Simulated Survival

With the amount of talk about nuclear strikes growing, researchers are investing more effort again into determining the best approaches for disaster response. Working with the US Defense Threat Reduction Agency under the Department of Defense, scientists at the Biocomplexity Institute at Virginia Tech have been working to develop a tool with which catastrophes can be simulated, according to Vice. Called the Comprehensive National Incident Management System (CNIMS), the simulation has been structured to consider both traditional data sources, such as census records, as well as newer data sets like records obtained from social media and smartphone records. By incorporating these new data types, it is hoped the simulations will be better able to predict necessary changes in disaster response based on time and condition dependent items like commuter peak, population data, and tourism patterns, and to allow for deeper understanding of how to distribute survival information in the aftermath of a disaster.

A key finding to date from the research and simulation using this data has been the importance of immediately establishing interim communications networks, whether via temporary repair of existing infrastructure, or more unconventional techniques like connecting cellular and data hubs to balloons or drones over the affected area. Through such impromptu networks, survivors within the disaster area could obtain up to date information to help them to either locate others, emergency services, or even proper and safe shelter.