Emergency Mapping

Posted by Sam Churchill on

Three different developments in public service mapping emerged today. Microsoft announced a new widget for texting alerts, a state-wide emergency exercises in Oregon utilized ham radio and volunteer organizations to map out situation reports, and swine flu is stimulating the development of new resources and techniques in trend mapping.

Microsoft’s Vine is a hyperlocal, personalized message and alert system that’s debuting today with a beta test in Seattle (demo).

It’s intended to be a dashboard that people can use to keep tabs of their family, friends, activities and major events in their community, explains TechCrunch. Inspiration for Vine came from the confusion during Hurricane Katrina. Microsoft calls it “societal networking” and the service is debuting with data feeds from more than 20,000 media sources and public safety organizations, including NOAA and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

The dashboard (right), appears as a widget on a PC screen and displays a map of the user’s community and the status of their contacts. It also has buttons to send alerts or reports, which can be sent and received on the PC or as text messages on a cellphone.

Vine could be used by families, schools or soccer teams to notify people of schedules and changes. Individuals could use it as a central hub to keep track of local news and data feeds and updates from services such as Facebook.

But Microsoft’s main emphasis now is providing Vine to emergency management officials, who are intrigued by a new tool that could be used to broadcast and receive information during a disaster or other major event.

Dave Houghton, director of emergency management for Portland’s Multnomah County (below) explains the goals of an exercise this week called Cascadia Peril.

The scenario for Cascadia Peril ‘09, is a major earthquake and a coastal tsunami. The three-day exercise test the region’s readiness for a magnitude 9 quake off the Oregon coast that scientists say is coming. The exercise ran from April 24th to April 27, 2009. It’s the first time that a volunteer mapping team posted critical data using online maps in a U.S. exercise.

Gregg Swanson, director of Humaninet explains that humanitarian organizations are increasingly aware of the promise of geospatial information systems, and are utilizing tools like Google Earth.

Humaninet’s Maps 2.0 tool enables humanitarian organizations to post, access, share, modify, and use critical, geo-referenced information in emergency relief operations, post-emergency reconstruction, and continuing development projects.

In other news, a lot of resources have surfaced to track the spread of swine flu. Tuesday night, Facebook released some interesting data on the conversations taking place around the swine flu outbreak.

Facebook has posted a photo album containing images that detail the growth of the discussion as well as the geographical distribution of people talking about swine flu.

Google just launched a new search feature that makes it easy to find and compare public data.

Google’s acquisition of Trendalyzer two years ago, makes lots of data instantly available for intuitive, visual exploration. Meanwhile, Wolfram Research debuted their forthcoming online “computational knowledge engine“, a similar tool, notes C/Net.

IntuApps has a Swine Flu Tracker for the iPhone that is waiting for approval from Apple before it’s released into the App Store.

Related Dailywireless stories include; Cascadia Peril ‘09, Swine Flu Gets Social, Tracking Soldiers, Mapping Relief, Wildfire, NETGuard Mobilizes, Emergency Communications Applications, HumaniNet: Free Emergency Communications Event, Emergency Communications SimDay, MIT’s CarTel, CNN’s News Bureau in a Bus, Amateur Radio to the Rescue in Oregon, Volcano Sensor Net, Alaskan Volcano Monitored, California Wildfires Networked, Fish Net, Wireless River Monitoring, Remote Ocean Viewer, Hurricane/Tsuanmi Satellite Access, Ring of Fire Earthquake, Chicago Networks 3000 Cameras, Mountain Rescue UAVs, E911 & Triangulation, HDTV from Aircraft, Ham Radio, Lousiana: Broadband Trial By Fire, Volcano Monitoring, Wireless Recon Airplanes, Mt St Helens Erupts, On Mt. Saint Helens, Earthquake Monitoring, The Platform, Tsunami Monitoring Act Passed, Visualizing the Future, Earth Day, Earthquake Rescue Tech, USGS Aero Wireless, and Global Tsunami Warning System Announced.

Posted by Sam Churchill on Tuesday, April 28th, 2009 at 10:11 am .

Leave a Reply