Letter from UCSD: Want to be in the San Diego Fire 2007 Archive?

San Diego Fire

I just received this letter (email) from Jerry Sheehan, the Manager for Government Programs at UCSD regarding the use of information technology and telecommunications (read: Twitter and other cool communication apps). It’s a long read, but check out the last few paragraphs especially.

Dear Nate,

My name is Jerry Sheehan and I work as a Manager for Government Program Development at the California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology (Calit2) at the University of California in San Diego.

One of our active research interests is in analyzing and developing technologies that can be used to assist with disaster response. Our institute has two large funded projects in this area: 1) Responding to Crisis and Unexpected Events (RESCUE, see http://www.itr-rescue.org/) and 2) Wireless Internet Information System for Medical Response in Disasters (WIISARD, see http://www.wiisard.org) . In addition, our Director recently chaired a report done by the National Academy of Sciences in this area, called Improving Disaster Management: The Role of IT in Mitigation, Preparedness, Response and Recovery (see http://tinyurl.com/yqldo4). In regards to the tragic Southern California fires we were able to work with colleagues at NASA and San Diego State University to expedite the delivery of satellite imagery to both firefighters and the public, see http://www.calit2.net/newsroom/release.php?id=1193

Given our academic research interests in this area one of the things we are initiating is an effort to build a Southern California Firestorm07 Digital Repository. The idea is to identify, link to/or host, information that was produced as a result of the disaster. Our goal in doing this is two-fold: 1) Create and preserve a living “digital history” of the disaster, 2) Archive communication and data that may be useful for understanding the role of emerging technologies used during the response to the San Diego Fires. Information hosted or linked to from our site would be available for academic researchers, the public, and press under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommerical-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.

I am writing to see if you might consider allowing us to “host” a copy of your twitters made during the fire? In addition, if you have other content you produced, we would love to include that (with attribution) on the site.

Thanks for your consideration.


Jerry Sheehan
Manager for Government Programs
University of California at San Diego
California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology (Calit2)

Well, Jerry… I would be very happy to! Thanks for asking. Here was my response via email.


Thank you so much for your email and activity. I had no idea of the extent to which UCSD is actively researching the role of IT in crisis events. That’s outstanding (and if you don’t mind, I’d love to share these sites and any other information during my talk at BarCamp San Diego?

I would be very happy to allow you to “host” a copy of the twitters and blog posts I produced during and about the fires. I also have some mp3 recordings of people who called into my hotline to inform the public (via my twitter feed) about happenings around the fires that the mainstream media wasn’t able to pick up on until hours later. I’d be happy to donate those as well.

Just let me know what I need to do to get those to you.

Thanks again, and I would like to extend an invitation to you and your team to come and talk at BarCamp San Diego about what UCSD is doing in this regard. I think it would be very interesting to those in attendance.


Nate Ritter

[tags]sandiegofire, san diego fire, 2007, archive, ucsd, information technology, twitter[/tags]

Nate Ritter lives in the Pacific Northwest (U.S.), popularized the #hashtag and creates web applications for a living. He also does miles and point hacking to enable cheap travel for his family. More here →

4 Comments on "Letter from UCSD: Want to be in the San Diego Fire 2007 Archive?"

  1. Jerry’s cool. He was at the last BarCamp San Diego. :)

  2. Gabe Wachob says:

    Hey Nate-
    Would love if they would add some pointers to http://newsinabox.jottit.com !!!
    -Gabe (UCSD ’94)

  3. Ben Joven says:

    Big Box, Inc., a san diego self storage company is offering discounted and free services to fire victims. Please visit their web site http://bigbox.com/news.php?nid=19 if you have any questions.

  4. Roberta Anslow says:

    Hey Nate….this is ranslow on Twitter. What a very cool email! Congratulations.


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