Indian Ocean tsunami (2004)
Natural disasters can occur at any time, and often without any warning. As technology moves forward, humanity has created new ways to share and display information. We've put together a small list of major disasters in recent history, and how emerging technologies have played a role in the days that followed.
When 2004's Indian Ocean earthquake led to a massive tsunami that struck most of Indonesia and Sri Lanka, one of the first places people could find photos and videos of the disaster was the Web. YouTube was inundated with short clips showing waves slamming over beaches and into the swimming pools at five star resorts. Likewise, photos snapped by phones and digital cameras were being uploaded to Webshots, Flickr, and other online photo hosts.
As for relief efforts, more than 50 contributors put together The South-East Asia Earthquake and Tsunami Blog, which aggregated news and set up a tracker for missing persons reports and humanitarian efforts. The site saw a huge surge in traffic shortly after the disaster, and became a go-to place for survivors to share their stories and information.
Another thing to come out of this disaster was new technology for warning people of incoming tsunamis ahead of time. Three undersea sensors called Deep-ocean Assessment and Reporting of Tsunamis, will fire off information to satellites and warning centers that can send out SMS alerts in case it picks up on signs of an incoming tsunami.
February 18, 2009 10:00 AM PST
Photo by: Webshots users: mfkwanhk (top two) tonyp963 (bottom)
| Caption by: Josh Lowensohn
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