Public EWS

After observing the late tsunami disaster and events around it, I think only a Public EWS (Early Warning System) will be able to protect us significantly from such thing in the future.

The problem was not because of lack of EWS – there were reports on newspapers that warning has been sent to bureaucrats around the world : Thailand, India, and probably to Indonesia as well.
However, the warning got lost in the bureaucracy – and the tsunami managed to hit the people before they even know what it was.

Therefore, there should be a similar system, but available for public. So in case of another disaster, the bureaucrats won’t cause so much death again anymore – we’ll know straight away, and can take the appropriate action ourselves.

It’s a disgrace really that we have to do this, since we already elected and paid the bureaucrats to serve us. But if we value our lives, looks like we need to take matters into our own hands.

So here’s a list of things to do :

  • Raw data is already available from [ LISS ]. To my knowledge, we can use this freely, especially since this is not a commercial venture.
  • Need to convert raw data to earthquake co ordinate
  • Need to develop a reliable algorithm to find out if the quake will cause tsunami – does the epicenter is on land or sea ? Is it strong enough to cause tsunami ? etc
  • Notifications : SMS, email, pager, efax – make this done as much as possible by the machine, to speed up the process.
  • Security : notifications should only be send after the analysis verified by an on-watch geologist. The geologist will then press the red button – and only then the notifications will be send to all over the world.
  • Need someone to manage the contacts : we don’t want everyone to subscribe because false alarm may then cause chaos. But we also want as many people subscribed as possible – not just the politicians/bureaucrats (which may prioritise a political interest over a warning). Universities and NGOs are good contact points.
  • Need to develop the system to be resilient : make it easy to run multiple servers providing this service, with automatic fail-over when the master suddenly become unavailable.

Those are the requirements that I can think of so far.

Yes, indeed we’ll need to consult a geology expert to create this system, especially to develop the algorithms. I think this would make an excellend PhD thesis *hint* *hint*

What I can offer : I have a dedicated server on USA which can be used to develop and host this service. I may also be able to join in the development soon if it uses PHP/Ruby.

If anyone’s interested, let’s get in touch and co ordinate our efforts.

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