Open Source Tools for a Smarter Planet Spread Out

by Ostatic Staff - Jun. 25, 2010

One of the better open source-focused posts I've seen recently was "Linux as a catalyst for a smarter planet," which included Jean Staten Healy and Bob Sutor of IBM discussing social challenges going on around the globe, and how Linux is being applied to solve problems. Filled with interesting data about how social change will make a place for Linux in the future, it reminded me of some of the many posts on open source tools for humanitarian and social causes that we've done. Here, you can find many of these, and some thoughts on Sutor's and Healy's presentation.

According to the presentation from Sutor and Healy:

"In 1910, only 16 cities had more than a million people. Now it's 450. In 2007, half the human population lived in cities. By 2050, that will be 70%. Solutions for cities are critical, and Linux is playing a big role. For example, smarter traffic systems in Stockholm are now driven by Linux."

Sutor and Healy also cite the example of Malta, one of the more densely populated places on the planet. The Maltese National Electricity and Water Utilities is using Linux for a nationwide smart grid for electrical and water service. So what other kinds of tools has the open source community served up for these types of applications?

We covered a suite of open source humanitarian tools from Silicon Valley-based InSTEDD here. The tools help manage information flow surrounding the delivery of medicine around the world, and during natural disasters.

TriSano is a very interesting open source infectious disease-reporting system in place in Utah, which we covered here. It helps track the spread of disease and streamline reporting.

Lisa covered OpenHazards here, which is designed to predict the possibility of earthquakes anywhere in the world. It's a highly interesting tool.

It's also worth looking into Lisa's post on Sahana, an open source tool that governments are deploying for disaster relief management.

Here at OStatic, we've done many more posts on open source tools that can help communities and governments around the world. Try searching on "disasters," "earthquakes," "medical," "governments," and other keywords to find some surprisingly ambitious, free resources.