About Us

Planning disaster relief efforts is like trying to see through fog. OpenRelief is a project to develop better communications tools that help clear that fog. This enables the right aid to get to the right places at the right time.

OpenRelief is using an open source approach that ensures everyone, anywhere, can access our technology. We are working to complement other projects around the world to support the emergence of open, humanitarian drone technology.

Open Disaster Relief Solutions


Our little robot in the UK

We are creating an open source airframe to investigate and map disaster zones. This airframe can be used with software and hardware from other open projects to create a robot.

Integration is key

The robot is designed to be small enough to be launched from footpaths. It can be made smart enough to recognize roads, people and smoke. It can use sensors to measure weather and radiation. The information it collects can easily be shared with disaster management systems like Sahana Eden.

Released under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 by Andrew Back

The radiation detector in all its glory

We have also built a radiation detector that can be placed around disaster zone and broadcast information to the robot plane while using very little power. This is a “canary” to help relief workers detect spikes in radiation. It is intended to inspire the creation of other modules to detect other hazards in the future.

Contributors (in no particular order)

Shane Coughlan

Shane Coughlan

Shane Coughlan, co-founder and current project leader

Shane is an expert in communication methods and business development. He is best known for building bridges between commercial and non-commercial stakeholders in the technology sector. His professional accomplishments include establishing a legal department for the main NGO promoting Free Software in Europe, building a professional network of over 270 legal counsel and technical experts across 4 continents, and aligning corporate and community interests to launch the first law review dedicated to Free/Open Source Software.

Shane has extensive knowledge of Internet technologies, management best practice, community building and Free/Open Source Software. His experience includes engagement with the server, desktop, embedded and mobile telecommunication industries. He does business in Europe, Asia and the Americas, and maintains a broad network of contacts.

Edward Strickland

Edward Strickland

Edward Strickland, lead airframe designer

Edward, a gentleman with a degree in aeronautical engineering, experience with Open Source Auto Pilots and 7 years experience with QinetiQ and UK MoD, has lead the development of the OpenRelief airframe.

The OpenRelief airframe is an expansion of Eddie’s research regarding commercial Vertical Take Off and Landing (VTOL) drones. You can review an interesting overview of his VTOL focus on YouTube. You can visit Eddie’s profile on DIYDRONES to learn more about his day-to-day work on drones and open technology.

Andrew Back

Andrew Back

Andrew Back, designer of the radiation detector

Andrew is an artist, electronics hacker and open source advocate. He acted as BT’s Open Source Strategist, establishing company-wide open source policy and process and representing them at a number of bodies including The Linux Foundation and ATIS.

Andrew co-founded the Electron Club in 2006 — one of the UK’s first hackerspaces, and founded and runs OSHUG, a monthly open source hardware meet-up in and around London, UK.

Kevin Walsh

Kevin Walsh

Kevin Walsh, lead of the first public draft of the Situation Simulation

Kevin is an experienced games-master and strategist with an interest in developing simple, flexible ways for people to apply their skills to problems.

He has an interest in science (especially physics), and has used many of the current game systems on the market for pleasure and for education.

Noriaki Fukuyasu

Noriaki Fukuyasu

Noriaki Fukuyasu, Japanese translations and outreach

Noriaki Fukuyasu is the Director of Japan Operations for The Linux Foundation. Prior to joining The Linux Foundation, he lead the international business for a Japanese leading linux distributor, Turbolinux, Inc, as Director of International Business.

He also served as the CEO of Zend Japan. He has a MA degree in International Relations from Nagoya University, and a BS from Lambuth University.

Taichi Furuhashi

Taichi Furuhashi

Taichi Furuhashi, Japanese mapping and flight testing

President of MAPconcierge / Vice-President of OpenStreetMap Foundation Japan / Researcher of CSIS, Univ. of Tokyo / Director of OSGeo.JP / Member of OpenConcierge, NPO / Info. Ranger of Tasukeai JAPAN, NPO / Tech Editor of GISNEXT Magazine / KML evangelist
マップコンシェルジュ株式会社 代表取締役社長、オープンストリートマップ・ファウンデーション・ジャパン副理事長、東京大学空間情報科学研究センター特任研究員、OSGeo財団日本支部理事。東京大学大学院新領域創成科学研究科修了(環境学修士)。専門は森林リモートセンシング。地理空間情報の利活用 を軸に、Googleジオサービス、オープンソースGIS(FOSS4G)、オープンデータ(OpenStreetMap)の技術コンサルティングや教育 指導を行なっている。ここ数年は「一億総伊能化」をキーワードにみんなで世界地図をつくるOpenStreetMapに熱を上げている。最近の主なプロ ジェクト:JICA Project /ブラジル国アマゾン森林保全・違法伐採防止のためのALOS衛星画像の利用プロジェクト(Alos4Amazon:


John (Dan) Bell, vision technology

Neuroforge develops computer vision, artificial intelligence solutions and pattern recognition software. Disciplines ranging from mathematics and computer science to biology, especially bioinformatics, and neuroscience. All of these skills are united under the application of machine learning to complex problems.

Alan Hart, lead on our Australian airframe build project

Alan is involved with Research and Development (Robotics) at Amberley Aerospace, volunteers at LAC and SES at Emergency Management Queensland, and has been part of the OpenRelief development team since our formal launch.

Karl Lattimer

Karl Lattimer

Karl Lattimer, co-founder

Karl’s  main focus tends to be toward user interface, experience and interaction design and implementation.

He writes code in languages from C, Python, C++, Vala, C# with Qt, Gtk, Clutter, Cairo, Gstreamer or whatever libraries are available to achieve whatever goals required.

Karl build the first two OpenRelief prototype airframes (off-the-shelf FPV168 systems) prior to the formal launch of the project at LinuxCon Japan 2012.

David Schlesinger

David Schlesinger

David Schlesinger, outreach

An experienced executive with multifaceted expertise, encompassing engineering management, open source development, licensing and compliance, and social media.

Decisive and strategic, with significant experience in the design, implementation and successful delivery of full-scale commercial operating systems (e.g. Mac OS 7, 8 and 9, Palm OS 4, 5, and 6, the ACCESS Linux Platform, etc.).

Extensive project management experience, and an excellent record of delivering high-quality code on schedule. A media-trained corporate spokesperson, with exceptional written, oral and presentation skills. Exceptionally well-traveled and globally experienced, speaks Japanese and French.

Jane Johnston

Jane Johnston

Jane Johnston, outreach

Jane is an internet retailer with an interest in high street regeneration. She owns www.vanroe.com, a niche e-tailer of powder compacts. In its first year, Vanroe was seen in The Telegraph, The Stylist and Homes & Antiques magazines.

Jane co-founded www.redlab.co.uk to make events on social innovation. Her first event, Townstock 2012 (#townstock) saw 50 towns share 80 ideas. The Townstock ebook gained over 2000 readers in 2 months http://www.scribd.com/doc/117141026/Townstock-2012-80-ideas-from-50-towns

And of course…many more! Please come back regularly as we expand this section of the website to reflect all the contributions from around the world.

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