Thursday, October 12, 2017

Local Makers Create Comprehensive Database on Sonoma Fires

Posted By on Thu, Oct 12, 2017 at 12:00 PM

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A team of volunteers based out of Chimera Arts and Makerspace in Sebastopol has spent the last four days creating, compiling and sharing verified up-to-date information, resources and news regarding the Tubb's, Nunn's and other fires in Sonoma County on the website Sonomafireinfo.com.

"We all woke up early in the morning (on Monday) and decided to figure out what we could do to help out," says Dana Woodman, founder of Chimera and a key figure in Sonomafireinfo.com. "One of things we were noticing was lack of information, there wasn't a lot of data being generated that was accurate."

A software consultant by trade, Woodman and his fellow makers put their computer skills to use to make Sonomafireinfo.com a translatable website that funnels information from different sources regarding the status of shelters, local markets, gas stations, pharmacies, and animal assistance, as well as accurate information about donations and volunteering options. The volunteer group has ranged from 10 to 30 people at a time on site at Chimera gathering data and calling officials and businesses to get accurate information.

"It started as a Google doc shared on social media with a list of resources, by the end of Monday, it was converted to a website, structured to be useful on phones and browsers," explains Woodman. Ninety hours into the ordeal, SonomaFireInfo.com has over 75,000 unique visitors and over 1,000 followers on Twitter. Woodman expects to keep the site going even after fires have been put out, and says it will transition from emergency response to recovery information. "Right now the site's geared toward short-term, life-saving stuff, but when the fires die down we're going to keep doing this until it's not needed anymore."

If you need updates or resources, or if you are looking for ways to help, visit sonomafireinfo.com and @sonomafireinfo on Twitter.

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