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The Contacts Nearby application allows users to discover geographic locations of other people in their extended social network. Social networks or “friend graphs” are getting increasingly popular on the internet and allow applications to become aware of trust relationship between users. Combine this information with the geographical location of each user and you get a valuable tool in possible emergency situations.

Imagine being on site at an emergency situation. You could well have the best aid workers or medical staff within a hands reach. The Contacts Nearby application gives you the ability to discover you have contacts in common and allows you to ask referrals from mutual contacts. This can accelerate finding useful contacts in your area and building trust with them.

Key requirements:

  • Allow you to specify your location via web, SMS, email - using a latitude and longitude or an address
  • Allow you to specify your privacy preferences for who is allowed see your current position.
  • Use an existing "friend graph" you might be maintaining on social networking sites like Facebook or LinkedIn
  • Allow you to query which contacts are nearby via the web, email or SMS, using maps and text messages
  • See "contacts of contacts" who are in the area
  • Ask the "mutual contact" for a referral or "hookup" email or message
  • You should receive updates when a contact enters your neighborhood.

This project takes advantage of the following technologies:

Current Status:

Currently the Friends Nearby application is available in beta and integrates with facebook’s social network capabilities. However future development should enable integration with any social network tool that supports the Open Social specification as well as tighter integration with InSTEDD’s directory and Identity store.

Preview the Contacts Nearby application in facebook

About InSTEDD:

As an independent, nonprofit organization, InSTEDD discovers, develops, evaluates, and distributes software and other technology-based tools to improve prediction, surveillance, preparedness, and response capabilities for those responding to global health threats, natural disasters, and human-caused emergencies. Visit our website at http:instedd.org.

Humanitarian aid workers:

At InSTEDD we are continuously looking for feedback. Would you like to help us shape our requirements and stories from a humanitarian aid perspective? please visit our forum at http:instedd.org/techforums.

Updated