Monday, January 18, 2010

Satellite-Linked PDAs Promise To Speed Haitian Relief Effort

John Dodge / SmartPlanet / January 15 2010

As Haitians dig furiously through the rubble to find survivors and the dead, Global Relief Technologies (GRT) is planning to map and record the destruction on the ground to give relief workers critical realtime information as they race against the clock.

Satellite communications is key / Credit: GRT

The Portsmouth, N.H. company’s Rapid Data Management System will be used to collect data on the ground with PDAs. A variety of media - texts, reports, photos, video and tweets - are transmitted via satellite to an Internet-based and secure Collaboration Center custom-designed for the client and its relief workers. Satellite communications are critical because land lines and cell towers are down in the ravaged areas.

With respect to Haiti, GRT is working with the Marines, National Guard, Red Cross and the USS Comfort floating hospital ship, which is heading to Haiti. Members in those units can securely access the Collaboration Center through any number of computing devices, PDAs and smartphones.


GRT ruggedized PDA (Right) / Credit: Global Relief Technologies

Just about any rescue or reconstruction information can be handled within the RDMS to answer questions such as. is a building intact, partially damaged or destroyed? What’s it location? What does it look like before and after? Perhaps there are people still trapped inside. How many and for how long? What’s known about their injuries? What’s the local availability of resources? What are the detailed conditions of the roads, bridges and other infrastructure?

And emergency alerts can be broadcast to field workers as events dictate.

With the earthquake disaster and heartbreaking search for survivors dominating the news, local media outlets here in Boston with its sizable Haitian community have rushed to cover GRT. [snip]

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