Project: Ptolemy — A Global Community for Disaster Management

Project: Ptolemy
Jan 19, 2018 · 3 min read
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The most important actor in times of disaster or humanitarian crisis is the community itself. In times of need a community first relies on its various institutions such as religious, cultural, and civic community centers. Frequently, these community centers engage in emergency preparedness measures with the aid of government and NGOs before a disaster — likewise, they continue to function in the recovery capacity after a disaster is finally over.

  • Before a disaster: community centers provide education and raise awareness for emergency preparedness. What do I do in case of a disaster? Where do I go? How can I help?
  • During a disaster: these community institutions frequently provide shelter and assist in organizing access to food, water, medicine, and various supplies with the aid of government and NGOs.
  • After a disaster: community centers frequently aid in local recovery efforts. Civic organizations organize clean-up and centers continue providing shelter and provisions for those in need.

For these practical purposes, the community is core to the entire disaster management continuum. But what about disaster analysis and information? Individuals in the community need a constant stream of information to inform their decision-making. Unfortunately, communities in crisis aren’t always best equipped to discover and analyze impacts of a disaster. The power and communications systems outages that frequently accompany a disaster represent significant roadblocks to crucial and time-sensitive response operations — literally a matter of life or death.

At Project: Ptolemy, our goal is Global Community.

Effective disaster management requires participation in your community — not just your local community, but your online social community as well.

So, how does it work?

Before a disaster:

  • Create and maintain a profile page representing your Emergency Management Organization (or just make one for yourself)
  • Make connections to nearby (or worldwide) members
  • Upload geospatial data you wish to share with your connections (or keep it private)
  • Discover data uploaded by other community members that will be useful in the event of a disaster
  • Model scenarios of disasters using highly curated data sources (or your own)
  • Automate plans based on standards pulled from agencies and groups from all over the world with adjustable user input

During a disaster:

  • Access the most up-to-date area of impact geospatial data from authoritative sources
  • Model the disaster to provide a detailed demographic profile of those affected to highlight your community’s most vulnerable members
  • Model structural damage using worldwide data sources and your own data
  • Project supply needs and distribution with a customizable needs assessment model
  • Share the results of the models as you choose

After a disaster:

  • Track your recovery from field assessments of structural damage updated right in the app
  • Publish your model and progress reports publicly (if you choose)
  • Highlight your organization’s efforts in response and recovery
  • Save models as templates for future preparedness

Project: Ptolemy is a team of like-minded, geospatially-oriented developers and scientists with years of experience in emergency management. Our goal is to foster an online global community that can support your local community when it needs it the most.

Stay safe.

Stay updated on our progress!

Twitter: @projectptolemy

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