Posts Tagged ‘disaster response’

Distributed earthquake monitoring using laptop accelerometers

Thursday, May 6th, 2010

laptopNPRquakecatcher

This is a kind of brilliant idea, since current trends of laptops manufactured with accelerometer sensors. And this would be a large peer-to-peer earthquake warning system. Sounds like SETI@home, but for collecting data instead of processing it. From NPR.org:

Newer models of laptops manufactured by companies like Apple and Lenovo contain accelerometers — motion sensors meant to detect whether the computer has been dropped. If the computer falls, the hard drive will automatically switch off to protect the user’s data.

“As soon as I knew there were these low-cost sensors inside these accelerometers, I thought it would be perfect to use them to network together and actually record earthquakes,” says geoscientist Elizabeth Cochran of the University of California, Riverside.

So a few years ago, Cochran got in touch with Jesse Lawrence, a colleague at Stanford. They whipped up a program called the Quake-Catcher Network. It’s a free download that runs silently in the background, collecting data from the computer’s accelerometer and waiting to detect an earthquake.

Laptop accelerometers aren’t as sensitive as professional-grade seismometers, so they can only pick up tremors of about magnitude 4.0 and above. But when a laptop does sense a tremor, it’ll ping the researchers’ server. “And when our server receives a bunch of those, we then say, ‘This is a likely earthquake,’ ” Lawrence says.

No accelerometer sensor but still want to participate? That won’t be any problem since you can purchase a USB sensor for use on your desktop computers. A lot of these, reportedly, are being installed in public schools.

Courtesy: Make

BGAN links with unmanned aircraft for disaster response

Wednesday, November 19th, 2008

A major disaster recovery exercise in Scandinavia relied on Inmarsat BGAN to send vital images to help emergency responders worldwide.

The Triplex 2008 event on the border of Sweden and Norway used an unmanned aircraft to survey the “disaster zone”.

Images captured were sent via a BGAN terminal once the MD4-1000 mini unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), weighing just 900 grams, had landed.

Enhance readiness
The annual Triplex 2008 exercise in Scandinavia, supported by the United Nations’ International Humanitarian Partnership, aimed to enhance the readiness of emergency responders for a real event.

The UAV was provided by Scandicraft, while low resolution images were sent using the Asign satellite-optimised IP-based solution from Inmarsat application provider AnSur..

Vizada, a leading satellite communications provider and an Inmarsat distribution partner, provided the airtime, enabling the critically-important images to be sent quickly via Inmarsat to a UN server in Geneva, Switzerland.

Preparation key
Scandicraft’s head of business development, Einar Stuve, said: “The combination of our UAV and the BGAN proved highly effective, enabling the first pictures to be uploaded within 10 minutes.

“The images were published on a map covering the entire disaster area, which was available via the internet for first responders anywhere in the world to view – even before hazardous materials teams had suited up to enter the site.”

The centre of the exercise was in Charlottenberg, Sweden, 70 kilometres (43 miles) from the Norwegian capital, Oslo.

links:www.scandicraft.com

links: www.vizada.com