I’ve been writing about Indonesia’s tsunami buoys for a while. This was when I was trying to dissuade people in Sri Lanka of the need for our own tsunami detection system. We are not located in an earthquake zone and thus only vulnerable to teletsunamis that come from the Sunda Trench. Indonesia and Thailand need to sensors because of their proximity to the Trench. But little did I know that the Indonesian system suffered from the project syndrome: money for installation but nothing for maintenance.
The idea of using information supplied by people for early warning is extremely attractive. So much so that one politically-correct person wanted us to rename our project from “last mile” to “first mile.” We didn’t because in our model it was the last mile, the end of the warning chain, and we have little tolerance for people who think the world will change simply because we rename it. But that does not stop us from thinking about the possibilities of detecting hazards through crowdsourcing. Seems quite appropriate for “unnatural” hazards of criminality as described in this report: “Avoid Plaza Las Américas,” several people wrote, giving the location.