Sunday, April 14, 2013

Big Data Analysis of Japanese Earthquake

Big data from disaster zones in Japan during March 11, 2011 earthquake is now being analyzed by Japanese experts. This big data was generated by cell phone calls, twitter and facebook messages, and GPS way-points of cars in congested roads. It is saved in cyberspace. It could have been used by rescuers to help large number of people stranded in collapsed buildings or congested roads. When the east coast of Japan was hit by giant tsunami, the rescue operations were carried out without using big data as reference. Rescuers from Japanese Self-Defense Forces, Fire Fighting Agencies and groups of ordinary civilians relied on visual information and phone calls and text messages, or reports of other survivors. If they also used big data presented in 3 dimensional map presentations, they could have saved more people.
Three Dimensional Representation of Big Data in Disaster Hit Area
People in the cities and towns that were effected by the earthquake immediately used their cell phones or other communication devices to seek helps or contact their loved ones. Cars with GPS tracking systems moving or facing traffic congestion in streets provided valuable information that could have been used by rescue teams minutes before tsunami reached urban areas. NHK World TV just aired a documentary entitled: Disaster Big Data: Saving Lives Through Information. It shows how the three dimensional presentation of big data such as the one shown in this article could be used by rescuers to save more people.
All governments must learn from the Japanese in utilizing big data as a way to develop rescue operation procedures if their countries are hit by natural disasters particularly in urban areas where most city dwellers have got cell phones, iPads, or GPS tracking devices. The potential of saving more lives is high if a good computer software can be developed to visualize the big data in 3 dimensional map presentation like the one in this post. The intense vertical red lines are indicators of high concentration of population stranded in the effected areas and they were the ones that should be prioritized during the rescue operations.
Big data has been used by several multinational companies to analyze market trends and develop products and services that are needed by their customers. The use of big data in mitigating natural disasters would be a great contribution of modern technology and brilliant breakthroughs that can save more lives. by Charles Roring