011

It's been a month since the Great East Japan Earthquake on 3/11 and was established. We have been asked to participate in many events, and our main members are taking turns presenting on a daily basis. All of our public documents used in these presentations will be posted on this blog in order to consolidate information.

3/31 (Fri) TehcLION (at Shinjuku Naked Loft)

4/1 (Sat) EARTHLING2011 (at Keio Univ., Hiyoshi Campus)

Video streaming by Ustream

Sunday, 10 April 2011

Hello World

We will be posting more about in English

about the organization

My name is Hal Seki and I am Managing Director of

It has been almost one month since the earthquake hit Japan. I finally settled down and have some time to write a blog.

Recently I have heard comments that people sometimes do not know what kinds of organizations deal with or how we make decisions.

So first of all, I would like to explain some things about our organization.

About site organizers:
As stated on the main organization page, is built upon a crowdsourcing tool, Ushahidi, and operated under the OpenStreetMap Foundation Japan by its volunteers and others.

Organization: is divided into the following teams.

  • Managing Director: OpenStreetMap Foundation Japan, Hal Seki
  • Deputy Managing Director of, President of OpenStreetMap Foundation Japan, Hiroshi Miura
  • Data team: Moderators of the site. Verifies submitted reports and condenses Twitter information as reports.
  • Operations team: System operators. Monitors daily loads and operational conditions. HEARTBEATS Corporation offers system monitoring.
  • Infrastructure team: Creators of infrastracture. Builds servers and other infrastructure. Amazon Web Services provided EC2 for infrastructure.
  • Translation team: A team of translators. Translates static content and important reports into English. We will provide translations in other languages in the future.
  • Development team: System Developers. Responds to requests and technical issue reports on the website. Contributors are various engineers from Gree Inc., NTT and others.
  • UI team: Designers of UI (user interface). Renews web designs and creates logos. Supported by Copilot Inc., and many others.
  • Legal team: Offers legal support.
  • Liaison team: Communicates with NPO organizations and supporting corporations.
  • Press team: Provides press releases.

Decision making:

Our organization is basically composed of experienced developers who are savvy to open source culture. We use grassroots/open decision making approach rather than top-down approach. Discussions are held asynchronously using SNS called Yammer, and online meetings are held twice per day (afternoon and evening) via Lingr, an online chat tool, in order to ensure full awareness and decision making of important matters.

Leaders of each group mostly gather comments, however, any member can provide an agenda for discussion. There are many cases where good proposals are adopted.

Authorized development leaders will release these proposals to our production environment.

Volunteer staff wanted:

If you are interested in volunteering for the above positions, please apply via volunteer staff page on our site.

Saturday, 9 April 2011

Changing the World, One Map at a Time is established based on Ushahidi, an open source crisis crowdsource platform and modified for Japan. Latest presentation materials of Mr. Patrick Meier, Developer of Ushahidi. He introduced our activities during his presentation. appears on TEDxEarthquake9.0.

Hiroshi Miura, Deputy Managing Director of will appear on TEDxEarthquake9.0 to be held at Kyushu University on Sunday, April 10th. is scheduled to be introduced on NHK "Sakidori" on April 10th.

(C) 2011 NHK will be featured on NHK new program "Sakidori" on Sunday, April 10th from 8:25 to 8:57.

Post-earthquake OpenStreetMap mapping editor animation

This is a mapping editor animation of the OpenStreetMaps from the day of earthquake until April 7th for Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, Sendai, Tokyo, etc. created by the support of mappers from all over the world.