Monday, 18 January 2010

Use of technology in disaster zones

The recent events in Haiti have led me to thinking about the way we can use the internet to help in such events.

People can help by providing aid and support online. This is useful, needed and something which has been happening for a while now.

People have access to large amounts of news now and can get information in near real time. This is important in getting people the information they need to know in order to make a difference.

Social networking is one area I've been thinking about. It has exploded over recent years and it has left me thinking of ways this technology could be used to aid people on the ground.

I could only really think of the following:
  • Twitter to update maps showing aid locations
  • Maps for damage zones analysis
  • Missing persons list
The problem here is verifying the information is correct. It is easy for people to take advantage and post news stories of aid being available when it really isn't. Also, in an area devastated by natural disaster the usual communication channels have been removed for the people who need it most.

Maybe not such a good idea after all then!

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