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Disaster Response Haiti Recovery Test

The Google-NASA Disaster Response (DR) project has provided several Android G1 cell phones for use by the United States Southern Command (SOUTHCOM). These phones are equipped with GeoCam Mobile software for taking photos that are automatically tagged with position, heading, and user comments. Geo-referenced photos help responders and decision makers rapidly understand the physical impact of disasters so that search and rescue, and damage assessment and response, can be more effective.

The DR project has also provided its “I’m OK!” software to the World Bank for use in recovery operations. “I’m OK!” is an application for Android, BlackBerry, and iPhone cell phones that lets individuals notify others during disasters while minimizing the load on cell phone networks. “I’m OK!” uses the Short Message Service (SMS) to send text messages to a pre-set contact list, such as family and co-workers. The original version of “I’m OK!” won First Prize at the “Random Hacks of Kindness” Open Source event in November 2009.

BACKGROUND: Each year, thousands of people die, millions of lives are disrupted, and billions of dollars are spent coping with earthquakes, fires, hurricanes, and other natural disasters. But better geospatial information, rapidly delivered, can significantly reduce the impact of an extreme event, as well as help prepare for future events.

One of the biggest problems after a disaster strikes is getting accurate, up-to-date information. This can be a challenge when there is significant damage to infrastructure due to earthquakes, flooding, fires, etc. Cell phones can be used to very rapidly collect and disseminate photos, geospatial information, and other data that helps speed up and improve response and recovery.

PROGRAM FUNDING: Google-NASA Disaster Response Project

Contact: Terry Fong


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