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 BoingBoing.net (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.