What can YOUR data do for you?

Can 22 million developers help solve the biggest world problems? ABSOLUTELY!!!

We all read the articles about the millions of dollars that are being made via the latest technology but what you don’t hear much about is all the GOOD technology can do as well – the disaster that can be prevented, the warnings that can be made better to save lives in hurricanes, tornado, tsunami, earthquakes, etc until NOW - IBM’s $30 million investment over five years will fund access to developer tools, technologies, free code and training with experts. The winning team will receive a financial prize, yet, perhaps more rewarding, they will have access to long-term support to help move their idea from prototype to real-world application.

This is the largest and most ambitious effort to bring startup, academic and enterprise developers together to solve one of the most pressing societal issues of our time, which is preventing, responding to and recovering from natural disasters. Come join the CALL and do some GOOD and win a little money while we’re at it!

Hat off to you all for starting this initiative!


Brad Kieserman, vice president of Disaster Cycle Services at the American Red Cross.  -> “Responding to large-scale national and international disasters is a team effort, and we are excited to leverage skills and insights from the tech industry to address global challenges“


Call for Code, IBM and David Clark Cause are joining forces with the United Nations Human Rights Office and its human rights-based approach to humanitarian action, which focuses on securing the participation of affected groups in preparedness, response and recovery efforts, and bringing attention to the most excluded and marginalized populations.https://www-03.ibm.com/press/in/en/pressrelease/54007.wss


More about #CallForCode

Who is invited to take part in this initiative? Call for Code invites developers to create new applications to help communities and people better prepare for natural disasters. For example, developers may create an app that uses weather data and supply chain information to alert pharmacies to increase supplies of medicine, bottled water and other items based on predicted weather-related disruption. Or developers could create an app that predicts when and where the disaster will be the most severe, so emergency crews can be dispatched ahead of time in proper numbers to treat those in need.

Ginni Rometty, chairman, president and CEO, IBM, reached out to the technology industry to assist in build a better future, committing IBM technology and $30 million USD over five years in the annual Call for Code Global Initiative. Its goal is to unite the world's developers and tap into data and AI, blockchain, cloud and IoT technologies to address social challenges. 

Through the Call for Code, IBM and David Clark Cause are joining forces with the United Nations Human Rights Office and its human rights-based approach to humanitarian action. This humanitarian action focuses on securing the participation of affected groups in preparedness, response and recovery efforts, and bringing attention to the most excluded and marginalized populations.

IBM has invested this amount of money over a five-year period and the company will fund access to developer tools, technologies, free code and training with experts. The winning team will receive a financial prize. More rewarding, they will have access to long-term support to help move their idea from prototype to real-world application. This includes ongoing developer support through IBM's partnership with the Linux Foundation.







When natural disaster strike, stop talking and affect real change.


When I was a kid, I lived in Biloxi, Mississippi. One of the first things I learned when I moved there was that, in 1969, Biloxi was hit by one of the most intense hurricanes recorded in the US. Hurricane Camille formed in the Gulf of Mexico and hit Mississippi as a Category 5 storm, causing more than 256 deaths.  I had moved away when Hurricane Katrina hit Biloxi, Gulfport, Pascagoula, Ocean Springs, New Orleans. UGH.  I remember watching the news and seeing that it was going to be bad. We all wished that there was something we could do, but we watched helplessly as the hurricane destroyed the area.

When I lived in Savannah, Georgia in the last 80s, Hurricane Hugo was supposed to hit us. We were prepared with supplies. We had everything packed up and were ready to hit the road at a moment’s notice. But then, out of the blue, the storm changed direction and hit Charleston, S.C - which was much less prepared than we were. In the winter of 1998, I moved to Chicago for a job. While they don’t get hurricanes, in my first winter there, a huge blizzard stranded people, leaving people in the cold and without food.  

In the hurricanes and the snow storm, I had the same thought: I wish there was more I could do to help.

Using tech to combat natural disaster fallout

These days, we can send messages around the world in seconds via phones and computers, teach robots to do mundane task, and train computers to think like humans, so WHY can’t we do more to prepare for natural disasters? Mother Nature is powerful and unpredictable, but we’ve made inroads with having earlier warnings that help people better prepare and first responder respond, which all leads to reduced loss of property and life. So, why not take it further?

All natural disaster have a lynchpin -- something that starts them, whether it’s a cold front mixing with a warm front, or high pressure mixing with very humid conditions meeting a low front, or the release of gases from the surface in the case of earthquakes. While some patterns are harder to spot, why not use what we know to learn about things we don’t? We know water will follow the path of least resistance, so why not plan accordingly? We know Africa is surrounded by water, yet millions of people and animals have died there due to lack of clean water. If rich desert countries can convert sea water to fresh water, why not all countries? The military and NASA can talk to each other in ALL conditions, but rescuers at natural disaster sites often find it hard to complete simple tasks due to a lack of communication channels.

