VOICES Voices Icon Ideas and Insight From Explorers


Patrick Meier is an internationally recognized thought leader on humanitarian technology and innovation. His new book, “Digital Humanitarians” has been endorsed by Harvard, MIT, Stanford, Oxford, UN, Red Cross, World Bank, USAID and others. Over the past 12 years, Patrick has worked in the Sudan, Kenya, Ethiopia, Uganda, Somalia, Liberia, India, Nepal, Philippines, Timor-Leste, Kyrgyzstan, Turkey, Morocco, Western Sahara, Haiti, Vanuatu and Northern Ireland on a wide range of humanitarian projects with multiple international organizations including the United Nations and the World Bank. In 2010, he was publicly recognized by Clinton for his pioneering digital humanitarian efforts, which he continues to this day. Patrick’s work has been featured in the New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, CNN, BBC News, UK Guardian, The Economist, Forbes & Times Magazines, New Yorker, NPR, Wired, Mashable, TechCrunch, Fast Company, Nature, New Scientist, Scientific American and elsewhere. His influential and widely-read blog iRevolutions has received over 1.7 million hits. He tweets at @patrickmeier.

Aerial Robotics in the Land of the Buddha

Buddhist Temples adorn Nepal’s blessed land. Their stupas, like Everest, stretch to the heavens, yearning to democratize the sky. I felt the same yearning after arriving in Kathmandu with our UAVs. While some prefer the word “drone” over “UAVs”, the reason our Nepali partners don’t like the word drone dates back some 3,000 years to the spiritual epic Mahabharata (Great…

Seeking Digital Volunteers to Search & Protect Namibia’s Wildlife (Using Aerial Imagery from UAVs)

Patrick Meier is using UAVs, popularly called “drones”, to map out archaeological sites and aid humanitarian and environmental efforts. He partners with institutions around the globe to bring us amazing, interactive community projects and, of course, stunning aerial photos. New Update Here! UAVs are increasingly used in humanitarian response. We have thus added a new…

Using UAVs to Map an Ancient Wonder of the World

Getting a broad vantage of the layout of ruins used to be difficult, but using peaceful UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles), archaeologists like Patrick Meier are uncovering new structures and history from the air. Patrick is applying his new “airchaeology” to one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World: the Temple of Artemis in Turkey.

Social Media: Pulse of the Planet?

In 2010, Hillary Clinton described social media as a new nervous system for our planet. So can the pulse of the planet be captured by looking at social media activity?

Digital Disaster Response to Typhoon Pablo

The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) activated the Digital Humanitarian Network (DHN) on December 5th at 3pm Geneva time (9am New York). The activation request? To collect all relevant tweets about Typhoon Pablo posted on December 4th and 5th; identify pictures and videos of damage/flooding shared in those tweets; geo-locate, time-stamp and categorize this content.

How the Search for Genghis Khan Helped the United Nations Map Refugees in Somalia

National Geographic has been exploring new worlds for well over a hundred years. In the present century, these new worlds include digital worlds—the next frontier of exploration. Take National Geographic’s recent digital expedition in Mongolia. The “Valley of the Khans Project” represents a new approach to archeology that gives us each the opportunity to be a digital Indiana Jones by searching for the tomb of Genghis Khan using the World Wide Web. The very same technologies can also turn us into digital humanitarians in support of the United Nations (UN). Here’s a story about how National Geographic’s digital expedition in Mongolia inspired the UN during their humanitarian response operations in Somalia.

How Crisis Mapping Saved Lives in Haiti

The National Geographic Society has a long history of crisis mapping disasters. But what happened in Haiti on January 12, 2010 would forever change the very concept of a crisis map.

Back to the Future: On National Geographic and Crisis Mapping

National Geographic pioneered the use of crisis maps in the 1800’s and 1900’s. Today, live crisis maps are in more demand than ever. Indeed, to map the world is to change it. And to map the world live, is to change it before it’s too late.