Thesis Info

Thesis Title
Fulcra: A Platform for Disaster Relief Assistance by Online Volunteers
Alberto Elizondo
2nd Author
3rd Author
Master Degree
Number of Pages
Iuav University of Venice
Thesis Supervisor
Philip Tabor
Supervisor e-mail
Other Supervisor(s)
Gillian Crampton Smith
Language(s) of Thesis
Department / Discipline
Interaction Design
Languages Familiar to Author
English, Spanish & Italian
URL where full thesis can be found
interaction design, multimedia, technology, crowdsource, humanitarian aid
Abstract: 200-500 words
Fulcra is an online platform for aid relief workers to crowd source menial tasks to a community of volunteers. The platform alleviates the workload in the different stages of emergency management but especially in the mitigation, preparedness and recovery phases. Tasks can include information bulletins with updates taken from the Internet on the disaster, contextual reports for assessing the social and cultural aspects of the area where the aid worker will be deployed, and compiling general feedback found online for evaluation the perception of the public after the disaster. The worker uploads a task with a description, date due, importance, estimate work hours and skills needed. The volunteers look for a task using filters and search parameters so they can work on what suits them the best. After selecting a task, the volunteers add simple contributions like links, images, messages found in social networks and comments, The sum of all contributions makes up the tasks that is evaluated by the community. The most relevant contributions are highlighted and the least are eliminated or edited. After the task is completed, the worker sends a thank-you message to the volunteers and can add them to a trusted network for future assistance. This shows the volunteers their work is recognized, and how the community they are part of makes a difference. A section of the platform displays tasks by regions, currents events and organizations for potential volunteers to discover how they can help. To show the passion of the community it displays testimonies from the workers and highlights successful volunteers' stories. The project explores how new technologies have empowered citizens' ability to respond to emergencies. Over the years, after recent major disasters, research papers and articles have been published about the role of social media and community response aided by technology. Fulcra contributes to this initiative a platform that is both rational and emotional with a visual interface for task selection, with several options for finding the right task, and that acknowledges the work of the community. The project shows how interaction design thinking can connect collective intelligence to humanitarian work.