By Jonathon Morgan

The enormous amount of information generated by disasters like the earthquake in Haiti or conflicts like the ongoing Syrian civil war is one of our biggest assets in understanding and responding to crisis. For years this resource has been squandered — locked away in forgotten databases, undocumented APIs, or proprietary formats that hide data in pie charts and “situation reports.” It’s time for the next generation in big data for social good.

Say hello to CrisisNET.

Starting today, developers, data scientists and data journalists can quickly and easily pull information from social media, news and non-profit data sources for analysis, reporting and real-time applications using the new CrisisNET platform. Borne from six years of experience rapidly responding to conflicts and disasters using Ushahidi’s crowdsourced mapping application, CrisisNET can retrieve reporting and incident data from any source, understand that data, and make it available through a simple but robust API. Get started by exploring that API, or dive right in and register for an API key.

We’re incredibly proud of the beta platform, and the potential it represents to realize the power of transparency, open information, and big data technologies in humanitarian response. That said, we’re just getting started, and would love to hear your feedback. Please don’t hesitate to email Chris or me with ideas and improvements, or if you have data you’d like included in CrisisNET. The platform is also open source, so if you’re a developer and are interested in digging in and contributing to our open source codebase, just let us know.

We built this for you, the makers, to usher in a new era of crisis knowledge, understand and action. Let’s go make something awesome.