Several founders and members of the SEA EAT (South East Asian Earthquake And Tsunami) blog (tsunamihelp.blogspot.com) & wiki (tsunamihelp.info), which gained worldwide attention at the time of the earthquake and tsunami on 26th December, 2005, have remobilised to aid in the relief efforts after the South Asian Quake of 8th October and launched QuakeHelp.
For the past 72 hours we have been trying to establish
Taran Rampersand’s ARC (Alert Retrieval Cache) model that was used in the tsunami crisis for setting up a real-time communications network into affected areas of Pakistan and Inda. Taran and a couple of volunteers from MobileActive.org are still trying to locate an Asterisk server whereby we can set up sms lines for people on the ground to send text messages to the system which are then posted to a wiki/blog interface as well as a mailing list to which USAR teams,
NGOs and other stakeholders in relief operations are subscribed to.
Last month, about 50 hours into Katrina we had a skype-powered call center with in/out lines and sms capabilities. Unfortunately, when we tried to follow the same skype mock-up 18 hours after the quake in S.Asia, a member of Skype Journal informed us that skype didn’t have any metro lines in the region and that wouldn’t be possible. Therefore we had to switch over to the tsunami ARC model whereby a local line is
needed either in India or Pakistan - preferably both and is capable of receiving sms and posting to a mailing list (sms2email).
We have coders (Dan Lane & Taran and a whole group of geeks) all set to implement in under a couple of hours a working system whereby user on ground will send an sms to local Indian/Pak number which will forward message to a mailing list and relayed to a section on our wiki set up to post in emergency relief format and blog, When someone wants to contact person on ground, we will be dedicating our Katrinahelp skypeOut line to sending sms back to person on ground.
Basically - the system is all automated and works like this: sms2web - web2sms We are looking at achieving transparent disaster relief communications with direct contact to victims and those who can assist them in an open source manner. We know for a fact that USAR and other rescue crews are using sorts of heat detection techniques and equipment to locate trapped people, imagine this: trapped victim sends sms to
pak/indian line, sms forwarded to asterisk server - goes to mailing list/wiki/blog sections and communicated to USAR team in location, USAR team can communicate directly to victims and locate them easily via web2sms
…the possibilities are endless.
We are desperate to get this communications infrastructure set up - very simple, we have the know-how and people standing by to come plug it up… we even have 2 linux servers ready for this - Amsterdam & Michigan… what we don’t have is an
asterisk server and the local line.
Any pointers you can give us is most appreciated.
Bala Pitchandi & Angelo Embuldeniya