NEW APP TO ASSIST DURING NATURAL DISASTERS

Written on the 10 December 2014 by Jenna Rathbone

NEW APP TO ASSIST DURING NATURAL DISASTERS

A TEAM of researchers at the University of Queensland have launched a new web application which has the potential to help residents get a real time snapshot of damage and disruption during cyclones, floods and bushfires.

In addition, the WikiQueensland big-data fusion system provides open data across a range of areas including safety, healthcare, education, and living standards.

Lead researcher Associate Professor Xue Li (pictured with Premier Campbell Newman) says with more than 1500 data sets available from the Government, open data is a great opportunity to create value for people living in Queensland.

"WikiQueensland is a one-stop information service to provide people with open data," says Li.

"More importantly, it is also a platform for people to share their information and feelings about current issues, such as bus services, floods and storms."

Li says WikiQueensland can have an immediate impact on Queenslanders and can help people in decision making.

"If people want to move into Queensland for living, work, or education, the ranking information about healthcare, education, safety and living standards of all different districts can help them to make decisions," he says.

Developed by Xue Li, Xiaofang Zhou, Sayan Unankard, Shazia Sadiq, Ling Chen and Weicheng Ton, the app has won Queensland Premier Awards for Open Data.

The UQ team won $5000 and the opportunity to work with the new Open Data Institute of Queensland to commercialise their product.

Premier Campbell Newman says open data is about creating awareness about the open access the public has to Queensland Government data and helping people to understand that data can be valuable

He says an application like WikiQueensland could have enormous benefits for all Queenslanders in everyday situations but especially during natural disasters like the "freak storm" that hit Brisbane recently.

"It could help keep Queenslanders safer by allowing them to find out in real time where the major flooding and storm damage is, if there are fallen power lines in their area or where the worst traffic problems are," says Mr Newman.

"It could also help house-hunters gather information to inform their buying choice and find an area that offers all the lifestyle and services they want, or assist health care providers to plan facilities in areas based on demographics."


Author: Jenna Rathbone
About: Jenna Rathbone is a Queensland-based journalist who writes on a range of issues including business and property affairs and social issues.
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