Wednesday, 3 February 2010

Haiti – From The Heavens Above (and through the ether)


The tragedy still unfolds in Haiti. In my previous post I stated that it would take up to ten years to repair and rebuild the island. Newspapers, the internet and news services were saturated with constant news of rescue, survival and death in the days and weeks after the first quake.

Click here to download Google Earth What we didn’t hear about was how Google Earth quietly slipped in some high resolution images a scant 24 to 48 hours after the initial damage. The first announcement indicated that an image overlay of the Port-au-Prince harbour area was available and later in the week a high resolution image was made permanently available of the damaged area. There was rumour that it was a fly-over image instead of a satellite acquisition image. Resolution is extremely good – down to a few meters.

If you’re interested to learn more about Google Earth join the Google Earth Community here. There’s a slew of information on the Haiti crisis in the current events section including layers showing the epicentre, current airports, medical rescue locations, the Israeli field hospital location, well you get the idea. A particularly good layer map is a Damage Assessment of Major Buildings / Infrastructure – UNOSAT – from January 16, 2010 available in the current event section of the Google Earth Community. Once you log into the Google Earth community you’ll be able to find information on how to use Google Earth and especially the layers and add-ons mentioned here. If you’re really stuck post a query in the comments and I’ll do my best to respond. Responders and logistical groups have been using the services of Google Earth’s high resolution images to assess and inventory damage and show areas where people are congregating and sleeping out in the open and in tent cities, collections of people living under tarps and canopies.

K5EHX, Tom White, has created a repeater layer for Google Earth. It happens to cover Haiti and once you get Tom’s layer installed and working you will be able to see two repeaters on Haiti, both near Port-au-Prince. Tom’s repeater layer can be downloaded from here. Have a look at your respective areas in Google Earth to see your local repeaters too. Both Haitian repeaters were sponsored and financed by DERA - The Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Response Association. DERA set up the repeaters in 2004 to meet that Caribbean country's present and future disaster communication needs. There’s no information about repair or reactivation of these repeaters. The layer map shows general coverage for the repeaters and their frequencies.

And to close this blog entry - an airborne AM radio station broadcasting to the Haitian nation. I found this buried on CNN.
cockpitAn U.S. Air Force C-130 flies over Haiti dangling a 264 foot long antenna from its belly – the longwire is kept vertical by a 500lb lead weight. It’s transmitting to the Haitian people. Four other antenna on the wings and fuselage are sending FM signals.

Read the story here on CNNTech.


DERA Relief Team Gives a Leg up to Haiti Ham Radio Disaster Communication

Haiti Rewired's Mission Statement

Google Earth 5.0: Historical Imagery

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