Imagine Cup 2011: Students Create Software to Improve Disaster Relief Efforts and Save Lives

At the Imagine Cup 2011 Worldwide Finals, dozens of student teams showcase software projects that in some cases are already improving disaster relief efforts.From left: Wannapon Suraworachet, Jirapat Yaovatsakul, Kriangkrai Pipatvilaikul, and Tanon Sirawan.When floodwaters swept across northern Thailand last fall, Kriangkrai Pipatvilaikul knew he had to help. He tapped three classmates to create Terra, […]

At the Imagine Cup 2011 Worldwide Finals, dozens of student teams showcase software projects that in some cases are already improving disaster relief efforts.


From left: Wannapon Suraworachet, Jirapat Yaovatsakul, Kriangkrai Pipatvilaikul, and Tanon Sirawan.

When floodwaters swept across northern Thailand last fall, Kriangkrai Pipatvilaikul knew he had to help. He tapped three classmates to create Terra, a smartphone application that allows disaster victims to instantly broadcast their location through social networks such as Facebook. It aims to help rescue workers and volunteers get to where relief is needed most - and hopefully prevent scenes like Pipatvilaikul witnessed in that submerged, neglected village.

The project dubbed "Terra" allows disaster victims to broadcast their exact location through social networks in the event of a disaster to alert rescue workers, friends and family."

This week Pipatvilaikul and his classmates will present Terra at the Imagine Cup 2011 Worldwide Finals in New York City, which kick off July 8.

Anonther project called "Geographical Information Assistant (GINA)" enable responders to use their personal digital assistants (PDAs) to do things like overlay emergency locations on multiple maps, pull global positioning system coordinates for the places they needed to go, and use touch technology to make notations on their maps.

The software has also been used in Brazil after recent flooding, and it remains popular in Haiti, where the European Union uses GINA to power its ECHO Project, which monitors the spread of cholera."

Finally, Bosnia and Herzegovina's Team SPU's "FloodSim" can better prepare governments and policymakers to respond to disasters. The software predicts how water will move across a landscape in the event of a flood, tsunami or dam collapse. It also offers an alert service, where users can get notified of potential emergencies on their cell phones."

[Source: Microsoft Press]