Mobile Computing and Disaster Management

English: Deepwater Horizon oil spill at Chande...

Deepwater Horizon oil spill at Chandeleur Islands LA (Wikipedia)

Disasters, whether they originate naturally or are caused by human activities, have considerable impact on the communities they affect. Structures such as homes, government buildings and hospitals may be damaged or destroyed, and businesses needed for daily activity – such as financial institutions, gas stations, utility plants, transit services, schools and supermarkets – are similarly disrupted.

Some disasters, such as oil spills or nuclear plant accidents, also have environmental impact. In this case, governing authorities must also be concerned with how environmental hazards will affect the ground, the air, plants, water, aquatic life and animal life.

The damage from these disasters can run into billions of dollars. For example, 2012’s Hurricane Sandy caused $65 billion in damage to the states it affected. The Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico resulted in a total of $42 billion in damage.

In order to minimize the damage caused by a natural disaster, federal agencies as well as state, local and tribal communities need to have highly developed disaster preparation and recovery plans. Often, disasters occur with a minimal amount of warning and there may be little time for local citizens to evacuate their homes.

The first priority in disaster situations is human life – people need to be found, treated for injuries and sheltered. Supplies and first responders are transported into affected areas and hazards need to be pinpointed and marked.

In the aftermath of disasters, quick and accurate data is vital for helping authorities to make decisions that ensure the safety of citizens and disaster relief teams and to help communities return to normal functions as quickly as possible. A mobile data collection system such as COMMANDmobile® is particularly useful for disaster management, due to its speed and accuracy. Other relevant features include:

  • Portability – COMMANDmobile utilizes customized software on smartphones and tablet computers, easy to transport to remote locations.
  • Adaptability – The COMMANDmobile system uses native applications for iPhones, iPads and Androids, and offers web-based support for other mobile computing platforms.
  • Ease of use – COMMANDmobile includes tutorials and frequently asked questions so that field workers can understand how the system functions and use it quickly.
  • Versatility – COMMANDmobile may be used to create surveys, interviews, reports or other forms of data collection, which can then be saved and securely transmitted via an Internet connection to a centralized disaster management/operations center. COMMANDmobile also supports the incorporation of photos, bar codes, calculated field and geocoding.

To request a demo of COMMANDmobile, visit our website for additional details.

Related links
How Scalable Web 2.0 is Changing The World of Disaster Management
Tablets’ Mobility, Connectivity Lead to Adoption by Emergency Managers

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About DeAnna Davidson

DeAnna Davidson is a proven technologist and business leader who is passionate about the power of mobile computing to revolutionize a business or industry, and dedicated to helping organizations use mobile, wireless, and web technologies to their advantage.

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