I was just reading a very interesting article on a new product that Google is working on. I have been a Google fan for a long time, the innovation that Google brings is amazing.
One of the issues that we have with evacuation management in a disaster is that often the Internet and mobile phone connectivity is impacted during the disaster. In a real disaster when the Internet and mobile phone connectivity is down no data is available inside the disaster zone.
Our visitor management system was in many buildings during the Christchurch earthquake in 2011. As soon as the mobile phone and Internet connectivity went down all communications on the ground went down also. All of the data in the visitor management system could be accessed from anywhere in the world with an Internet connection but on the ground all connectivity was lost. During these types of disasters Internet and mobile phone communication typically goes down.
Google have recently spoken again about Project Titan. This project is to put drones into the sky that are solar powered and ready to provide Internet on a massive scale. Google has another project called Project Loon, this project is about deploying a fleet of balloons that can stain the sky for up to 100 days and deliver Internet capabilities to the ground below. Project Loon could provide a fast deployment Internet structure to any area in the world in the event of a disaster.
From abc.net.au – in 2012 The Chief executive of the Red Cross Australia Robert Tickner, says technology has become vital.
ROBERT TICKNER: Access to technology and the information that comes with it can be absolutely as important as food and water to affected communities. You know, and it’s quite amazing if you think about it, you know, the United States is one of the richest countries in the world but when that flooding happened in New York that people would remember on their TV screens, whole communities were completely dislocated, and indeed some of the major relief efforts for those communities was only possible through the use of the internet, which people were ultimately able to access.
So in countries which are part of the developing world the problem is particularly acute. And many communities are effectively sitting ducks in the onset of a disaster if they don’t have access to technology.
I first read about Project Loon in New Zealand in 2013 and Brazil in 2014 where Test balloons are being put to use.
The idea of being able to create a temporary Internet landscape in the middle of a disaster will open communication at the time when it is needed most.