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The Tohoku Situation
What Happened
• A force 9 earthquake caused relatively
minor damage
• The subsequent tsunami damaged around
500km of coastline and killed over 27,000
people
• Around 100,000 people are living in
shelters, many more are homeless
The Reaction
• Over 100,000 Self Defense Force
personnel were deployed
• Emergency services from around Japan
responded
• Non-governmental agencies started
supplying aid and other support
My Specific Case
• I travelled to Miyagi prefecture to bring
medical and other supplies from my
prefecture
• Our local NGO also needed an on-the-
ground report about the current
situation and requirements
• The focus was on Ishinomaki city,
Onagawa town and Ogatsu town
Ishinomaki
Onagawa
Ogatsu
Challenge
• Travel into an unknown situation
• Record data around key areas of interest
• Provide a way for several NGOs to
access the data as quickly as possible
Requirements
• Record the situation
• Visualize and share records
• Keep it very, very simple
Rationale
• There was extremely limited time but a
lot of data to process
• Most people involved in disaster
management were non-technical and
needed to work across language barriers
• Everything would have to be managed
on-the-ground
Known Infrastructure
• The Internet and landlines were working
across Japan
• Cellphone connections were spotty
across Japan due to overload
• The Internet and cell towers more or
less worked at the edges of the disaster
zone
Solution
• iPhone 3GS for geotagged photos
• Flickr and Google Maps for the mashup
• The result was a URL with a map, photos
and notes everyone could access
Lessons Learned
• Current technology has the required
features
• Their implementation is hard to use in
emergencies
• The biggest problems are configuration
and complex interfaces
Let Me Put It This Way
• Try driving 1,250km over 14 hours, sleep
2 hours and then...
• Get an SUV overloaded with supplies
over gravel roads and collapsed highways
• And manage to take, annotate and upload
geotagged photos with one hand
The Bigger Question
• What role does technology play in
disaster zones?
Today
• We mostly use analogue technology
• Time is wasted
• Uncertainty is high
• Coordination is difficult
Shelter Phone System
Satellite Uplink
Shelter Data
Location Maps
Multi-Agency Meeting
Fool’s Gold
• Complex disaster management systems
• Specialist tools
• Anything else that requires training or
special equipment
Exhibit A
Exhibit B
Exhibit C
Be Realistic
• Technology is useful for data processing
and communication, and this is useful in a
disaster
• However, technology is only useful if it
works on available infrastructure
• And it is only useful if the people on-the-
ground can deploy it
What We Can Do
• Improve automatic recoverability of
systems
• Improve configuration through
automation
• Improve interfaces by dramatically
reducing complexity
In Short
• When it goes down, it comes back
• A world without settings
• No need to wonder what button to
press
Over To Clever People
• Chris,Ted, Fernando and Rafael

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The Tohoku Situation

  • 2. What Happened • A force 9 earthquake caused relatively minor damage • The subsequent tsunami damaged around 500km of coastline and killed over 27,000 people • Around 100,000 people are living in shelters, many more are homeless
  • 3. The Reaction • Over 100,000 Self Defense Force personnel were deployed • Emergency services from around Japan responded • Non-governmental agencies started supplying aid and other support
  • 4. My Specific Case • I travelled to Miyagi prefecture to bring medical and other supplies from my prefecture • Our local NGO also needed an on-the- ground report about the current situation and requirements • The focus was on Ishinomaki city, Onagawa town and Ogatsu town
  • 8. Challenge • Travel into an unknown situation • Record data around key areas of interest • Provide a way for several NGOs to access the data as quickly as possible
  • 9. Requirements • Record the situation • Visualize and share records • Keep it very, very simple
  • 10. Rationale • There was extremely limited time but a lot of data to process • Most people involved in disaster management were non-technical and needed to work across language barriers • Everything would have to be managed on-the-ground
  • 11. Known Infrastructure • The Internet and landlines were working across Japan • Cellphone connections were spotty across Japan due to overload • The Internet and cell towers more or less worked at the edges of the disaster zone
  • 12. Solution • iPhone 3GS for geotagged photos • Flickr and Google Maps for the mashup • The result was a URL with a map, photos and notes everyone could access
  • 13. Lessons Learned • Current technology has the required features • Their implementation is hard to use in emergencies • The biggest problems are configuration and complex interfaces
  • 14. Let Me Put It This Way • Try driving 1,250km over 14 hours, sleep 2 hours and then... • Get an SUV overloaded with supplies over gravel roads and collapsed highways • And manage to take, annotate and upload geotagged photos with one hand
  • 15. The Bigger Question • What role does technology play in disaster zones?
  • 16. Today • We mostly use analogue technology • Time is wasted • Uncertainty is high • Coordination is difficult
  • 22. Fool’s Gold • Complex disaster management systems • Specialist tools • Anything else that requires training or special equipment
  • 26. Be Realistic • Technology is useful for data processing and communication, and this is useful in a disaster • However, technology is only useful if it works on available infrastructure • And it is only useful if the people on-the- ground can deploy it
  • 27. What We Can Do • Improve automatic recoverability of systems • Improve configuration through automation • Improve interfaces by dramatically reducing complexity
  • 28. In Short • When it goes down, it comes back • A world without settings • No need to wonder what button to press
  • 29.
  • 30. Over To Clever People • Chris,Ted, Fernando and Rafael