Patrick Meier

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Patrick Meier, Ph.D. is an internationally recognized expert on Humanitarian Technology. He scales the impact of international humanitarian efforts using robotics powered by Artificial Intelligence (AI). Over the past 10+ years, Patrick has worked in the Sudan, Somalia, Kenya, Uganda, Liberia, India, Philippines, Kyrgyzstan, Nepal, Timor-Leste, Western Sahara, Haiti and Vanuatu on a wide range of innovative projects with multiple international organizations including the United Nations and the World Bank. As director of WeRobotics, he accelerates the use of appropriate robotics solutions in disaster-prone countries by co-creating “Flying Labs” with outstanding local partners. These Labs use AI-powered robotics (drones) to automatically collect humanitarian data and deliver humanitarian cargo. Patrick previously co-directed the Crisis Mapping Program at the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative (HHI) and currently consults for Facebook and Planet Labs on multiple humanitarian technology projects. He blogs at iRevolutions.org (1.8M+ hits) and authored the book Digital Humanitarians, which has been endorsed by experts from the United Nations, Red Cross, World Bank, USAID, Harvard, Stanford, MIT, Oxford, Twitter, LinkedIn and others. In addition, Patrick is an internationally sought-out speaker, having given well over 200 talks in more than 20 countries across 6 continents. He has spoken at the White House, Google, Twitter, Harvard, Stanford, MIT, Skoll World Forum, Club de Madrid, Mobile World Congress, Web Summit, PopTech, United Nations, National Geographic, Thinking Digital, TTI/Vanguard, SXSW, multiple TEDx’s and leading robotics conferences. Patrick is also National Geographic Emerging Explorer and a PopTech, Rockefeller Foundation and UNICEF Humanitarian Innovations Fellow.
  • Speaker PopTech 2010
  • Fellow 2013 Bellagio/PopTech Fellows
  • Speaker PopTech 2016
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Archived blog posts

Harlem First: Mapping the health of a community

Harlem First: Mapping the health of a community

Over the last several months PopTech has had the honor to partner with an elite group of collaborators on an emerging approach that strives to understand how social innovation design can influence the health of a community.

Harlem First: Mapping the Health of a Community celebrated our longstanding partnership with Design for Social Innovation at the School for

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PopTech Take Five

PopTech Take Five

I’ve had the pleasure and honor of being a member of the PopTech family for five years now. So when Leetha called me to relay the news about PopTech’s Time Out, well, I was deeply impressed. In fact, “Oh wow” were my exact words. Why? Simply this: how many organizations out there really take the time to stop, think and reflect? How many actually have the guts — nay, the nerve — to press “pause” in our hyper-changing, tech-driven maddening world where any form of slowing down runs the risk of being branded as a sign of slacking?
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2013 Bellagio/PopTech Fellows Announced

2013 Bellagio/PopTech Fellows Announced

This August in Bellagio, Italy, the Rockefeller Foundation and PopTech are bringing together a group of select Fellows to participate in the inaugural offering of a unique collaborative incubator focused on topics relevant to the lives of poor and vulnerable populations.

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PeaceTXT Kenya: Since wars begin in the minds of men

PeaceTXT Kenya: Since wars begin in the minds of men

Conflicts are often grounded in the stories and narratives that people tell themselves and in the emotions that these stories evoke. Narratives shape identity and the social construct of reality — we interpret our lives through stories. These have the power to transform or infect relationships and communities.

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This week in PopTech: Routing devices, emerging explorers and being green

This week in PopTech: Routing devices, emerging explorers and being green

There’s always something brewing in the PopTech community. From the world-changing people, projects and ideas in our network, a handful of this week’s highlights follows.

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This week in PopTech: Wrong assumptions, lively exchanges and creative coders

This week in PopTech: Wrong assumptions, lively exchanges and creative coders

There’s always something brewing in the PopTech community. From the world-changing people, projects and ideas in our network, a handful of this week’s highlights follows.

Patrick Meier (Social Mapping and Social Change Salon 2010, PopTech 2010), director of crisis mapping at Ushahidi, spent last week at the iLab in Liberia and Read more »

This week in PopTech: Concerts, community health and college

This week in PopTech: Concerts, community health and college

There’s always something brewing in the PopTech community. From the world-changing people, projects and ideas in our network, a handful of this week’s highlights follows.

