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.

In the last few weeks the event spaces at betahaus | Neukölln were packed with cool events. We opened up the Hide-Out with BETAPITCH Berlin 2019 in the start of April. The hotly contested pitching event saw 12 startups reveal their visions for improving accessibility in public transport. Here’s a recap video from the event.

Photo by: Dominik Tryba

On 27th of April we celebrated 10 years in beta. For our coworking anniversary we transformed betahaus | Neukölln into a party venue and an art exhibition. Artists from our community filled The Basement with art, The Garden was full of fun activities and inside in The Club we had our favourite DJ's playing. In case you have missed it, here’s a recap video from the event.

Photo by: Dan Taylor

We also welcomed the LongHash Crypto conference and enjoyed 3 days of workshops and panel discussions on all things blockchain. And speaking about conferences, our friends from GitHub also chose the betahaus | Neukölln spaces for the workshop day of their biggest event - The Satellite conference. More than 600 developers, executives, and industry leaders from around the world came to

Photo by: Dominik Tryba

After you’ve taken care of your paperwork and you’ve signed up both in Bürger- and Finanzamt, you are all set up to start working. One of the best ways to get integrated into the city fast, meet like-minded people, and even find clients is by working from a coworking space. There are tons of benefits for freelancers and luckily Berlin has a lot to offer in this way. A coworking space is a physically collaborative shared workspace, which brings all kinds of creatives and entrepreneurs together. It’s a perfect place for startups, freelancers, digital nomads and even corporates searching for innovation. And it’s the biggest advantage towards the typical office space is that it pushes a collaborative exchange between its members and facilitates the creative process and networking.

Landscape not supported.
Please switch your smartphone back to portrait view!