Erik  Nguyen

Erik Nguyen

Scholar Title

MIT EECS — Duke Energy Undergraduate Research and Innovation Scholar

Research Title

Digital Mapping for Mobile Humanitarian Technologies




Lalana S. Kagal


Mobile devices can aggregate and analyze data that relief organizations depend upon for long-term relief projects or during times of crisis. However, technical barriers to entry for mobile app development have limited the role of smart devices in relief operations. App Inventor is a platform that works to lower these barriers by letting users create Android apps with visual blocks. Punya, a framework on top of App Inventor, extends this effort with specific functionality for relief operations such as Linked Data capability for easy integration, off-line tolerance, sensors and more. My work is to add mapping abilities to Punya by adding OpenStreetMap support. These maps can be annotated, built with application-specific layers, etc. which is useful for needs like live crisis mapping.


I’m a 6-3 junior with an interest in computer systems. One of my goals is to be able to use the software engineering skills I’m developing to somehow make a positive and meaningful impact in peoples’ lives. This project appealed to me because I have the chance to work on a platform that will support the efforts of international relief organizations.

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