Opportunities from Hurricane Katrina

The title of this entry will likely get some people up in arms.I assure those people that I do not mean to draw attention from thetragedy, or to diminish it in any way. Nor do I think this blogentry will stop a single rescuer from going about theirbusiness.

However, what has happened has happened, and many of us havepledged our monetary donations and are really left twiddling ourthumbs at what else we can do.

As software developers and technology experts, I think there isplenty we can do. For instance, there were obviously technologicalgaps in information management (knowing who and what was wherewhen, and sharing that information with everyone. The lack of thissort of knowledge led to some of the chaos that horribly delayedthe response). After the disaster technology was necessary forcommunications, with many of the emergency personelle and victimshaving no means of communicating. There were gaps in batterystorage, with basic infrastructure dying quickly. There were gapsafter the pieces began to be cleaned up, coordinatingcommunications amongst the victims in various municipalities.

Technology can’t stop a category 5 hurricane (yet), but it canhelp ameliorate the damage and to help society get back on track asquickly as possible.

Given this, invariably this tragedy will be followed by billionsof taxpayer dollars going into various strategies to preventoccurrences like this from happening again, or to at least have abetter grasp on responding to it. Many of those dollars will begoing towards IT projects. Something to keep your mind open to ifyou have ideas for solutions that would avoid this sort ofnightmare scenario from happening again.

Something to think about.