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The People and Philosophies of Crisis Cleanup Australia

Disaster Recovery Collaborative Work Order System


Crisis Cleanup Auatralia's core objective is to embrace and support the interests of disaster survivors by providing transparent, collaborative, and privacy-enhancing open source technology to assist those who directly interact with and help survivors.

Crisis Cleanup is an unincorporated open source project. Other organisations sponsor implementations of Crisis Cleanup in Australia, India, the Philippines, and elsewhere.

The system is based upon a few foundational philosophies:

Crisis Cleanup Australia's real innovation is the ability to coordinate tens of thousands of volunteers from hundreds of organisations to thousands of sites after a disaster in a non-hierarchical collaborative environment. Crisis Cleanup Australia proves that it is possible to create a near frictionless technological platform where inter-organisation Cooperation, Communication, Coordination, and Collaboration is not only convenient, but required.


Crisis Cleanup Australia is free to qualified recovery organisations and Open Source. Here is what that means:

"Free" and "Open Source" do not mean:

Impact and Return on Investment (ROI)

Crisis Cleanup Australia is not-for-profit, which means we don't measure ROI in dollars, but in community impact. Impact measurements include:

We're happy to answer questions about our statistics, any time.

Current Funding Levels

Crisis Cleanup Australia is not currently funded. Notwithstanding, we are grateful the following organisations for supporting Crisis Cleanup:

Funding Needs and Development Plans

We are often asked about our funding needs. We have a philosophy of transparency. If you have an question that is not answered below, just ask us.

  1. Our development mantra is, "we only solve real problems." As a result, we have consistently delivered practical features and benefits that are useful to workers in the field, on budget and on time; not just cool tech.
  2. Crisis Cleanup more than technology for us. It is a cause and philosophy.
  3. We are responsible, meticulous, and serious stewards of donors' money.
  4. We have a clear mission and vision, which drives our development plan.
  5. Our team has the right skills. These include:
    • Privacy and civil liberties legal expertise
    • Real-world, on-the-ground disaster response experience
    • Project Management and Product Development experience
    • Advanced Programming skills
    • Passion, vision, and commitment
    • Track record of delivering globally relevant crisis mapping and disaster recovery tools and platforms

Funding: Features Already Developed

Crisis Cleanup is a powerful tool used world-wide. Since July 2012, a total of $85,400 in grants and $117,200 in donated time and volunteer funds have been expended toward development, maintenance, and new features.

Feature: Status
Quickly Launch Customised Incidents: Completed
   Details: No matter the incident, Crisis Cleanup Australia's assessment forms are completely customisable and can be launched in minutes.
Streamlined Organisation Approval: Completed
   Details: Crisis Cleanup Australia has a streamlined organisational approval process which can be delegated to the local level.
Public, Anonymous Map: Completed
   Details: The anonymised Public Map gives a real-time view of the disaster. Personal information has been redacted, and the location has been randomised to a 400 metre radius.
Multi-Agency Duplicate Detection: Completed
   Details: After each disaster, survivors call multiple relief agencies and request help. When relief agencies all use Crisis Cleanup Austrsalia, the system will find existing records and prevent duplication of efforts.
Login Re-use: Completed
   Details: Effective January 7, 2014, you can reuse your existing account and password for new incidents.
Statistics: Completed
   Details: The new Statistics Page contains incident- and organisation-level reports designed to encourage collaboration. The reports are downloadable as a CSV file, and as always, you can run your own statistics at any time by downloading a CSV file with all of the work orders.
CSV Download of All Work Orders: Completed
   Details: One of our most heavily used features is the "Download as CSV" function on the map. This feature allows you to get a complete report on all work orders for the current incident. So if you want a custom report comparing the phases of the moon with work order completion, be my guest. Just download the CSV and run it yourself!
Administrative Interface v. 1.0: Completed
   Details: Crisis Cleanup Australia's administration can be almost completely delegated to a "Local Admin," through an ever-improving administrative interface.
Help Desk: Completed
   Details: We launched a support phone number and official Help Desk filled with questions actually asked by real users, as well as policies and other instructions. You can request new features or open a support ticket. You can also open a ticket by clicking the "Support" tab on the left-hand side of any Crisis Cleanup web page.
Drag and Drop to Correct Location: Completed
   Details: Google Maps is pretty good at locating addresses. But sometimes Google is off by as much as a quarter-mile, especially in rural areas. Now you can pick up an icon and drag it to its proper location when entering it for the first time, or editing a work order.
Ongoing Bug Fixes: Completed
   Details: We are constantly fixing bugs and creating upgrades. As of May, 2014 we have published release 557.

