CrisisCommons’ Gulf Oil Spill Response Project

Gulf Oil Birds, picture from CrisisCommons is working hard with a number of other organizations, including NGOs and educational institutions, to develop a common crowdsourced platform for reporting the effects of the Gulf Oil Spill. We believe that if the various crowdsourcing efforts could be aggregated and shared, this could improve the response from all response organizations. From the Oil Spill Response Wiki Project Page:

Purpose: To encourage citizen reporting of effects and share their story of the oil spill on the gulf region, provide safety information, connect the public with volunteer opportunities.

Citizen reporting data will include on qualitative data elements such as photos, video, time/date, location as well as qualitative elements such as free text field. All data reported will be shared back via in open and accessible data feeds to be freely available for anyone, including response organizations and academic institutions, to import data and create open tools to allow for visualization, aggregation and analysis. Initial tools for this project will include:

  • Commons Mobile Application: Provide citizens with access to smart phone devices, a free mobile application to allow for them to report what they see, do’s and don’ts (safety information/training videos), share their story, and find local volunteer opportunities. The reporting feature of the application would capture geotagged, time-stamped pictures and videos as quantifiable data along with text fields for providing qualitative data. Reporting information will be posted as open and accessible data streams on to allow that all public reporting data is open and accessible. Other features could include “RSS news feed” “Headlines” “My Reports” “Weather”
  • Oil Spill Widget: Provide the public and response organizations with a widget directing them to information sources. Provide a page on the web site to sign up for widgets.
  • Localization of the Commons Mobile Application: The mobile application and its codebase will be freely available for NGOs and response organization to rebrand and deploy to encourage their communities to report. (Future Feature)
  • Common Short Code: For citizens without smart phones/lightweight data collection approach to use a common short code provided by Mobile Commons to collect qualitative data sets. The short code would be available for anyone to use across area codes. Data from the short code will be shared via
  • Open Data Repository: Public posting of open data streams from the citizen reporting sources such as the Commons mobile app, short code and other citizen reporting data streams as well as a collection of relevant government data sources. This listing would enable any organization to share data to the public.
  • Visualization Resources: A listing of academic institutions and technical organizations who have volunteered to assist response organizations and open tools to provide visualization and analysis resources to utilize public data to provide information to augment situational awareness and operational action for response organizations.

We are working very hard to get something useful out quickly. To help participate in this effort please go to the Oil Spill Response Project Page.

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26 Responses to “CrisisCommons’ Gulf Oil Spill Response Project”

  1. Coby May 4, 2010 9:37 pm

    hmm. tried to comment on this yesterday.

    been tracking oil spill news feeds and tweets on since the 29th.

    would like to make sure we all coordinate.

    happy to share data or pull more feeds.

    keeping in mind one site builder and one volunteer dev keeping my stuff running :-)

    i am planning on going down there next week.


  2. Katy May 6, 2010 6:27 am

    Are you actually kidding!!!!!!!!!!!!! Ive just been reading through all the different stories that are out about this horific disaster (and there all bull shit may i add!)And not once has BP said there to fault. Sorry to say (BP) but the oceans wildlife was here millions of years before you were, and no thanks to your poisoness shit your selling they’ll be here long after we’re gone. 5 months down the track and your still wingeing its not your fault, trawling that shit through the ocean was your idea right? So if theres some form of accident resulting in disaster you are morally bound to take responsibility and fix this massive fuck up.We all share this world and if we all make insignifcant changes to our own lives, it will impact massivley on our world!

  3. Toby Wilson May 7, 2010 1:06 pm

    First of I would like to say that I own a oil absorbent company called cocoabsorb I sell an instant clean up meterial that is green. Cocoabsorb is shredded coconut husks that are enviormentally friendly and absorbs 9 times their weight in hazardous waste. We have tried our product on Crude Oil and it worked very well. I also have socks or booms for pulling oil off water and are product dries out the hydrocarbons in the oil. I think that it is a great Idea to use hair but if I can be of any help please contact me. This is not me trying to make a profit this is my company trying to help out..
    Thank You

    Toby Wilson

  4. Noel Dickover May 7, 2010 6:43 pm


    This sounds like an idea that needs to be submitted to the government’s’s Alternative Response Technology Inquiry page at:

    There is also a phone number – (281) 366-5511

  5. phillip m. ahlstedt May 25, 2010 1:11 pm

    for at least 30 years NOAH and the us navy have had manned submersibles
    that can go to extreme depths and could cap this bro0ken line fairly rapidly. I think the govt and BP are not thinking with the right rnds of their bodies

  6. Jason B May 31, 2010 2:59 pm

    As I was reading the news coverage, there were plenty of reports from scientists, politicians and now increasingly, lawyers. I was looking for what do folks like me (I consider myself to be a ordinary citizen) think about this crisis and what can we do to help?

