Hurricane Katrina Technology

I just finished reading Zeitoun so I have Katrina on my mind.

According to this piece from MIT’s Technology Review, here are some tactics used in our city to respond to Hurricane Katrina:

Many people utilized Craigslist’s “Lost and Found” section to find missing persons. People even utilized the Personals sections such as “Missed Connections” and “Women Seeking Men.”
Websites such as (anyone heard of this?) were used to advertize goods and services such as old cell phones, cash, and expertise to use for disaster relief
Officials were able to relay messages to a broader audience by contacting national news stations to ask for assistance
Freedom4Wireless, a wireless company from Florida, was able to set up wireless networks that provided rescue workers with voice-over-Internet protocol (VoIP)-based phone networks and police radio capabilities. The equipment was solar- and battery-powered and thereby did not need electrical infrastructure to work
Motorola offered Motobridge, which is an Internet-based system that distributes control on a network so that if one node fails, the entire system won’t fail as well
Mesh networking technology was also used, which was a Wi-Fi cloud over the downtown business district and the French Quarter, with the bandwidth segmented for public safety and public Wi-Fi. It’s cheap, reusable, and doesn’t involve permanent infrastructure. In the aftermath of a similar disaster, the tsunami that struck Southeast Asia in 2004, Intel quickly set up Wi-Max, which increases the range of broadband from 150 feet up to 30 miles.


One response to “Hurricane Katrina Technology

  • ashleynfox

    You would think they could have created some new ICT tools to help victims of Katrina instead of having to use Craig’s list & BoingBoing (never heard of it)! I wonder if anyone tried to set up a website specifically for people searching for family or pets and advertising goods & services? The Esri technology I just blogged about could have been useful in tracking emergency responses and emergency calls!

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