Hackers volunteer to help those affected by Hurricane Harvey

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HOUSTON - Hackers on a mission to save the world, focus in on Harvey-stricken Houston.

“This is the skills-based volunteering of the tech community,” explained Jeff Reichman, the founder of Sketch City.

Sketch City is a non-profit community group of about 2,500 tech enthusiasts, mostly from Houston, trying to address public sector problems.

And when their volunteers saw Harvey about to put a major hurt on Houston, they logged on for a marathon of awesome.

They execute projects like shelter maps, so that when donations are at capacity at one location, givers don't just drive around aimlessly.

“It's really important to have people making sure, calling, stopping by, reporting in, scouring social media to keep that up to date,” Reichman said.

Other efforts they've worked on include search and rescue platforms, muck maps, and a one-click relief site that allows charitable givers to purchase items from Amazon, for specific shelters based on their reported need, from anywhere in the world.

The platform designed for the Hurricane Harvey response can be used in any city or county, and with Irma and José out there, this tech may come in handy way too soon.

Sketch City runs the annual City of Houston Hackathon and hosts weekly meet-up groups for those wanting to help.

“We tutor, we mentor, we teach... we go out and try to find needs in the community and then build solutions that show how technology can address those needs,” Reichman added. “We've got about 15 projects in various states of roll-out right now.”

Helping Hurricane Harvey victims with keystrokes and clicks, and getting important information where it needs to be -- now that's some helpful hacking!

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