1. Big Storm Brewing

    brian on 2005.08.28
    at 11:11 pm

    Should I get excited about a category five Hurricane with its sites on the mainland? Well, I certainly fell sorry for those who will face destruction, but I get excited even when weather catastrophes are baring down on me directly.

    Usually, I get to enjoy blizzards, but we’ve had our share of hurricanes in New England, as well. I think the worst was a Cat. Four, Bob, I believe. That was back when I was Connecticut native. And I vaguely remember Gloria, when I was knee-high to a grasshopper.

    Well, I am happy to see the Weather Channel has gone to all-Hurricane coverage, since I’m such a geek who likes to see reporters get soaked and blown around.

    I’m looking for some good webcams to checkout, since the main landfall should be both on a city and during the middle of the day.

    The downfall of my plan is the certain power loss when the storm gets good. I was thinking, if a municipality had solar powered WiFi antennae on their street lights, they could form an ad-hoc network through out a city, allowing city state and federal authorities to broadcast lots of information with their constituents and receive equally useful info.

    I realize this is a bit of a pipe dream, but imagine what could happen if this network were in place. Let’s just talk about the emergency usage. First off, officials would have a very fast connection to emergency bunkers that wasn’t dependent on wires that can be blown down. Wireless mesh networks that can patch themselves (like the internet itself) if intermediary nodes go down, would allow excellent connections for emergency personal. Real time images and maps.

    For citizenry, you could receive evacuation routes and much more specific and up-to-date info that you could listening to a radio broadcast. You could get the whole story regardless of when you tuned in. Of course, you’d have to have energy efficient portable and good wireless reception. iBook, anyone?

    It would very impressive if you could co-op private WiFi routers as nodes for the emergency, but of course, this brings up the power issue again. Perhaps a car battery plus a 12v-120v power converter… but now we’re in serious geek/hacker category. But with a volunteer geek corp, you could get some really useful webcams, uploads of still and video images. Useful for neighbors to know what’s going on, micro-casting of local news, really; and useful to emergency personnel who would have so many more eyes and ears.

    MIT has a rooftop network experiment for community networking that could serve as a model for the networking. Add WiFi routing / access points powered the way those highway call boxes are, with the little solar panels. With the close nature of housing in the northern suburbs of Boston, reception would be easy. It would be great.

    Who’s in?

    Tangentially related: NOAA Podcasts

    Posted in: Recent Events · Weather


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