Live 4 Sendai, a live concert and fundraising event for Japan, boasted many familiar faces from the PopTech stage. The event was hosted by Ze Frank (PopTech 2004, 2005) and Read more »

Crisis mapping Egypt

Crisis mapping Egypt

From the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information to the L.A. Times, crisis mapping is being used to track and facilitate the ongoing protests in Egypt. To see a collection of protest maps from the past week, check out Patrick Meier’s list here.

Image: L.A. Times crisis map via

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This week in PopTech: Violence interruptions, strange stirrings and gap year options

This week in PopTech: Violence interruptions, strange stirrings and gap year options

There’s always something brewing in the PopTech community. From the world-changing people, projects and ideas in our network, a handful of this week’s highlights follows.

According to Roger Ebert, The Interrupters, a documentary that reveals the amazing work of our friends at CeaseFire, is “Oscar calibre”. CeaseFire is a Read more »

A look back at Haiti and Mission 4636 with Josh Nesbit and Patrick Meier

A look back at Haiti and Mission 4636 with Josh Nesbit and Patrick Meier

On the first anniversary of the massive earthquake in Haiti, we are highlighting one of the most successful collaborative efforts that emerged from the devastation. Patrick Meier, director of crisis mapping at Ushahidi and Josh Nesbit, executive director of Medic Mobile (formerly FrontlineSMS: Medic) took to the PopTech stage to describe how the various

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This week in PopTech: Unplugging, mobile mapping and affordable drugs prevailing

This week in PopTech: Unplugging, mobile mapping and affordable drugs prevailing

There’s always something brewing in the PopTech community. From the world-changing people, projects and ideas in our network, a handful of this week’s highlights follows.

As we ease back into the post-holiday grind, Jonah Lehrer sheds light on why going on vacation and unplugging from technology aids creative productivity.

An Ushahidi mobile Read more »

PopTech Accelerator unveils PeaceTXT initiative

PopTech Accelerator unveils PeaceTXT initiative

As part of its ongoing commitment to fostering breakthrough social innovation and collaboration, PopTech unveiled Friday a new Accelerator initiative, PeaceTXT — a multidisciplinary project to explore the potential of mobile technology to amplify a proven approach to reducing violence.

A collaborative effort among CeaseFire, FrontlineSMS: Medic

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Visualizing Data to Drive Social Change

Several weeks ago, PopTech held a Chicago salon that focused on social mapping, and the ability to leverage networked technologies and old-fashioned communication alike to express local knowledge and perceptions as well as economic data and other figures that are often otherwise practically inaccessible to citizens.

Two of the featured speakers offered ideas about

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Recap of the PopTech Social Mapping Salon

Recap of the PopTech Social Mapping Salon

Yesterday, PopTech convened a salon and workshop in Chicago on social mapping and social change.

During the day, workshop participants—including leading thinkers in mobile, geolocative services, social good, and philanthropy—discussed how their respective systems of organizing information and intervening in their local communities might fit together.

The day began at

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Social Mapping Thoughts from Patrick Meier

Social Mapping Thoughts from Patrick Meier

As we prepare for the PopTech salon “Social Mapping and Social Change” in Chicago next Wednesday (there is currently a waitlist, and the event will not be streamed, but look for a blog post afterwards and tweets with the #socmap hashtag on Twitter), we are thinking about how social mapping might be defined.

One of the salon speakers, Patrick

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Announcing "Social Mapping and Social Change": PopTech Salon

Announcing "Social Mapping and Social Change": PopTech Salon

What is social mapping?

How can geolocative info systems and visualization tech be applied to new fields for social change?

On May 12, 2010 from 6:30 – 9:00p (CT) at at the Graham Foundation in Chicago (4 West Burton Place, Chicago, IL 60610), PopTech will bring together three speakers (and a smart audience in this city of news aggregators and social good

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Updates: Gaming Ushahidi, Governing Braddock, GSBI Cohort 2010, and Chimpanzees

A few updates from the PopTech network in the past week:

Ushahidi’s Patrick Meier (PopTech Social Innovation Fellows Erik Hersman and Ory Okolloh are Director of Operations and Executive Director of Ushahidi, respectively) on information vandalism.

Read the great comment thread and watch video from the post:

(Ushahidi is

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Elephant Stalkers, Lion Warriors and Species on the Move

Elephant Stalkers, Lion Warriors and Species on the Move

At today’s special session “The New Edge of Conservation”, leading practitioners of ecological conservation Katy Payne, Healy Hamilton and PopTech Fellow Paula Kahumbu walked us through some of the latest technologies being employed in their respective fields.

Animal communication expert Katy Payne played clips of whale and elephant songs and

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