Emergency management and law enforcement
Satellite navigation is already widely used to locate life rafts lost at sea or to keep tabs on explorers heading for isolated and little-known parts. A mobile phone equipped with standard navigation satellite receiver, however, could soon become an everyday item for the elderly or disabled. The knowledge that their precise location will be relayed automatically with a SOS phone message will increase their confidence to get out and about.
Crisis and emergency situations require a joint, coordinated effort by several teams, sometimes in particularly severe environments. In major disasters like earthquakes, floods, landslides and forest fires, the transport and communications infrastructures are probably unavailable, while roads, power lines and water distribution may be damaged or even destroyed. The basic infrastructure itself often has to be restored before aid can be brought to the victims.
Successful relief operations rely on the co-ordination of real-time information on topography, hazard maps, and alternative sources of power, water and any other urgent need. This co-ordination would be provided by a relief organisation control centre, based on pre-disaster information, integrated with updates coming from position data and satellite images.
Last update: 6 June 2007