A very big problem that arises when a large natural or man-made disaster occurs is the sudden lack of communication. A person's health during a disastrous event such as an earthquake, tsunami, hurricane, or war, can be greatly improved by how well they are connected to their surroundings. Solid lines of communication can warn people of an imminent crisis, advise them of the best course of action, inform them of where they can recieve medical help, and update them on important happenings.

Based on a challenge by the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response in the US Department of Health and Human Services, we set off to use social networks in providing lines of communication during disasters. In this seminar, we would be working in small groups to build a mobile application (iPhone or Android) that could help solve problems in communication during when a crises occured. Our idea was to build a "TwitterNews" App that would serve as a fast, organic news feed that enforces criteria for credibility to combat misinformation. Below you can find a mock-up and a proposal presentation of our app.

We are still hard at work in developing our app and hope to release a beta version very soon. This is my first experience in application development, with my prior coding experience only being in web development. Being a part of this project, I am learning a great deal about mobile application development and have been trying to bring in my skills in user interface from web development to create a unique perspective. Once completed our app will provide users with an organic and legitimate feed of crucial information in times of crises from real people.

App Proposal Presentation

At the beginning of the semester, my partner and I gave a presentation about the application we are interested in developing to Dr. Said and the rest of the class. In this presentation, we discuss how social media has been used in past disasters and how we would like our application to fit into new disasters. We were able to get feedback from the professor and the class about our idea and this helped us in moving forward.
View Presentation

"The Internet is becoming the town square for the global village of tomorrow."
- Bill Gates