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Storms like Hurricane Irma and other natural disasters bring with them lots of uncertainty – where will they go, how much damage will they cause. But, what is certain is that no matter where they strike, natural disasters knock out power.
And, no power means no internet for thousands of people in affected areas.
Researchers - Georgia - Institute - Technology - Way
However, researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology are proposing a new way of gathering and sharing information during natural disasters that does not rely on the internet.
Using computing power built into mobile phones, routers, and other hardware to create a network, emergency managers and first responders will be able to share and act on information gathered from people impacted by hurricanes, tornados, floods, and other disasters.
Data - Sensors - People - Phones - Awareness
"Increasingly, data gathered from passive and active sensors that people carry with them, such as their mobile phones, is being used to inform situational awareness in a variety of settings," said Kishore Ramachandran, computer science professor at Georgia Tech.
"In this way, humans are providing beneficial social sensing services. However, current social sensing services depend on internet connectivity since the services are deployed on central cloud platforms."
Paper - Year - International - Workshop - Social
In a paper presented earlier this year at the 2nd International Workshop on Social Sensing, the Georgia Tech research team detailed how it may be possible to access these centralized services using a decentralized network that leverages the growing amount of computing power at the "edge" of the internet.
This ability will give a huge advantage to first responders.
Area - Example - Search - Rescue - Personnel
In a flooded area, for example, search and rescue personnel using a geo-distributed network would be able to continuously ping enabled phones, sensors, and other devices in an area to determine their exact locations. The data is used to create density maps of people in that search region. These maps are then used to prioritize and guide emergency response teams.
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