    I came across this site: oil spill ideas site which seems like a cool way to collect ideas. The emphasis is on collect everything and let people vote the good ones up and if an expert can come in and educate why a certain idea will not work, that great too.

    Would have been great to have something like this available when we can get the creative and/or informed minds of thousands of folks working.


  7. Ron June 2, 2010 4:34 pm

    Well my bigest concern is how much oil it takes to spill into the ocean before everything begins to die and the oxygen wich comes from the Oceans wich if Im not mistakeing is like 96% or 98% of the earths oxgen comes from the oceans how long with the rate of this spill leaking into the oceans untill everything dies off and we all stop breathing 1 year 2 years 6 months can anyone caculate using there scientific mines before we all drop dead say like 2012?????

  8. Docteur de climatologie June 3, 2010 6:23 pm

    Qin Chen, an associate professor of civil and environmental engineering at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge
    The ecological catastrophe in the gulf of Mexico can be compared to the Chernobyl nuclear accident. Millions of gallons of oil are already in the Gulf of Mexico, and until now BP engineers failed to stop the leak.
    The tornado season which has started recently in the Mexican gulf can geographically coincide with the oil spill. The oil emerging into the tornado can be air diffused. It is still debated whether the oil dispersed as an aerosol can reach explosive quality. That this situation is far from hypothetical was demonstrated by the U.S. “mother of all bombs” and the Russian “dad of all bombs”. Based on the same dispersion principle, with 16,000 lbs of explosive aerosol inside, it is equivalent to 88,000 pounds of TNT.
    The amount of the oil dispersed in a form of an aerosol in the tornado epicenter can be enormous. The extreme explosive capacity of the oil aerosol might affect numerous economically important centers in the U.S.

    What does the U.S. government do to prevent this explosive situation?

  9. tomtmo June 6, 2010 10:23 pm

    Why are they trying to save the well?
    They should be saving the environment.

    I have a concern about the BP oil leak problem.
    How can they get away with trying to save there well? All the damage they are doing to the environment is obscene. Someone should make them just plug the well with cement. The use of mud is for blowout protection when they are going to use the well for oil production. No one is talking about just plugging the well. That thing they are using is just to save the well not stop the leek. Can you ask the people in charge why?

  10. John Stokes June 7, 2010 11:18 pm

    Help support awareness on the prospective destruction of Earth’s vital oceans by the Gulf Oil Spill.

    We welcome proposed article submissions and donations in support of investigative journalism on the Gulf Oil Spill.

  11. Common Ground through Creativity June 10, 2010 1:39 am

    Common Ground through Creativity is a small NGO that has a vision of empowering communities through participatory arts.

    CGtC has dedicate a web-page as a forum for the communities that have been impacted by the recent oil spill into the Gulf of Mexico.

    It is intended to provide a unique forum for those wishing to express themselves creatively. This may be through any form of creative process, be it visual art, songs, stories, video, dance, etc.

    The objective is to cultivate creative group synergy amongst your communities, and a way of bringing creative minds together to explore the current situation and a way forward.

    If you are interested in this forum or would like to contribute your creative expression please go to:

  12. Shereen Amendra June 16, 2010 3:15 pm

    I truly feel for you all as I am from island Sri Lanka. A suggestion to make the skimmer boats more efficient and reduce the payload, which carries a large percentage of seawater: Spray on the top of the oil, just above the surface, liquid nitrogen through multiple nozzle booms to ‘freeze’ or ‘glass’ the crude oil and skim immediately with a bucket shovel type skimmer into the barge. All equipment, including compressor for liquid nitrogen can be barge mounted. This is benign to the environment as liquid nitrogen is inert, but must be handled carefully. Best wishes, Please give credit if this works out. Shereen Amendra, Sri Lanka

