We built this site because we have a passion for travel.
Is It Safe to Visit? is built to answer a simple (and often asked) question: Is it safe to visit a specific country? The idea began when Andy Volk was traveling around the world, and as social disruptions came and went in places he was planning to visit, he needed a way to track the current "safety" advisory status of a country. When we came home, he talked about it with his friend (and recent MIT Media Lab graduate) Brent Fitzgerald, who happened to be another world traveler. Brent did the programming and design, Andy applied his product skills, and together they launched Is It Safe To Visit? in November 2008 as a joint venture of their two technology consulting / incubation companies, Downtempo and Taco Lab.
How It Works
Every night our trusty scripts head out and find data about the safety rating of each country from the U.S. Department of State, Canadian Foreign Affairs Department, Australia Smart Traveler, and New Zealand Safe Travel. We then compare the ratings and assign each rating a number grade in terms of severity. We then average the rating numbers together to give an average as to the current safety rating for that country, which is the rating that appears at that appears at the top of the page. We don't make any editorial judgements in the creation of this rating, it's simply the result of averaging all of the advisories together.
Here's how we assign numeric ratings for each advisory:
|Rating Level||Australia Smart Traveler||Canadian Foreign Affairs Department||New Zealand Safe Travel||U.S. Department of State||Our Rating|
|1||Be alert to own security||Exercise normal security precautions||(No travel advisory issued)||Low Risk|
|2||Exercise caution||Some Risk|
|3||High degree of caution||Exercise high degree of caution||Some risk||Travel Alert||High Risk|
|4||Reconsider your need to travel||Avoid non-essential travel||High risk||Really High Risk|
|5||Do not travel||Avoid all travel||Extreme risk||Travel Warning||Ridiculously High Risk|
Where We're Going
Our site is in a state of constant development. We're developing new features, adding new country ratings (such as the UK FCO), and new ways of displaying this data.
Bugs? Ideas? Random Thoughts? Need a Hug?
Credit Where Credit Is Due
Our sincere thanks to various government organizations providing travel advisory data to the public. We're glad to have a chance to use this data in our product, and these governments are providing a valuable service to their citizens and the world at large. Each advisory posted on our site provides a clear link back to the government that provided it, so you can always get the full advisory story from the governments that we quote. Also, our thanks to the makers of Ruby on Rails, Slicehost, OS X, MacPorts, TextMate, Get Satisfaction, and of course, Crystal Light, the beverage that powered most of our work sessions.
Tell Us Your Story
We built this site for YOU. How are you using the product? What do you think of it? Where should we be going? Want to license our data? We'd love to hear your feedback -- send it on over to us at "info" at our domain name.
Andy and Brent