Since my update last week, the Danube in northern Hungary and Budapest is receding and the high waters of the greatest flood ever recorded in Hungary are moving towards the southern borders of the country. Thanks to the hard work of more than 10 thousand emergency response unit members,…
Get Survival Tips - Protect yourself from hurricane, flood and other disasters on the App Store. See screenshots and ratings, and read customer reviews.
European Union researchers are working on the BRIDGE project, which aims to improve emergency response collaboration during disasters, and is examining how technology can help to enhance response strategies.
The system provides a visual overview of events taking place at the scene of a…
PopTech is thrilled to announce “The City Resilient,” an urban resilience summit to be held at the Brooklyn Academy of Music on June 24.
We live in a time of increasing volatility. Disruptions of all kinds – from the economic to the ecological, from the social to the geopolitical – arrive with little warning, from surprising directions, and leave serious consequences in their wake.
Amid this volatility, cities serve as both the epicenters of vulnerability, and the crucibles of resilience. And this raises a host of important questions: How do we empower communities to improve their self-reliance and act effectively on their own behalf? How do we build new social networks and social capital that cuts across socioeconomic lines? How do we physically build more resilient urban places and more resilient infrastructure? How do we use distributed technologies and ‘big data’ to sense and respond to emerging risks? How can new tools and platforms allow for rapid, creative responses to urban disruption? What are the roles of culture, of the arts and humanities? What is the role of leaders, of all types – governmental, corporate, social sector, citizen/volunteer – in bolstering resilience?
Flood wall protecting parts of downtown DC completed within two-years. The wall is actually an upgrade to a previous wall and was designed and built by engineering firm TetraTech. Several public hearings and comment periods were held throughout the design stages of the project.
For full description, see: Levee / Floodwall Design and Certification, National Mall in Washington, DC
This Nigerian school is set to rise. The floating structure was built by Dutch and Nigerian architecture, design and urbanism firm NLÉ to serve the slum neighborhood of Makoko, much of which exists on stilts above a lagoon in the port city of Lagos. Looking to mitigate the compounding problem of massive population movements to urban areas and the realities of climate change, NLÉ built the school as a prototype for a broader urban planning initiative called Lagos Water Communities Project.
Their design conforms to the local necessity of building houses on stilts above the lagoon with flotation platforms crafted from 256 common plastic barrels. This will allow the three-story primary school to rise along with sea level due to climate change or rainfall. The architects also designed it to provide natural ventilation, water from a rain collection system and power from rooftop solar panels to occupants. The almost 2,400 square-foot bamboo and wood building can safely hold up to 100 students.
As Hurricane Sandy approached, we worked hard to keep our community informed. Now we’re using what we learned to help other communities track an approaching storm.
Starting this evening, with Tropical Storm Andrea, WNYC has launched a redesigned Hurricane Tracker to automatically follow every tropical cyclone in the Atlantic basin.
Things to do
Below is a list of thing that you can do to achieve your goal this month.Choose at least one, and complete it.
Every household is different. Is there an infant or young child in your home? Does someone in your family have a medical condition that requires medication? Do you have a pet? Before disaster strikes, talk to your family about your household’s unique needs. Make a list of special items you may need in a disaster.
Working with the power of user generated content to improve humanitarian disaster relief, Micromappers organizes digital volunteers around the world to easily and quickly process social media-based information during crises.
As access to mobile technology continues to advance around the world, with a humanitarian disaster comes instant images and updates across the internet.
There are critical moments at which mass amounts of data appear on social media, posted moment by moment as the aftermaths unfold.
This potentially means a wealth of information for humanitarian response… as long as the information can be understood by responders.
Logging, identifying, and translating this type of data has been shown to be a effective but complicated and confusing tool. Processing of the information could happen with volunteers from around the world – useful, as long as it is well organized.
Micromappers is a newly released set of apps, a project to provide the public with an extremely simple way to access and process this information. Its goal is, through this data processing, to identify the areas most effected by crises, and to help quickly and effectively to humanitarian relief teams.
Patrick Meier, the idea man behind the app, says that big data is key here:
“There were 20 million tweets during Hurricane Sandy, how are we going to go through that without sophisticated machine learning an advanced computing technologies?”
The idea is to democratize digital humanitarian efforts; to allow people to join in and help – in real time. As the website says…
The app is developed around microtasking, where the concept is to break a large and complex task down into a seires of much smaller and easier tasks.
The Micromappers webiste gives an example:
The United Nations recently asked digital humanitarian volunteers to carry out a Twitter-based rapid damage assessment following the devastating typhoon that hit the Philippines. So volunteers used a Microtasking App to tag individual tweets if said tweets had a link that pointed to an image or video documenting typhoon damage.
Micromappers will have three main app components (with potentially more to come in future):
- translation of tweets into multiple languages
- access, linking to images and videos on-location
- location, allowing volunteers to geolocate where exactly the event is happening and to assess the level of damage in an image
If there are enough geotagged pictures within well-defined affected ares, this has the potnetial to move into an app like Photosynth for rapid damage assessment. This techonlogy would stitch together user-generated image content to create three dimensional generated images.
Meier notes it may be possible to address some of these issues through advanced and automated computing platforms – and it seems this could eventually work in tandem with volunteers to be as effective and fast as possible. He says the project will allow “the social network [to be] bearing witness to certain events… and collective documentation of events that are unfolding.”
Once the website is fully up and running (launched the date of publication of this article – the 15 May 2013 in conjunction with Meier’s TedX Talk), volunteers will be able to sign up to be notified when a disaster is occurring that they can join in on. There will also be a set of training data to practice the technology, based around the Philippines typhoon diasater of this past year.
Micromappers is a partnership between United Nations, QCRI, andCrowdCrafting. You can learn more about other efforts in digital humanitarian response at Meier’s organization Crisis Mappers.
Note: All images are reproduced with permission from Micromappers and irevolution.net.