Tom Weinandy, a 2011 John Carroll University graduate, will have an article published by the United Nations Chronicle. The publication requested Weinandy to write a piece on crisis mapping due to his knowledge on the subject.
As a JCU student, Weinandy majored in Spanish and social entrepreneurship, a major he designed for himself through the honors program. Building his own major gave Weinandy the freedom to take many of the courses he wanted. At JCU he had the opportunity to learn from Jen Ziemke, associate professor of international relations at JCU as well as co-founder and co-director of International Network of crisis mapping. Thanks to Ziemke, his interest in crisis mapping was peaked.
In 2009, Weinandy had the opportunity to attend the First International Conference of Crisis Mappers as a student intern. This was one of his first experiences with crisis mapping. Three years later, Weinandy decided to write his undergraduate thesis on crisis mapping.
Crisis mapping is the process of gathering, displaying and analyzing data during a natural disaster or political conflict. Weinandy’s article focuses on the natural disaster, Typhoon Haiyan, that destroyed much of the Philippines in 2013.
The article will be released in May just before the Humanitarian Summit. Weinandy explained how volunteers responded to the typhoon crisis and what improvements they could make.
He noted that online volunteers responded in a larger scale than ever before and worked efficiently, with organization like the United Nations.
With all of the technological advances to communication, people are now able to do much more in their response to disasters. Anyone with an Internet connection can volunteer online to help coordinate information.
Weinandy believes that during any incident, the first-responders should be the effected population, not outside organizations. He said the Internet is finally allowing for new solutions and this gives local populations the tools to be active in times of crisis instead of merely being victims.