The socioeconomic belief is that a CAP message relay is one way of effectively managing disasters, and that is what is envisioned in the Last-Mile Hazard Warning System (LM-HWS) Pilot Project. I will be talking about the current Workpackage of the LM-HWS project, which is developing the Hazard Information Hub (HIH). The general objective of the LM-HWS project is to evaluate the suitability of a selected set of ICT that can communicate CAP messages and alert the village first-responders. The Sarvodaya HIH was specifically built with the intension of providing structured risk information such as CAP messages to the local communities.
The objective of the project is to find optimal ICTs for issuing the last mile warnings in Sri Lanka, which can be extended to other developing countries. It is a community-based last-mile warning system, being tried out in a selection of Sarvodaya’s villages (http://www.sarvodaya.org) in Sri Lanka.
Different technologies will be tested in 32 of Sarvodaya’s Tsunami-affected villages; some are ‘organised,’ some are ‘less organised’ and some have received training, and some have not.
Five kinds of ICTs have been selected in this experiment:
1. Dialog Early Warning Network Remote Alarm Device Dialog Telekom & University of Moratuwa, SL)
2. Sinhala/Tamil SMS with alarm for Java compatible phones (Dialog Telekom & MicroImage)
3. Internet Emergency Public Alerting System (IPAS) with pop-up message (Solana Networks)
4.Disaster Warning Recovery and Response Addressable Satellite Radio (WorldSpace Global Data Solutions)
5. Fixed phone
All of these devices will function if they’re in standby mode when an alert is received. But, sirens will be set off in the case of 1, 2, 3 and 4. Conventional warning relies on TV and radio, which will if switched off, will be of no use.
Sarvodaya has a hazard informaiton hub, where hazard information is collected, and relayed out to the villages.
Common Alerting Protocol, cutting edge software, is being used in the project. By using CAP, large amounts of information can be relayed, in a standardised manner, which can be relayed to the village level.
A key issue is how to make it (CAP) effective , how to make it readble, in Sinhala and Tamil. Have a language tanslator on SAHANA. it makes use of standardised phrases that replace the english text. Once edited, the message has to be relayed. The CAP message can be translated into voice (developing this feature). A configurator informs ‘teleporters’ (e.g Dialog Telekom) which areas to alert.
Info is received from various agents (eg govt). an alert is received, then it is authenticated (with paper trail). CAP message is generated in software at the same time. But only after approval is recieved from Sarvodaya, the message is relayed to the relavant villages. Phone logs can be incorporated for reduncancy.
And now a live demonstration of IPAS by Solana…..
With some intro from Nabil Seddigh, Rupinder Singh, Dr. Gordon Gow and Biswajit Nandy (in Ottawa, via Skype): Solana has carried out field trials for public alerting using Television, the Internet and Telephone Dialers.
Users subscribe to receive certain alerts, they can choose the geographical area for alerts, the alert type (public security, health, etc), and the severity of the alert.
IPAS (internet emergency public alerting system) consists of alert servers (responsible for sending out alerts), public alert client software (resides on computer of end users), public official web portal (to issue alerts) and system admin tools.
This system was trialed three times – first in July 2004, then in November 2004 and finally in February 2005. The key objectives of the trials were to assess technology, to get feedback from public officials, and to get feedback from end users on the usability of the system. Seven Canadian municipalities participated, and included a diverse group of users (students, municipal staff, general public, officials, etc).