Understanding VGI for Emergency Management

Day 1 of the Redlands GIS Week, and the topic of the year is Volunteered Geographic Information (VGI), especially as it’s relevant for time-sensitive situations. Like emergencies. For example, Little Timmy has fallen down a well.

  • How can we create maps that include wells where young children might play?
  • Could a group of citizen mappers walk around and use their location-enabled cell phones to “tag” locations where dangerous wells exist?
  • If Timmy were to have the sense of mind to use his cell phone to seek help (if Lassie were not with him), and he decided to Tweet, what should he say to make sure the message went to an EMS source?
  • What if he inadvertently spelled it “helf”? (Remember the Gary Larson cartoon when the rescue plane ignores the guy on the island because his message only spelled “Helf”?)
  • Should Twitter provide a single button on its interface to help people reach 911, so that Timmy wouldn’t have to worry about spelling things correctly?
  • Should Timmy know that the #911 convention is a trusted hashtag to reach for help?
Important and interesting questions.  My favorite thing I learned about today was the Copenhagen Wheel project. Very cool.

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