Hackers worldwide gather to help fight natural disasters

Monday, 3 December 2012 - 5:37pm IST | Place: Sydney | Agency: ANI
Software developers, designers and health experts gathered in Melbourne to find ways that people can stay safe and have access to current data when disasters strike.

Hackers worldwide have gathered together to use their talents to help people handle natural disasters, according to a report.

At the weekend, software developers, designers and health experts gathered in Melbourne to find ways that people can stay safe and have access to current data when disasters strike.

The effort was part of Random Hacks of Kindness, a global initiative started by Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, NASA and the World Bank in 2009, which involves weekend coding marathons, or hackathons, the Sydney Morning Herald reports.

According to the paper, an eight-person team headed by Julian Smith, a policy officer at the Department of Sustainability and Environment, worked on a way for emergency crews to keep track of one another's locations and share real-time information about a fire.

"We use paper maps and voice communications and they work very well in the field, but we can augment that system. Most people now are carrying smart devices, so can we create something around them?" the paper quoted him, as saying.

Smith, who is a fire crew leader, said the team had investigated ways servers could be housed on fire trucks to ensure they could still communicate wirelessly if 3G networks failed.

According to the paper, other projects at the two-day hackathon included an online dashboard for collating warning information from the Country Fire Authority, VicRoads and Bureau of Meteorology, and websites that help families devise bushfire survival plans.




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