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People, Planet & Technology #2

Ahoy folks 👋 I am extremely pleased that after the first issue no one has unsubscribed and even some
People, Planet & Technology #2
Von Niklas Jordan • Ausgabe #2 • Im Browser ansehen
Ahoy folks 👋
I am extremely pleased that after the first issue no one has unsubscribed and even some have been subscribed. Since this is still quite new and a bit experimental, I would like to encourage you to send me your feedback. What do you think about the structure of the newsletter? What topics would you like to read?
The main topic of this issue is Technology and Natural Disasters. Under this introduction you will find a small contribution in which I present you a few projects that show how the handling of natural disasters has changed through technology.
You’re not interested in natural disasters at all? No problem, at the bottom I have compiled some general recommendations on the topics people, planet and technology. Skip to 👉 Miscellaneous things.
So have fun with this issue. 🙌

Technology and Natural Disasters
Image Credit: SC National Guard
Image Credit: SC National Guard
There are hundreds of facets to how technology can help us in extreme situations such as natural disasters. From Citizen Science to Artificial Intelligence there are a variety of projects that deal with how we can better predict such extreme events, warn people and support local helpers. I would like to introduce three projects to you:
1. Prevent: Artificial Intelligence
The plan was to write an article of my own, but Wired has written such a good article on the subject that I actually want to give it to you one to one. The article discusses how scientists, private companies and governments can work together to develop systems that can predict floods based on environmental and environmental data, maps and artificial intelligence to warn residents and better. On the other hand, these data also serve to better prepare cities for upcoming extreme weather situations, such as floods, and to support city planners with simulations.
Recently, Allenby developed another tool to help predict, plan, and prepare for future floods: a first-of-its-kind, high-resolution map showing what’s on the ground—buildings, pavement, trees, lawns—across 100,000 square miles from upstate New York to southern Virginia that drain into Chesapeake Bay. The map, generated from aerial imagery with the help of artificial intelligence, shows objects as small as 3 feet square, roughly 1,000 times more precise than the maps that flood planners previously used.
You should read the whole article here: How Artificial Intelligence Could Prevent Natural Disasters
2. Caution: Drones for reconnaissance
Drones can help to find injured and needy people more quickly in disaster areas. This was tested last year by package supplier UPS, the Red Cross and drone manufacturer Cyphy Works in the US states of Texas and Louisiana, where Hurricane Harvey had previously raged.
The drones are connected to a cable on the ground. The cable supplies you with electricity and allows you to stay in the air for days on end. On the drone there is a high-resolution camera with 30x zoom to be able to search the surroundings from a height of approx. 120 meters for people who need help.
Attention is also paid to possible damage to buildings and infrastructure. In this way, the necessary assembly work is to be planned and carried out more quickly. The drones allow the assessment of the damage while flooded areas are still under water.
More about the topic on TechCrunch and UPS.
3. Support: Crisis Mapping
When a natural disaster occurs anywhere in the world, it is important that international relief organizations have a quick overview of the affected area. One example is only a few days old: This year’s Indian monsoon rains are particularly heavy - the government of the southern Indian state of Kerala speaks of the worst flood in 100 years. Hundreds of people are dead. Many persevere in emergency shelters.
In order to be able to help quickly where help is needed, one must know where and how many people are affected and how to get there as quickly and safely as possible. Besides satellite pictures, maps with marked places, paths and hospitals are indispensable. Unfortunately OpenStreetMap or Google Maps have big gaps especially in developing and emerging countries. Even local administrations often have only outdated or inaccurate maps. Therefore there is now the Humanitarian Open StreetMap Team (HOT OSM).
On the HOT website, anyone can start drawing houses, streets, streams or even helicopter tandem possibilities on the satellite images from their home couch. On site in the respective crisis areas, these maps are then printed out and filled with the missing place names or other information by local teams - after all, it may not be possible to see on a satellite image which hut is the infirmary and which the school is. The finished maps are then available to the relief organizations - in some cases within a few days.
In crisis situations, international relief organizations contact the Humanitarian OSM team and request detailed maps of the areas concerned.
More information about the Humanitarian Open StreetMap Team and how you can participate can be found on their website: https://www.hotosm.org/
👉 Miscellaneous things
Here I present you the best articles of the last two weeks.
My favourite: The British newspaper The Guardian has written a great article about how to generate energy from the tides in the sea. The article explains how the principle behind this form of renewable energy works and which concepts are currently on the market or in development. Many photos and visualizations support the complex content. A really exciting insight into a completely new form of energy generation.
Tidal power is the only renewable source derived from the moon. Now an extraordinary array of devices promise to unlock this vital energy potential
🔎 Further findings:
I hope you enjoy this issue. I would like to encourage you to send me your feedback via mail, twitter, mastodon or carrier pigeons 🐦.
We’ll read again in two weeks. 🙌
Take care. -Niklas
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Niklas Jordan

A bi-weekly newsletter on technology, environmental and social issues and their interdependence. #TechForGood

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