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Thread: who do i call during a natural disaster wherein 911 fails?

  1. #1
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    who do i call during a natural disaster wherein 911 fails?

    you call twitter, or you forward SMS messages to a volunteer outfit in Kenya.

    no, really.

    screenshot by me:


    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/8543671.stm
    Net puts Kenya at centre of Chile rescue efforts

    Kenya is nearly 12,000km (8,000 miles) from Chile and is therefore perhaps not an obvious place from which to try to coordinate the earthquake relief efforts.
    And yet, on Saturday, within an hour of the massive quake, volunteers at a crisis group called Ushahidi sprang into action.
    "All we need is a computer and a fast internet connection," said Erik Hersman, one of the team of volunteers based in Nairobi.
    Ushahidi is an online mapping tool that can be used to collect and plot reports coming in from citizens via e-mail, SMS or even Twitter.
    Messages plotted on Ushahidi's map of Chile already include: "Send help. I'm stuck under a building with my child. We have no supplies".
    The intention is that emergency services can then use that information to target their efforts.
    "We aggregate the citizen data and visualise it so that it can be used more easily," said Mr Hersman, who is just one of a team that spans Malawi, Uganda, Ghana, South Africa and the US.
    full article at link.

    o, and the software? http://github.com/ushahidi/Swiftrive...er/License.txt

    GPL


    is it safe to say that Free Software is now actively involved in life-saving efforts?
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  2. #2
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    Re: who do i call during a natural disaster wherein 911 fails?

    That's truly amazing. Cool info.
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  3. #3
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    Re: who do i call during a natural disaster wherein 911 fails?

    That's cool and interesting until some stupid kids start making prank and while the emergency help are trying to find fake lost kids some people really will be dying.

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    Re: who do i call during a natural disaster wherein 911 fails?

    beautiful.

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    Re: who do i call during a natural disaster wherein 911 fails?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lightstar View Post
    That's cool and interesting until some stupid kids start making prank and while the emergency help are trying to find fake lost kids some people really will be dying.
    it doesn't assume every 'tweet' is accurate. i don't know the details, but my impression is that there are some basic logic algorithms going on.

    example: if single person tweets "45th and D, the Johnson Building is destroyed!" and it's a 20 story building... that one is but on the back burner and kept just in case.

    by contrast, if a dozen people tweet keywords along the lines of "43rd and A, the Fredrick Building is destroyed!", and that is only a 2 story building... that one may be more credible.


    here is what would be more concerning, and more likely:

    cross reference twitter and facebook accounts with the white pages, find out where people live. have the software look for tweets indicating where people are at. so when Fred is "enjoying dinner at Joey's Italian with my family!", his house highlights green indicating a potential target.
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    Re: who do i call during a natural disaster wherein 911 fails?

    I appreciate their efforts, but if emergency services are unresponsive, while cellular data networks are up, it's not because the phones are down but because emergency responders are too busy to handle all requests. So, while increasing the amount of available information doesn't hurt, it doesn't necessarily help all that much either.
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    Re: who do i call during a natural disaster wherein 911 fails?

    That is cool, certainly a good use of social networking technology.


    Quote Originally Posted by earthpigg View Post
    here is what would be more concerning, and more likely:

    cross reference twitter and facebook accounts with the white pages, find out where people live. have the software look for tweets indicating where people are at. so when Fred is "enjoying dinner at Joey's Italian with my family!", his house highlights green indicating a potential target.
    Heh, funny you may mention that, an article mentioning this website popped up in my RSS feeds the other day, although fortunately without malicious intent, more of a "this is what can happen" thing.

    http://www.pleaserobme.com/

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    Re: who do i call during a natural disaster wherein 911 fails?

    Twitter has saved loads of lives, there have been whole TED talks about it The future is so bright!

    Someone (I think it was Rob Delany)tweeted "Joining twitter and following Ashton Kutcher is like going into the Louvre to use the bathroom"

    Here is a list of Chileans and others close to the earthquake reporting from the ground http://om.ly/fiIm
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    Re: who do i call during a natural disaster wherein 911 fails?

    Quote Originally Posted by p_quarles View Post
    I appreciate their efforts, but if emergency services are unresponsive, while cellular data networks are up, it's not because the phones are down but because emergency responders are too busy to handle all requests. So, while increasing the amount of available information doesn't hurt, it doesn't necessarily help all that much either.
    Yeahh.. tell that to the people whose lives were saved as a direct result of this.
    Last edited by RabbitWho; March 2nd, 2010 at 11:34 AM. Reason: poor grammar
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  10. #10
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    Re: who do i call during a natural disaster wherein 911 fails?

    who do you call in a disaster when 911 fails?
    1-800-get-ammo

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