When natural catastrophes occur, many people get separated from their loved ones. Since the infrastructure is destroyed it is hard to know if your relatives and friends are safe (and where they are?)

People go to hospitals or aid shelters for medical treatment, food and a safe place to sleep. It is at these aid stations that people seek information about loved ones. Many times it takes days or weeks before mobile telephone service and Internet access is restored -making communication with separated friends and family impossible. Refugee finder is a mobile application that addresses this very challenge.

When a displaced person arrives at an aid station they are registered with Refugee finder by an aid worker using a mobile camera-phone. A photograph and basic biographical information, along with time and place of registration, are stored in the system.

This information is then shared within the network of aid stations and shelters. When cellular and other telecommunication networks are unavailable, the mobile devices used for collection can be brought by an aid worker to a centralized location for manual syncing with the Refugee finder system.

These collected profiles are then displayed in the form of clear and simple video murals at aid stations across the effected region and, when possible, on television broadcasts.

Locating loved ones is among the most pressing challenges that a disaster victim faces. Accounting for family and friends can be a first step in rebuilding towards normalcy.

Refugee finder provides a light and flexible way to facilitate this process.

Elena Gianni
Jesper Svenning
Pedro Nakazato Andrade
CIID 2010

Music: Everloving, Moby

Project developed as part of the Graphical User interface class with Brian Hinch and Matt Cottam (Tellart), Jack Schulze (BERG London), Timo Arnall, Gianluca Bagnoli and Fabio Sergio (Creative Director at Frog Design).

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