Design for disaster preparedness: A self-sustained communication network in earthquake scenarios
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Design solution I am proposing here consists of an application interface for the disaster victims and an underlying communication network solution that can self-sustain by building a mesh network between the mobile devices that are in the disaster area. This new network comes into play when the existing internet or GSM network fails. Aim of this project is to strengthen the communication between the citizens themselves as well as between the citizens and the governments civil defense organizations. I was inspired to work on this topic as my home country, Turkey, is prone to earthquakes and has suffered multiple disasters in the past. Personally, I have great motivation to introduce design solutions in the area of natural disasters because I believe there is great potential to improve, and every step is important in the way to create a prepared society, social systems and governments. Project begins with the research question on how to sustain the communication network in the case of a natural disaster. Initial research consists of reading through literature, news sources, and internet sources of government organizations. This is to understand the risks, nature of an earthquake scenario, and how different systems in a city interacts with each other. Initial research is combined with Gigamapping method to create a gigamap of the earthquake scenario. Consisting of before, during the disaster and the situation after. Research part has multiple additional categories as well; reading on existing technologies to understand how some communication systems work and going through social media websites of a selected time frame. The research was followed by interviews. I used the initial gigamap as a reference during the interviews to make it easy for the attendants to visualize and propose solutions. Those solutions and then used to generate first concepts and follow up interviews were used to get feedback on the concepts. The final design solution was shaped after the feedback sessions. Materials used in this project was mainly limited to digital, this is due to nature of the project as well as the global pandemic that was taking place while this project were in progress. Interviews were held through video and audio calls, also screen-sharing and digital white-board were used. I think this project has an advantage of timing, digitalization is very on demand currently and I believe the design solution explored here has the potential to attract attention of the right organizations.