[LINK] itNews: 'Emergency system given geo-location boost'
tom.worthington at tomw.net.au
Tue Jan 17 08:20:00 EST 2012
On 16/01/12 08:32, Roger Clarke wrote:
> ... [An emergency warning system has to be designed to communicate with
> people who are in the physical area that's subject to the threat. ...
There is usually not a well defined area for an emergency, so it is not
that important to confine the warning to a precise boundary.
> [The article below suggests that the current system calls mobile
> phone numbers based on "their registered residential address with the
The current Australian "Emergency Alert" system is based on the
addresses registered for the phone subscriber:
> [Every mobile phone cell 'knows' what devices are in-range ...
There is a facility called "Cell Broadcast" built into the mobile phone
protocols for sending a SMS type text message to every phone in a cell.
But this is not well supported by the handset makers.
> [That over-reports ('cries wolf') in the case of threats ...
There are some tricky problems with the way people respond to warnings.
As an example, if you make them sound too precise, then people wait
until the last second before acting.
> [Am I missing something?]
In 2009 the Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials
Australia (APCOA) invited me to talk about warning systems at their 2009
Conference in Sydney. I was asked to be controversial, so I explained
why the Australian phone based system was limited and suggested a Cell
I got more than I bargained for, as the conference was held during
Victorian bush-fires. The conference opened with a minute's silence for
fallen comrades killed in the fires. Some Victorian government personnel
took it as a personal insult that I was saying their emergency warning
system was not properly designed. I was later contacted by the royal
commission into the bush-fires about my presentation.
There are many papers on the topic and well as on-line debate on this
Tom Worthington FACS CP, TomW Communications Pty Ltd. t: 0419496150
PO Box 13, Belconnen ACT 2617, Australia http://www.tomw.net.au
Liability limited by a scheme approved under Professional Standards
Adjunct Senior Lecturer, Research School of Computer Science,
Australian National University http://cs.anu.edu.au/courses/COMP7310/
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