The Sahana project is represented by the Lanka Software Foundation at the Google Summer of Code, 2007. Below are the tentative ideas of the project, but you are also encouraged to submit new ideas as well. For inquiries, email us at gsoc-2007 A.T

Note: In order to submit a project under Sahana, please select the Lanka Software Foundation as the parent organization, from the mentor list available at the Google Summer of Code page.

Optical Character Recognition for Sahana data entry

During a disaster, the most popular mechanism to capture data of the situation and people affected is getting victims to fill paper forms. In fact during the Tsunami in Sri Lanka some people had to fill upto 18 paper forms from various relief agencies for them to be able to assess the situation and respond with aid. Thus getting this data into a online centralized system like Sahana can greatly cut down the hassle of filling multiple forms for the victims and expedite the delivery of aid in response. But even with such a system at least one paper form will probably be used. The Optical Character Recognizing module for Sahana will be a module that streamlines and helps to automate the entry of data from the forms into Sahana through normal consumer based scanners. We are looking for an efficient and error averse solution to this problem.

Sahana Meta data based dynamic report generation (tables, charts and maps)

No matter how many Reports you predefine in the Sahana system, there will always be a report that a decision maker needs that is not included in the system. Currently the Sahana team has to dynamically code such reports based on the exact requirement. However this problem is in most instances merely finding the right SQL statement with a little calculation to generate tables and charts. It is certainly a problem that can be automated. But to make this more usable each of the fields in the database need to be translated to more user friendly names and values using meta-data tables and such tables and trouble-free maintenance of such tables during development should be part of the solution. The module needs to provide a visualization of these statistics as charts and maps.

Sahana Disaster data import through arbitrary spreadsheets, relational databases

In disasters you often find multiple spreadsheet (most Excel used by NGOs) structure, XML and multiple database schemas being used by various agencies in the relief effort. Sahana strives to be the central coordination hub for multiple agencies operating in a disaster, thus the system will need to import/export multiple spreadsheet and database schemas into and from the Sahana system. We need a module to define import templates for different spreadsheet, XML and relation database structures and import it into the Sahana system. This will also need to work with the meta-data tables of Sahana.

Sahana GPS interface

Field use of Sahana would require the connectivity of Global Positioning Systems (GPS). Sahana currently deals with spatial data, which can be used by GIS. Thus it is vital to be able to obtain accurate data from GPS units, and make use of the Unit’s useful features during disasters.

Note: Since the client would be accessing the GPS unit, and the Sahana client interface is the web browser, the applicant is expected to solve the problem of bypassing the web-layer to access the hardware. ActiveX is not encouraged as a solution, however ;-)


  • Client side GPS connectivity interface for serial/usb/pcmcia/bluetooth
  • GPS (version for GNU/Linux and MS Windows, possibly MacOS)
  • Sahana GPS administration interface
  • Format conversion interface
  • GPS waypoint/routes/selection import/export interface
  • GPS maps export(from Sahana to GPS unit) interface

Sahana GIS catalogue administration module

Sahana adapts a modular architecture to handle its Geographical Information System functionality. Existing GIS tools are used within the Sahana system as either client or server components to perform spatial tasks. The Sahana mapping client is based on OpenLayers, and displays data from WMS, GeoRSS feeds. Sahana requires a catalogue service to manage its WMS, GeoRSS feeds. Thus it should be able to export and catalogue data that exists in sahana with x,y information and convert to georss, and to catalogue wms services and georss feeds from external sources. The admin module should have an interface within Sahana that allows us to configure, catalogue and categorize the WMS and GeoRSS.


  • Translation of internal point data to GeoRSS format
  • Administration module that can manage georss feeds and wms services
  • Part of admin module should organize feeds/services into functional groups
  • Catalogue section to publish information about available services and feeds of the system
  • Output

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