January 5, 2005

How to Build a Global Internet Tsunami Warning System in a Month

Connecting the data: Robert Cringely @ KCET's Pulpit looks at the real possibilities.


Here's the problem with big multi-government warning systems. First, we have a disaster. Then, we have a conference on the disaster, then plans are proposed, money is appropriated, and three to five years later, a test system is ready. It isn't the final system, of course, but it still involves vast sensor arrays both above and below the surface of the ocean, satellite communication, and a big honking computer down in the bowels of the Department of Commerce or maybe at NASA. That's just the detection part. The warning part involves multilateral discussions with a dozen nations, a treaty, more satellite communication, several computer networks, several television and radio networks, and possibly a system of emergency transmitters...[snip]....

You don't need an international consortium to build such a local tsunami warning system. You don't even need broadband. The data is available, processing power is abundant and cheap. With local effort, there is no reason why every populated beach on earth can't have a practical tsunami warning system up and running a month from now. That's Internet time for you, but in this case, its application can protect friends everywhere from senseless and easily avoidable death.

As we lean from Lawrence of Arabia, "We are here. Akaba is there. It is only a matter of going."

Pointer via WorldChanging

Posted by Vanderleun at January 5, 2005 2:18 AM
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"It is impossible to speak in such a way that you cannot be misunderstood." -- Karl Popper N.B.: Comments are moderated and may not appear immediately. Comments that exceed the obscenity or stupidity limits will be either edited or expunged.

Hmmm, just teaching the natives to go up the hill
when the earth shakes or the water recedes
more than usual seems like a start. Perhaps they
could have that outfit that printed the 'How to
Cross the Border' in Mexico run off a few copes
of 'Go Up the Hill' and we could include them in
the food boxes. And if perchance, they can't see
or hear or feel the precursors because they are
asleep, oh well. Better to die in your sleep que
I am not without heart, but shit happens and it
is too bad. If history is any indication, they
will be better off after we have rebuilt their

Posted by: Steel Turman at January 5, 2005 3:59 AM

He's a little slow on the draw. The techgeeks there set up an ad hoc one in about 24 hours using cellphones linked to the web. Its going through testing now.

Posted by: urthshu at January 5, 2005 7:12 AM