Thursday, January 06, 2005

There are systems that record victims

Well I finally did a bit of searching and there are systems available that record victims. It was ofcourse presumptuous of me to think there might not be. A Japanese group has build a system. Their presentation to ETSI can be found here. It has a great name: I Am Alive. This system seems to be currently in use by the Thai governement and Red Crossat this moment.

The Australian governement has a system which is described here by the Red Cross which is using it. The system is called the National Registration and Inquiry System (NRIS).

I have seen the results of the the I Am Alive-system and it looks like an excellent system. It would be great if they could get some global support to further develop this system. At this moment it seems only Japan is working on this system and a quick search on Google didn't point too many English language pages on the system. I'll see if I can find some information on it.

I imagine every ministery of Interior, or government emergency response organisation should have a copy always ready and available on a webserver. So whenever there is a disaster this system is already running and can be used to register all the countries nationals potentially involved and can then later be used to compare these data with the records of the country affected. Maybe the United Nations Reliefweb website could be used as a basis.

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

System to help out after disaster

Just sent this to Ask Slashdot. Don't know if they are going to pick it up, but you never know. I might work out the idea in a later post.

Like everybody I am following the news on the tsunami and I noticed a couple of things that got me thinking. After a disaster there are generally two major questions that need to be answered. 1. Who survived, got injured, died, is missing? 2. What relief is needed, where and who provides it? My question is, does anybody know of easy to use information systems that support the answer to these questions? It seems there are no good systems around/being used to support helping out with the first question. The second one I hope the UN has something, though I have an idea it could do with some helping out/updating.

At this moment I notice that the missing persons website in Thailand has a girl I know twice on record, once with a typo. It is very slow and doesn't seem linked to the hospitals because her husband who is injured in a hospital is listed on another website. Each countries Ministry of Foreign Affairs seems to keep its own list of missing persons. This is not only a problem with big transnational disasters, but also was a problem with 9/11 or even airplane crashes and smaller scale national disasters.

I think an easy to set up off the shelve system might have great benefits to help solve the first question and help all the relevant authorities and put peace to the minds of parents and friends. If it is build in an open source kind of way with the possibility to run it on a variety of databases/systems and also be easy to adapt to all kinds of national languages. While typing I get all kinds of ideas on how I would want to design it, but that might be something for my Blog.