I am extremely happy to inform that we (Avani Lodhaya and me) have won the programming challenge organized by an NGO – Wise Earth Technologies. Its only due to Amma’s grace and the guidance of Bithin Alangot that we were able to complete the challenge (of course! winning requires a special bragging rights) within time even though we have started working on it just 2 weeks before the deadline. We will receive a cash prize of 1000 Euros for our contribution which I will be handing over to Bithin for his living expenses as he is moving to USA (we worked on the project only for humanitarian purpose and boosting our resume). We have developed Crisis Communicator, an open source disaster management communication information system. The system consists of mobile communication stations, running on cheap open source hardware (Raspberry Pi connected to a 5 inch TFT display), supported by a web application that uses the Django web framework. In order to guarantee the peaceful use of this application, while ensuring that the military can use it for rescue operations during disasters, the system is released under the Peaceful Open Source License. The expected cost of the device will come around $50 – $100 per communication station, enabling its large scale deployment in disaster hit areas. The Crisis Communicator allows the rescue volunteers to connect to other volunteers using APRS (which has no ground infrastructure unlike other communication means like GPRS, 3G, CDMA etc) to obtain live updates about refugees, refugee camps, resource availability, condition of the roads, missing and deceased persons. All the features of the crisis communicator are embedded with the offline OpenStreetMap enabling its use on smart phones or PCs and the response team can add situational awareness and updates by simply tapping on the phone or simple mouse clicks. The application is capable of detecting the positions of the other volunteers using Global Positioning System. A complete user manual of the application can be found here. Here’s the link to the announcement of the winner in the organization’s website.
Below is a screenshot of the application
Below are the news articles published in local news papers (Indian Express and Kerala Kaumadi):