What if we could use technology to scour data, finding trends and building models that prevent or alleviate future suffering from some of the world’s worst disasters? THIS is what Call for Code is all about. It’s a worldwide, multi-year initiative that asks developers to solve pressing global problems with sustainable software solutions.

With Call for Code, IBM is teaming up with the Linux Foundation, the American Red Cross, the NEA, the Weather Company and other organizations to build software that helps us better prepare for and respond to natural disasters. Paying for this five-year initiative is not just a fly-by-night program. It will involve thousands of developers, millions of lines of code, many sleepless nights, and a few hundred cases of Red Bull. In the end, a developer will not only win the grand prize money, but also make a difference in this world.

As I sit back and think of all the natural disasters I’ve witnessed in my life -- all the billions of dollars that have been spent recouping from disasters, all the millions of homes destroyed, and the thousands upon thousands of lives that have been lost – I refuse to keep doing nothing. I can use my coding skills to make a real difference, so I’ll start there.

Join the call

If you’re serious about making change – a difference - take this challenge and let’s do something! It’s time to stop sending thoughts and prayers.  WE CAN make a difference. WE CAN affect change across the world.

Unite and be part of this effort to make a difference where natural disasters are concerned. Will you take the challenge? Will you heed the CALL FOR CODE?

Get started now.

Help build solutions for natural disaster preparedness (and win $200k!!!!!!!) Learn more: http://bit.ly/2tWSawX 

The Linux Foundation's Trishan de Lanerolle on building better software for disaster response[EM1] . #CallforCode https://mobilebusinessinsights.com/author/trishan-de-lanerolle/



Build software. Save lives. Get paid!

So, what is #CallForCode all about? Pitch your disaster-fighting ideas, build real software to solve real problems, and win $200,000. Sounds like a WIN - WIN situation. Are you ready to take the challenge?

Why do we need a Call for Code?


Let’s look at some quick facts about global catastrophes (source).


In 2017, natural disaster caused:


·        $330 billion dollars in overall losses from world-wide natural disasters

·        10,000 fatalities

·        Innumerable lives destroyed as a result of loss of property, employment, and life

Hurricane Irma alone caused $32 billion in insured losses in the US, making it the most costly disaster

And the number of global disasters is trending upwards (source). Whether from drought, floods, biological epidemics, extreme weather, extreme temperature, landslides, dry mass movements, extraterrestrial impacts, wildfires, volcanic activity or earthquakes – the number is rising and so is the need to do more to combat the fallout from these events.


Who’s responding and how do I help?


Numerous agencies, companies, and foundations mobilize to help in these natural disasters. The American Red Cross is often on the front lines as 1st responders.

In 2017, the American Red Cross responded to 242 large disasters, mobilizing 56,000 disaster workers to offer aid, including:

·        Serving 13.6 million meals and snacks

·        Distributing 7 million relief items

·        Providing 267,000 health and mental health consultations

·        Supporting 624,000 households with recovery assistance (source)


While the American Red Cross is doing an awesome job, we believe that developers are uniquely suited to build software and programs to help them do more, faster. We all know more is needed and more can be done, so will you use your code to join the fight against natural disasters?

As part of the Call for Code, the American Red Cross, the Linux Foundation, IBM, and the UN Human Rights will work together to implement the most impactful project on a large scale. Your code can be used to save lives and rebuild communities.

What are you waiting for? Affect REAL change now. Join the Call for Code.

Join the Call for Code: https://developer.ibm.com/callforcode/


Find a Call for Code meetup in your area

Looking to get started and need some help? Join our developer advocates and technical leaders at events around the globe.


 https://developer.ibm.com/callforcode/ and don’t forget to follow #CallForCode on Twitter

Commit to the cause, push for change, and join 22 million developers in the fight to create impactful code


The Call for Code Global Initiative is a rallying cry to developers to use their skills and mastery of the latest technologies to drive positive and long-lasting change across the world with their code. This year’s initiative askes developers to apply their coding skills to create solutions that significantly improve preparedness for natural disasters and relief when they hit.


So, what exactly can developers code that could help during a natural disaster?

Unfortunately, natural disasters usually occur without much warning. From historic winter storms to F5 tornadoes, extreme weather events have the potential to massively disrupt communities across the world. In the last decade, these events have occurred with increasing and alarming frequency. 