Funding: Current Development

Current development has slowed to just a few hours per week until Crisis Cleanup Australia is able to secure additional funding, but we're working on these things:

Feature Est. $ Needed Status
Incident Definition Data Model $10,000 In Development
Details: We can already re-use Crisis Cleanup for multiple incidents, with unlimited flexibility. Next, we need to abstract our data model to a complex data object called an "Incident Definition." The Incident Definition will enable a range of new functionality that we will build in the future.
Robust Administrative Interface $13,000 In Development
Details: Our goal is to completely delegate Crisis Cleanup Australia incidents to the local level. Eventually, each new incident will require a "Local Admin," who is responsible for vetting organisations. This will require substantially upgrading the Administrative Interface.
Caching $17,000 In Development
   Details: We are working to improve map caching and loading time, especially for maps with tens of thousands of locations.

Funding: Planned Features

Based upon requests from the field, we have identified the following development priorities. All development will be open source. We seek additional funding to permit us to work on these new features:

Feature Est. Cost Status
Phases v. 1.0 $3,000 On Hold
Details: Enable long-term recovery (LTR), including rebuilding. Right now, Crisis Cleanup Australia is only designed for the "cleanup" phase. Requires completion of the Incident Definition.
Import $1,500 On Hold
   Details: Not everybody uses Crisis Cleanup Australia (which is OK). An import feature will allow others to import existing work orders using Excel or CSV. Requires completion of the Incident Definition.
API v. 1.0 $60,000 On Hold
   Details: Wouldn't it be great if the local power company could directly access anonymous Crisis Cleanup information regarding power outages? Imagine if emergency managers could overlay Crisis Cleanup Australia damage information on their public maps. What if voluntary organisations could directly combine Crisis Cleanup Australia information with census data to prioritise neighbourhoods? An Application Program Interface (API) allows websites to directly share information like this. The first step is to publish information in easy-to-digest formats like JSON, XML, and KML. Requires completion of the Incident Definition Data Model.
Crisis Caller $24,000-$40,000 On Hold
   Details: Crisis Caller is an interactive phone and SMS damage reporting plugin for Crisis Cleanup. It has three possible components, which accounts for the variable cost above:
  1. Reverse 911: This component will allow a membership organisation, such as a church, synagogue, county, to send customised robocalls to their members. Each person is prompted to press a number corresponding to certain types of damage (e.g. "Press 1 for flooding. Press 2 for downed trees..."). An icon instantly appears on a damage assessment map.
  2. Dial-in Touchtone Report: Identical to the Reverse 911 feature, a membership organisation sets up a permanent phone number that people could call an established phone number at any time to report damage. If the person’s phone number and address has not been registered, they will be able to enter it via touchtone phone.
  3. SMS Report: Like the Dial-in Touchtone Report, except using SMS. A person reports an address and damage via SMS, and an icon instantly appears on the damage assessment map.
Requires partial completion of API v. 1.0, Phases, and Incident Definition.
PDA Smart Phone App $45,000 On Hold
   Details: A Preliminary Damage Assessment (PDA) smart phone app would allow any member of the public to report damage in real-time, share photos, details about flooding, wind damage, downed trees, earthquake damage, tornadoes, power outages, etc. The app will be open source and completely re-brandable. For example, if the Methodists wanted a PDA app, we would re-brand it for the Methodists for a nominal fee. The PDA Requires completion of the API. Note: This is different from the Field Work App
Facebook App $4,000 On Hold
   Details: A Facebook App would allow any grassroots or other organisation solicit damage information and assessment requests directly from the public, through their Facebook page. It would have all of the functionality of the PDA App, and requires the API.
Embeddable Code Snippets $4,000 On Hold
   Details: An embeddable code snippet would allow any organisation to embed a Crisis Cleanup Australia damage assessment form in any website and solicit damage information and assessment requests directly from the public. It would have all of the functionality of the PDA App, and requires the API.
Display Damage Assessment Information $15,000 On Hold
   Details: A good deal of user experience/ user interface (UX/UI) work must be done to improve map visualisations and interactions, particularly for large data sets like Preliminary Damage Assessment (PDA) information. Visualisation techniques need to be developed to seamlessly integrate Severity, Type, Areas Affected, and Action Required information. Requires completion of the Incident Definition, API, and PDA Features.
Field Work Smart Phone App $85,000 On Hold
   Details: Crisis Cleanup Australia currently requires a live data connection to work, and is not optimised for smart phones. A Field Work App would give field workers all of the functionality of the full site, without requiring a live data connection. Workers can perform field assessments, complete work orders, upload photos of damage, and coordinate in real-time. Changes can be uploaded in real time, or saved for later upload via wireless connection. Requires completion of the API, and will probably build on the PDA App.
Multiple Access Levels $20,000 On Hold
   Details: As a side-effect of normal usage, Crisis Cleanup Australia becomes a repository of valuable data to other relief and government agencies. Our goal is to respect the privacy of clients while while sharing de-identified disaster information with as many organisations as possible, to promote the public welfare and a speedy recovery efforts. To that end, in the future (BUT NOT CURRENTLY), Crisis Cleanup Australia will permit multiple levels of access to organisations that meet some of the basic requirements.

