Software developers also support participatory aid projects by designing and building platforms for coordination. Sahana Software Foundation’s EDEN (Emergency Development ENvironment) is a modular open source software project to help formal aid actors manage large-scale humanitarian responses. Collaborators can register organizations’ deployed on the ground, track crisis response projects and resources, and manage on-the-ground inventories. The software platform has been developed by a strong volunteer community and occasional interns from Google Summer of Code and other programs.

Following the earthquake in Haiti, and massive influx of thousands of aid groups, remote volunteers helped populate the Sahana EDEN installation with information about the organizations already working in Haiti. Says the Foundation: “The technology community’s response to the Haitian earthquake was an unprecedented collaborative and cooperative effort on the part of different organizations to come together and to help each other and to not replicate efforts.”

Sahana EDEN also powers other platforms, such as The Disaster Risk Reduction Project Portal for Asia and the Pacific, a platform maintained by UN-OCHA. It’s a similar who-what-where information-sharing portal for disaster risk and reduction projects in the Asia and Pacific region, used to identify areas of cooperation or gaps between projects.