Including last year’s hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria, 38 tropical cyclones impacting the U.S. have caused at least $850.5 billion in total damages—with an average of $22.4 billion per event. Accounting for just under a fifth, or 17.4 percent, of the total number of events, tropical cyclones have caused over half, or 55.3 percent, of the total damages attributed to billion-dollar weather and climate disasters since 1980.

Following tropical cyclones, the costliest event types are:

  1. Drought, with an average cost of $9.5 billion per event

  2. Flooding, with an average cost of $4.3 billion per event

  3. Wildfires, with an average cost of $3.6 billion per event

  4. Freezes, with an average cost of $3.5 billion per event

  5. Winter storms, with an average cost of $3.1 billion per event

  6. Severe storms, with an average cost of $2.3 billion per event

These costly damages make it apparent that early warning is crucial in minimizing both the cost and destruction left behind by these disasters. What if your code added a day or even a week to early warning technology? Just how many lives and properties could be saved?

Better communication

Throughout the chaos of a natural disaster, many fail to realize cell and landlines are useless during and immediately following a disaster. For many, their phone is their number one source for information, but if there is a major natural or manmade disaster, it may be virtually useless. If the power grid goes down, your battery will only last for so long and if you lose cell service, you may have no signal. And we all know what happens if you can’t find a place with access to Wi-Fi; you have no internet connection.

Aware of this, mobile providers have scrambled to cope with the unexpected increase of volume in calls when an extreme weather event occurs and often urge users to avoid making voice calls. Yet, receiving information is still necessary and vital after a disaster. With a cellular device with minimal capabilities, it may seem like the only way to receive critical information is by radio.


However, with technology advancing at such a rapid rate, there must be another way. And what if it was you who came up with that alternative? What if your code figured out how to build redundancies into mobile phone infrastructure, which would allow the easy placement of phone calls during crises or temporarily boost coverage in these affected areas?

Better logistics

With so much damage, it can be difficult getting aid to those in need. “One of the biggest challenges during Harvey, at least at first, was receiving emergency Certificates of Waiver or Authorization (COAs),” said Jamie Moore, who is head of the Public Safety UAS Response Team out of Johnson County, Texas, which is near Dallas. Even though his team members were covered by Part 107 and could deploy UAS in their jurisdiction, they didn’t have authorization to fly in areas that needed their help after Harvey. The team was grounded for a day and a half before they could perform their first mission—time that could have been spent helping with search and rescue and a variety of other missions.

The answer to avoiding situations like those stated above and getting essential supplies to those in need quickly and efficiently may be found in drone technology. Advancing quickly, it seems as though just about anyone can program the unmanned aerial vehicle to do the unimaginable, using nothing more than the device itself and a laptop.

If you had access to the latest satellite pre-disaster pictures or open source data of key variables, could you write the code that enables a drone to predict where the most help may be needed when a natural disaster occurs?

Recently, scientists have invented a flock of drones that think collectively, act autonomously, and in relation to each other. The 30 drones fly together without any human control or pre-programming.

Usually large groups of drones are programmed to follow a path, like the drone display at the 2018 Winter Olympics. These drones make decisions themselves using sensors and communicating with each other. They manage to stay within a designated area, separating in front of obstacles and coming back together.

Scientists observed the movement of a school of fish and a flock of birds to help figure out how to make the drones fly together without colliding. This type of autonomous behavior can be useful for rescue missions, environmental monitoring, precision farming, monitoring crowds, and fighting forest fires.

Inspired yet?

This is your chance to commit to the cause, push for change, and join 22 million developers in the fight to create impactful code. So, how will you answer the call, #developers? #CallforCode is accepting submissions until August 31, 2018. Sign up to register for the challenge today at  https://callforcode.org/.

Want more?

financial resources are often strained in the wake of a natural disaster.Click here to find out more about how IBM’s Financial Transaction Manager can reduce costs by eliminating third-party vendor transactions and providing a platform to send and receive payments in real time.  

Also, during a natural disaster recovery effort effective communication is key. Consider leveraging TensorFlow and Watson Language Translator to create solutions that help bridge language barriers that slow disaster relief by clicking here.   


