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Guest Writer
April 13, 2011

Guest Blogpost: RHoK Berlin + 4 months + Great Team = App for Japan

4 months ago I wrote about our participation at the Random Hacks of Kindness, Berlin. The application we worked on was judged the best project from the weekend of hacking made possible by the organizers, sponsors and of course betahaus.

Today I found myself at betahaus once again with Kashif Rasul speaking to Maximilian von der Ahe, one of the co-founders of betahaus. And the topic of last year’s RHoK came up. He was pleasantly surprised to hear that the concept we worked on at the Random Hacks of Kindness has gone on to be used by Caritas International in their response to the Japanese Earthquake.

A lot has happened since that weekend: rewriting the codebase, hours of meetings with Caritas, we even had a Christmas in the middle but we persisted. After the RHoK we promptly contacted Caritas seeking feedback. They gave us very useful feedback on our initial attempt, but given the time constraints the initial prototype was still far from complete. After reviewing the existing code we decided to rewrite the application from scratch making use of the real-time location API that we had been developing for our Berlin-based start-up.

Initially we built the application for deployment in the field in Pakistan. You can checkout the video of this initial prototype here and here We then added support for Haiti. Plans were being developed for adding support for a list of countries that are especially vulnerable to disasters. I have to say Japan was not on that list. Then, earlier this month we received a call from Caritas asking if we could create a deployment for Japan. This would be to manage the disaster response in the aftermath of the tragic Earthquake and Tsunami. With our API already in place we quickly imported administrative data for Japan and deployed for the Japanese prefectures that were worst affected by the Earthquake.

Here are few screenshots of the application with the data from Japan:

‍Creating, Geocoding & Editing Relief Projects

‍Creating and Editing Relief Activities

‍Birds eye view of relief activities in all of Japan

The application is currently only for internal Caritas use. However we are continuing to work with the admirable team at Caritas to develop another app for public data. However, this coming together of organisational needs and software developers would not have been possible without the amazing ecosystem that places like Betahaus and Berlin generally support. And they continue to support it. Tomorrow betahaus is hosting Seedcamp Berlin. It will be very interesting to see the startups that will be presenting and see how many applications are using location based intelligence in their business and help change the world for the better.

From 8pm on, we'll open The Club where the DJ booth and the dance floor will turn into our playground. We've invited hip hop and pole dancers to open the dance floor and have a friends-only crazy-cool lineup planned for the night. We'll be mixing botanical cocktails with Fritz Cola and inviting you into our Photo Booth Room so you can take home some silly photos from the night. In The Club, you will also find The Balloon Room and The Zen Zone which will be our chill spot for the night. Check out the timeline in The Club and learn more about The Zen Zone below.

The Club
20:00 - 22:00 Dj Niggo
21:00 - 22:00 Hip-Hop Dancers
22:00 - 22.30 AinTheMachine
23:00 - 01:00: Michal Vagner
01:00 - 03:00: Asia

The Zen Zone
(to be announced): Cacao Experience with Moruga Cacao
19:00 - 21:00: Tea Ceremony with Thirsty Moon

Make sure to join our Facebook Event and RSVP on Eventbrite, so we can put your name into our Happiness Jar. This birthday bash is all about our community, and together with our partners we've prepared a special Prize Draw.

Throughout the whole night, you will find the rooms of The Basement filled with art pieces from our favorite Berlin-based creatives. From illustrations to paintings to wooden sculptures and installations - we've made sure to host an inclusive Berlin-like mix of all things art. Let us introduce to you to some of the artists, who you will meet down in The Basement:

Have you met .. the Softblobs? Since moving back to Berlin from the US, Gesine Krätzner has been making strange creatures out of fabric that she calls Softblobs. They are cute, random, and they'll be waiting in The Basement if you want to try playing around with them.

From toys made of fabric, we’re moving onto wooden sculptures. Matt Danko knows how to bring wood to life and does it amazingly in his free time. In The Basement, he’ll show his latest furniture pieces and sculptures.

In the same room as Matt, you’ll find Lisa Büscher, who has prepared for us a hyper realistic sculpture presentation that gives it the touch of the extreme, surrealistic and absurd. She de- and reconstructs and reorganizes human bodies like Utopia does society.


In our Photo & Video room you will find works from Collette Pomerleau and Ocean.Now.

Colette is a Berlin-based creative working in photography, art direction and set design. Through her visuals she explores intimacy and anonymity. The space that falls somewhere in between.

Ocean. Now! is a collective that accelerates ocean protection. They work with different types of art to motivate our society to protect the Ocean -Now!

In the early afternoon, based in The Garden, you’ll meet Amaury BOUQUET. He’s a Berlin-based French artist from Saint Maur des Fossés, who has a background in social innovation and loves to play with symbols in his works. At 10 Years in beta, he’ll do his special Humanist Tarot readings from 4-6pm.

Parallel to him, also in The Garden, Sebastian Olivares will be painting live a special Mandala created for betahaus. Sebastian is a Berlin-based visual artist who specializes in painting mandala murals and has painted murals in Germany, Chile, Australia and Thailand.

Throughout the day ilan katin will be putting the party vibes onto a mural, specially created for betahaus. He's a Neukölln-based artist with experience in visual work, both static and performative, graphic design, illustration, comics, installations, animation and live video.

We think this one speaks for itself. If you need a little glitz or glitter to get you into the party spirit, come early and we'll do the rest.



Last, but not least, special thanks to our lovely partners who are helping us making this event happen.
Pilsner Urquell and Fritz Cola for the drinks, Emmy, Drivy, FrameRight, CoffeeCircle, Dream Facilitation, Moruga and BioWine for supporting our Prize Draw and our media partners from Silicon Allee, ASK HELMUT, Creative City Berlin and TechCode.

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