How We Can Stop Earthquakes From Killing People Before They Even Hit

Justin Worland in Time Magazine: “…Out of that realization came a plan to reshape disaster management using big data. Just a few months later, Wani worked with two fellow Stanford students to create a platform to predict the toll of natural disasters. The concept is simple but also revolutionary. The One Concern software pulls geological and structural data from a variety of public and private sources and uses machine learning to predict the impact of an earthquake down to individual city blocks and buildings. Real-time information input during an earthquake improves how the system responds. And earthquakes represent just the start for the company, which plans to launch a similar program for floods and eventually other natural disasters….

Previous software might identify a general area where responders could expect damage, but it would appear as a “big red blob” that wasn’t helpful when deciding exactly where to send resources, Dayton says. The technology also integrates information from many sources and makes it easy to parse in an emergency situation when every moment matters. The instant damage evaluations mean fast and actionable information, so first responders can prioritize search and rescue in areas most likely to be worst-hit, rather than responding to 911 calls in the order they are received.

One Concern is not the only company that sees an opportunity to use data to rethink disaster response. The mapping company Esri has built rapid-response software that shows expected damage from disasters like earthquakes, wildfires and hurricanes. And the U.S. government has invested in programs to use data to shape disaster response at agencies like the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)….(More)”.