·         https://callforcode.org/challenge/

·         https://developer.ibm.com/callforcode/disasters/extreme-weather/

·         https://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/billions/summary-stats

·         http://insideunmannedsystems.com/preparing-for-the-next-disaster/

·         https://www.ibm.com/developerworks/community/blogs/cda1f314-79a2-4211-ae2e-d1fd2741222a/entry/Basics_Of_Programming_A_Drone

·         https://qz.com/1333190/scientists-have-invented-a-group-of-self-flying-drones-that-think-collectively/


UPDATED: #CallforCodeis extending the submission deadline to September 28th. This will give more time for returning students to work with their professors, attend one of the many “Call for Code” events AND sponsors have also thrown more the pot. In addition to the original top 3 awards, there will now be $10,000 cash award to the 4th and 5th place teamshttps://developer.ibm.com/dwblog/2018/call-for-code-extension-developer-hackathon/ 

Great cause!!! callforcode.org #CallforCode @developerWorks


The REAL Impact Of Major Weather Events

 In a recently published, compelling article, Jeremiah Owyang reiterates how much we need IBM’s new disaster relief initiative, Call for Code[KA1] . Read more

According to several scientists and weather experts, our climate is unstable, which causes major weather events to happen more frequently. It’s become imperative that we all join this fight to better prepare populations to face these events because the life that needs saving in the future just might be yours.

Extreme weather events are becoming more extreme

Extreme weather events in 2017 included unusually frequent Atlantic hurricanes, with three high-impact storms—Harvey, Irma and Maria—making landfall in rapid succession. According to the Accumulated Cyclone Energy (ACE) index, which is used to measure the intensity and duration of Atlantic storms, September 2017 was the most intense month on record. It was also the most expensive hurricane season ever. 

These extreme incidents continue a trend of increasingly costly weather events over recent decades. Extreme rainfall can be particularly damaging—of the 10 natural disasters that caused the most deaths in the first half of 2017, eight involved floods or landslides. Storms and other weather-related hazards are also a leading cause of displacement, with the latest data showing that 76% of the 31.1 million people displaced during 2016 were forced from their homes as a result of weather-related events. (source)


Plus, it’s just too hot

Recently, Europe suffered its deadliest fire in more than a century, and one of nearly 90 large fires burned dozens of homes and forced the evacuation of at least 37,000 people near Redding, California. (source)

Since the Industrial Revolution, the world has warmed more than one degree. The Paris climate agreement—the nonbinding, unenforceable and already unheeded treaty signed on Earth Day in 2016—hoped to restrict warming to two degrees. The odds of succeeding, according to a recent study based on current emissions trends, are one in 20. If we are able to limit warming to two degrees, we will only have to negotiate the extinction of the world’s tropical reefs, sea-level rise of several meters, and the abandonment of the Persian Gulf. Climate scientist James Hansen has called two-degree warming “a prescription for long-term disaster.”

As these extreme weather events continue, it has been argued that three-degree warming is a realistic minimum and a four-degree warming could result in drought or vast areas claimed by desert or swallowed by sea, leaving some parts of the world uninhabitable. The prospect of a five-degree warming has prompted some of the world’s leading climate scientists to warn of the end of human civilization.

What can we, as technologists, do to help mitigate the effects of these major weather events?

You can help

While running for office and changing policy might not be in your wheelhouse, you can fight the effects of climate change with the skills you do have: Your coding skills. That's what Call for Code is about: a challenge to developers across the globe to create software solutions that can be used when natural disasters strike.

You may have heard the deadline for Call for Code has been extended to September 28, meaning you still have time to get out there, register, and get started on that big idea!

If you’re in need of inspiration, here’s a bit of food for thought:

  • Create an app to track people and equipment. You could extend an app that tracks shipments from point A to B and use the same tech for first responders or the Red Cross. Communication by phone isn’t always reliable after a storm, but if there was an app with the ability to connect with your carrier’s satellite via 4G/5G, so people can track each other and equipment, just how many lives could be saved?

  • Use data to make better warning systems, location beacons, and satellites. Unstructured and structured data growth is exploding. You’ve used your programming skills to figure out how to spot trends, create algorithms, and make data useful. Why not use your skills to harness the exponential amounts of data related to weather events and create apps that use that data to make more effective warning systems, locations beacons, and satellites?


The possibilities are endless!

But wait, there’s more

Does blockchain pique your interest? As permanent, tamper-proof databases that are shared by a community without a centralized owner, blockchains are particularly interesting for environmental causes. They make it possible to track and verify transactions and interactions without a centralized authority. This can significantly increase transparency, accountability, and efficiency of environmental projects.

Mike Gilliland, from Future Thinkers, suggests that blockchain technology can be used to “significantly increase transparency, accountability, and efficiency of environmental projects.” (source)

Check out how blockchain and IBM Tech Talks explain everything from finances to charity tracking to assure donations get to where they are most needed.

We want you!

IBM #CallForCode would love to hear your thoughts and ideas. Call for Code is growing and we want you to be part of it. Click here for you

 [KA1]I didn’t see a link here to Jeremia’s article (his name wasn’t hyperlinked that I saw — do you want to add?