Solutions for Self-Reliance

How Open Online Tools can Help us Build Resilient Communities


Today, Google published a map of the secretive dictatorship of North Korea.   Up until today, North Korea was a blank space on public maps.

That changed when a group of citizen cartographers (living all over the world) used Google’s mapmaker tool and pictures/info from visitors to North Korea to build a map of the country (via the WP).

North Korea

The result was so good, Google’s now using it as part of their global mapping service.

For us, it’s a great demonstration of how a community of interest can solve a complex problem if given the right online tools.

For example, here’s how online tools can make coordinating local support easier.

Todmorden, UK is using an egg map to help local egg producers find local buyers.  Occupy used  software to help coordinate disaster recovery after Hurricane Sandy.

Online tools can also help us build the techniques and tools we need easier.  For example, Github simplifies open software development, like this effort to build an open/secure texting system called Splinternet.


And Wikis can make it easier to capture and share knowledge when building useful tools and other hardware.  For example, the open ecology development wiki is charting efforts to build open source farming equipment.

Hey, I’m using online tools to share and discuss my thinking about resilience with you right now.

So, while you might not be a fan of how technology is negatively impacting us (food, finance, etc.), it’s also playing a very positive role in helping us build the future.

There’s still so much that we need to do.

By the way.  IF you have an online tool that you’d like to share with people.  Add a comment below.

Resiliently Yours,



PS:  There’s also lots of room for new online tools.   For example, I’m still waiting for a tool that makes open source development of permaculture guilds possible.  There’s been some progress on plant databases, but nothing that goes the extra step.

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