Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Patrick Meier of Ushahidi and sinsai.info on LinuxCon

Miura, the deputy managing director of sinsai.info and Patrick Meier of Ushahidi (sinsai.info platform) will join the LinuxCon Japan which will be held on May 31st.
This is a great opportunity for many of sinsai.info 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 sinsai.info 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 sinsai.info 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 sinsai.info 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 sinsai.info, crisis mapping team.
We introduced the activity of our mapping team in the sinsai.info 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 (http://www.google.com/help/terms_maps.html), 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 sinsai.info reports

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

Some of sinsai.info 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 sinsai.info 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 sinsai.info stickers, white and green, and mentioned that I became aware of the cafe through the report on sinsai.info.

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 sinsai.info 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 sinsai.info symposium on May 14th (Sat).

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

This symposium marks a new phase for sinsai.info.
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 sinsai.info 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.

sinsai.info mixi Branch Office:
*sinsai.info mixi Branch Office (Community) is only available in Japanese.

Saturday, 14 May 2011

New User Interface now available

To commemorate the sinsai.info 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 http://www.sinsai.info.

sinsai.info 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 sinsai.info symposium on May14th (Sat). Everyone is welcome to attend.

Next week it will be two months since sinsai.info was launched.

There are more than 10,000 reports at sinsai.info. 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 sinsai.info 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 sinsai.info 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).

Flyer: http://goo.gl/LYpxR

sinsai.info 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 sinsai.info individual team and other third party organizations- Sharing the activity information
- Deciding priorities
- Networking with other volunteers
- For future

Online: http://atnd.org/events/15587

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

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