  13. Stan June 21, 2010 6:29 pm

    Our research team here at

  14. Stan June 21, 2010 7:19 pm

    Here at New Jersey Institute of Technology in Newark, New Jersey.
    We have developed a novel solution to remedy this problem.
    Construction of a “OWN” (oil well needle) massive enough and simple in it’s design to curtail the flow of oil to a total seal or near 99% of exiting wellhead.
    First order of events is takeoff damaged BOP. There are inside of the BOP unknown failures, weather it is by junk or drill pipe with casing or a combination of both. The BOP must be taken off ASAP it will continue spewing oil at several openings at vent pipes or by Blind Ram shear and or Annular valves at each end of the BOP. The proper decision must be made quickly and it requires bold steps to accomplish the unthinkable thats REMOVING BOP and inserting the OWN (oil well needle.
    The “OWN” could be constructed in a matter of days delivered to the side of the BOP by cables from a service ship ready to deploy.. The “OWN” has been subjected to redundant calculations and a “Proof of Concept” has been established. It will work flawlessly and only has one moving part and could handle oil flow 3x the volume of the cross-section of the wellhead diameter.
    We are ready here at New Jersey Institute of Technology
    At just hours notice our research team is ready for this challenge at the urgency of a lifetime with so much at stake..
    “FAILURE IS JUST NOT AN OPTION” we will work tirelessly till all is done and embrace when all is sucessfully completed. The “OWN” will do what it was designed to do and that’s STOP the Leak in the GULF OF MEXICO

    NJIT RESEARCH TEAM……..Thanks Stan and John
    Here at New Jersey Institute of Technology several professors with a world of experience in drilling of all types.

  15. Stan June 21, 2010 7:49 pm

    A continuation is essential to expose the “OWN” oil well Fix what is wrong in the gulf.
    All that is required is for the right person to see the beauty and the simplicity of this “OWN” and understand how it was designed to function. READ THIS MESSAGE AND PASS IT ON TO FRIENDS AND TO EVERYONE THE “OWN” WILL WORK BY DESIGN…
    You can contact Stan ,John or Jay at the following emails.. or John at or Jay

  16. Stan June 22, 2010 8:40 pm

    A Solution to the Gulf Oil Problem

    Here at New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) in Newark, NJ we have developed a novel solution to the Deepwater Horizon oil problem. It involves the construction of an “oil well needle” or OWN massive enough yet simple in its design to curtail about 99% of the oil exiting the wellhead. First the blowout preventor must be removed. It has been irrevocably damaged and is no longer containing and directing the flow of oil in an upward direction so that much oil is exiting the BOP laterally. This decision should be made quickly. Our solution involves removing the BOP and inserting the OWN directly into the wellhead. The OWN can be constructed in a matter of days and delivered to the side of the BOP by cables from a service ship ready to deploy it. The OWN has been subjected to calculations, and a “proof of concept” has been established. We feel that it will work flawlessly, and it has only one moving part. It can handle oil flow at three times the rate leaving the wellhead. Our research team is ready, at just hours notice, to remedy this problem that now confronts our nation with its greatest challenge. With so much at stake, FAILURE IS NOT AN OPTION. The OWN will do what it was designed to do, that is, to STOP the leak in the Gulf of Mexico.

    The NJIT Research team, Stan Olender and John Schuring

  17. james hart June 29, 2010 5:28 pm

    i have taken a 40 hour class on hazardous waste that most people are spending up to 600 dollars out of their on pocket 4. so that they can join the oil response and a friend has both went through the class and now are certified.we put are resume in through a company named eti.pros.i just got a e-mail saying that they cant use me because i moved from florida.iam from tampa and all of my family is to.iam sorry that iam not letting my little 3yr old girl live on a oil infested sand pit with water in it.i want to come down and clean but they wont let me.THANK YOU BP

  18. bruce berman September 10, 2010 7:53 pm

    Here’s a story a guy I was working with told me.
    I work in the oil and gas industry.
    Story was, some Halliburton people that were on the rig to monitor drilling op’s, in part to see an event such as this one coming and avoid it, “had all sorts of nasty stuff coming back at them” and considered it to dangerous to continue, spoke to those in charge recommending shutting down drilling, were told no, “if you wont do the job your out of here, we’ll find someone who will”, loggers reply was ok get us off, this request was also refused.
    Allegedly they contacted their office, who arranged them a helicopter and they got off not long before the blow out, related deaths and spill happened.
    Apparently the story came from my friends brother who works for Halliburton.
    Anyone hear anything like this, I heard it months ago and have heard nothing of it since, dunno if its true.

  19. peckterfest December 16, 2010 3:58 am

    “The extreme explosive capacity of the oil aerosol might affect numerous economically important centers in the U.S.”
    How much is it true?

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