Agasti - Vesuvius Products and Projects
Vesuvius Trunk
Vesuvius and People Locator

A Brief History of Vesuvius and Other Agasti Products

Particularly the Trunk and People Locator, and with mention of Kilauea and Mayon


A history of particular interest to developers, about Agasti in the Sahana evolutionary tree

Sahana Before Agasti and Vesuvius


Created in response to the 2004 tsunami, Sahana built its first web site using the PHP programming language and MySQL.


Capabilities were expanded during “Phase 1” releases, 0.1 to 0.5.


NLM's involvement with Sahana began in 2008, through one of a group of projects for the Bethesda Hospitals Emergency Preparedness Partnership (BHEPP). Increasingly, NLM took over development of the PHP codebase, as previous Sahana developers migrated to the Eden project. The “Phase 1” releases were superseded by “Phase 2”, as 0.6.x.


By 2009, Phase 2 was bifurcated into a “stable” branch and a more-experimental trunk branch, which eventually was known as 0.9.x.

October, 2009, saw the first alpha pilot by NLM/BHEPP during the CMAX 2009 exercise. This initial deployment focused on US-hospital triage needs, including reporting from a Windows laptop with camera at the triage station, and display and interrogation of those records by family reunification counselors.

For More

Birth of Agasti, Vesuvius, and other Branches


The Haitian earthquake of 2010 established a second focus, on international events, with ingest of missing-person records from Google Person Finder an important thrust.

In mid-2010, a new nomenclature was adopted. Active branches of “Agasti”, the part of Sahana based on PHP web technology, were given the names of well-known volcanoes. The “stable-0.6” branch was recast as "Krakatoa". New development subsequently took two largely independent forms:

  • at NLM, “Vesuvius” continued the major evolution of selected parts of the 0.9.x trunk branch (moving towards 1.0). It introduced database referential integrity, more object-oriented code libraries, and richer administrative controls. The code became available to developers in unpackaged (and later packaged) form from the repository. The web site was tested in October during CMAX 2011.
  • at NYC OEM/CUNY, “Mayon” (designated 2.x) began restructuring Sahana functionality, based on the Symphony PHP framework. Separately, a restyling and revision of Vesuvius to support shelter registration became “Kilauea”.

In January, 2011, NLM slimmed down Vesuvius, and made it of more-focused functionality, by removing from the trunk inherited modules that now lacked support. Remaining modules generally are new, or represent a substantially re-engineering of earlier work.

During the Google Summer of Code 2010, Vesuvius was used as a testbed for prototypes of a Module Manager and Sahana App Store.

For More About the Deprecated Modules


Check out this February, 2013 diagram of the "Genealogy of Vesuvius" during 2010-12, and some ideas for its further evolution in 2013. It covers People Locator (the successor to the Haitian web site) and Kilauea.

A group of PHP developers in Sri Lanka is now assuming responsibility for the Trunk, while NLM focuses on People Locator.

During 2013, NLM decided to present two different instances, with slightly different theming, targeting two separate use cases:

For Community-based Disaster Event Handling. The traditional People Locator site remains, but with hospital-based event features in the process of being removed or suppressed. Other newly-differentiating features that this continues to offer are:

  • PFIF missing-person data exchange with Google Person Finder.
  • integration with NLM's mobile ReUnite apps.
  • the SOLR search engine

For Disaster Event Handling by Hospitals or Other Organizations. Starting in Nov, 2013, a new demonstration site called TriageTrak is up in alpha form. When the shakedown cruise is done (by approximately start of 2014?), it is likely that “hospital staff” accounts could be provided to qualified potential adopters. Other differentiating features this site offers are:

  • integration with NLM's mobile TriagePic apps.
  • a simple MySQL search appropriate for small-scale data sets.
  • improved hospital-based filtering of results.
  • a model more focused on hospital adoption and self-hosting.

Further differences are expected to appear over time. (Note that this demo is seen as limited to offering “hospital staff” accounts; and is separate from the GSoC project to provide on-the-fly disposable instances with administrator rights.)

NLM Developer Alumni

For current NLM contacts, see the Vesuvius and People Locator page.

  • Merwan Rodriguez - PL Graphical user interface, Ajax (particularly filters, results popups), SOLR search engine and MySQL search through September, 2011;
  • Anantha Bangalore - Bluetooth R&D, Haiti earthquake meta-search, through July, 2010.
  • Ajay Kanduru - 2010: Haiti earthquake screenscrape from CNN iReports, initial SOLR integration. (Ajay is now contributing to the related ImageStats project)

Our Recent Volunteer and Student Contributors


Students at NLM, Summer 2010

  • Chase Bonifant developed large-format system and workflow diagrams.
  • Hyen Guan prototyped image duplication and face detection software.
  • Bathiya Senevirathna created and improved the “Found in Haiti” iPhone app, later called “ReUnite”.

During Random Hacks of Kindness 1.0, in Washington, DC

Volunteer Developers working with TriagePic:

  • Emad Ibrahim integrated a Webcam View/Image Capture window.
  • Jeff Bobish added a picture viewer to the Outbox.

Volunteer Developers working with ReUnite:

  • Vicky & Ryan Somma rapid-prototyped an Android version.

Also helping with concepts and contacts: Kumar Rangasamy & Ari Kaliannan

During the Sahana 2010 'Google Summer Of Code'



Students at NLM, Summer 2011

  • Owen Royall-Kanih worked with an NLM instance of Google's open-source Person Finder, as a testbed for PFIF import/export, plus developed new-event alerting code, contributed back to Google.
  • Michael Bulgakov developed missing/found-person artificial-data generators.
  • Returning student Chase Bonifant created system diagrams and documentation, improved NLM's internal project website and wiki, and (during winter break of 2011/12) organized a draft continuity of operations plan.
  • Joy Frazier documented the triage process, and investigated applicability of social media/crowd-sourcing tools.

During the Sahana 2011 'Google Summer of Code'

Google Code-in, Winter 2011/12

Sahana was selected as one of the mentoring organizations for Google Code-in (GCI) 2012. GCI is an annual competition hosted by Google to involve pre-university students from around the world with reputed Open Source communities.


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