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Jakarta Post

Yogya to develop phone-based disaster system

  • Bambang Muryanto

    The Jakarta Post

Yogyakarta   /   Sat, October 26, 2013   /  09:18 am

Yogyakarta will soon be the first city in the world to implement an advanced smart phone-based community disaster information system, a Japanese scholar has said.

Stefano Toshiya Tsukamoto of the Osaka University, Japan, told The Jakarta Post in Yogyakarta earlier this week that the system would ease humanitarian operations for people in disaster affected areas.

This system, he said, would be possible because the affected people could promptly send messages from their smart phones to the central server that later would map the situation and location of the disaster area as well as the damages.

'€œHumanitarian aid will be delivered to the affected area as soon as possible after we receive information from the people in the affected area,'€ Tsukamoto said.

He said the system had been developed in cooperation with Gadjah Mada University in Yogyakarta, Osaka University in Japan and PT Gamatechno Indonesia with the support of the Yogyakarta Provincial Disaster Mitigation Agency (BPBD) and the Yogyakarta branch of the Indonesian Red Cross (PMI).

The system, he added, had been developed since October 2013 and was still being developed up to now. The system is scheduled for a trial run in January 2014.

'€œThe system will later be developed in other regions in Indonesia as well as in Japan,'€ Tsukamoto said.

He said Yogyakarta was chosen as the first place to implement the system because of its close proximity to Mount Merapi, one of the world'€™s most active volcanoes, and also due to the devastating earthquakes it experienced in 2006.

The system will also be developed in other regions in Indonesia because the country is considered to be prone to natural disasters as it is located in the region known as the Ring of Fire.

'€œThis system is applicable for various natural disasters like earthquakes, eruptions, tsunamis and swine flu,'€ he said.

The only weakness of the system, he added, was that it required the people in the disaster-prone areas to have smart phones. Yet, he expressed optimism because more and more Indonesians used high-tech gadgets these days.

Separately, PT Gamatechno Indonesia'€™s research manager Novan Hartadi said that if the system would be implemented successfully, people in the disaster-prone areas must download the application that would enable the users to send messages to the central server when disasters occur.

'€œWe are developing the application for Android and BlackBerry 10 operating systems [OSs]. The version can also be developed for intelligent operating systems [iOS] and Windows phones,'€ Novan said.

The transfer of the data in the application, according to Novan, will use both GSM and CDMA data network. To trace the position of the users, the application uses the GPS features already utilized in smart phones.

One of the plus points of the system, Novan said, included the fact that the smart phone users could send images of the situation they are dealing to the central server. This capability added to the validity of the information about the affected areas, he added.

The system, according to Novan, can be used for disaster mitigation purposes as well because the central server has the capability of sending information to the affected people about the best way for them to deal with a disaster.

Manager of the BPBD Yogyakarta'€™s operation control center, Danang Samsu Rizal, said that the system would also be implemented at the Yogyakarta BPBD office.

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