Funding: Ongoing Maintenance, Support, Training, and Debugging

Feature Est. Cost Status
Grant Writing $60,000 or Volunteer Annual, Ongoing
Details: This is Crisis Cleanup's most pressing need. If we had a dime for every time someone said, "have you applied for _________ grant," we'd probably be funded. We're confident that Crisis Cleanup is fundable, but we lack the hours in the day to apply for grants.
Incident Management Costs $40,000 Annual, Ongoing
Details: Every time a disaster happens, our volunteers go into overdrive to assist the volunteers on the ground. We troubleshoot, fix bugs, add new features, talk with each responding organisation, answer support phone calls at 6:30am (on our personal cell phones), and train volunteers to use Crisis Cleanup Australia.
Training $55,000 Annual, Ongoing
   Details: Once or twice per month we are asked to run WebEx and phone training sessions to VOADs and others across the country and world. We have already trained Colorado VOAD, Mass VOAD, Florida VOAD, Georgia VOAD, Illinois VOAD, Missouri VOAD, the Pacific Islands, NJ Association of Volunteer Directors, National VOAD Conference, AIRS Conference, NJEPA Conference, APCO Conference Australia, the International Organisation on Migration, the International Conference of Crisis Mappers, Tech Change, and 4Good. Training and travel is self-funded, and puts a considerable strain on our dedicated volunteers.
Administration $20,000 Annual, Ongoing
   Details: An increasing percentage of time is spent performing administration-type activities such as fundraising, invoicing, and other paperwork. Currently estimated at .3 FTE.
Server and Software Costs $1,000 Annual, Ongoing
   Details: This is a variable cost for keeping the Crisis Cleanup Australia server running, and paying for development software. More usage increases costs.

Useful Links

The People of Crisis Cleanup Australia

Mark Tregellas, Crisis Cleanup Australia Manager

Mark Tregellas is a husband and father of 3 children. He works as a police officer, and also as the President of the Returned and Services League of Australia, Mallacoota Sub-Branch.

Mark has a passion for Community Based Disaster Recovery and has launched platforms including Mallacoota Recovers and DOVE.

Mark Tregellas, Crisis Cleanup Australia

Aaron Titus, Project Manager

Aaron Titus is a husband and father of six beautiful children, and formerly served as the New Jersey representative to Volunteer Organizations Active in Disasters (VOAD) for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon Helping Hands/LDS Charities). In that capacity he helped organize the Mormon Helping Hands responses for Hurricane Irene in 2011, the New Jersey "Derecho" thunderstorms and Hurricane Sandy in 2012. He is a recipient of the New Jersey Governor's Jefferson Award for public service.

Prior to his current job at VisionLink, he served as the Chief Privacy Officer and Attorney at Identity Finder. Aaron is also the Privacy Director at the Liberty Coalition, and a former member of the Management Council for the Identity Ecosystem Steering Group.

In his spare time, he volunteers as the project manager for Crisis Cleanup.

Aaron Titus, Crisis Cleanup

Andy Gimma, Developer and Project Manager

Andy Gimma is an Android, Python, Google App Engine, open source and open data programmer, with an emphasis is in non-hierarchical organizing structures. He likes Russian literature, Kenzaburo Oe, and avoiding the beaten path.

Andy Gimma

Chris Wood, Developer

Chris Wood is a freelance software developer and startup-ponderer based in London. Though his modesty would never allow him to admit it, Chris is an incredibly proficient Python & GAE programmer.

Chris Wood

Jeremy Pack, Developer

Jeremy Pack is a mathematician and software engineer on the Google Street View project. He lives with his wife and four children in Mountain View, California.

Jeremy was the primary developer of the first major deployment of Crisis Cleanup (Hurricane Sandy).

Jeremy Pack

Bruce Christensen, Developer

Bruce Christensen is a software engineer on the Google search team. He lives with his family in Mountain View, California.

Bruce was a major developer of the first major deployment of Crisis Cleanup (Hurricane Sandy).

Bruce Christensen


Thanks to Brett Traylor of the New York design firm, thinkso, for developing the Crisis Cleanup "pins" brand. Nicolas Zanghi has redesigned the Crisis Cleanup interface for the IOM's implementation of Crisis Cleanup for the Philippines. Thanks also to Karissa Phelps who designed our map icons, Shekhar Sharma for use of this CSS template, and many other developers who have contributed to this project.