Sensors and Risk Communication to Inform Disaster in Advance


Immediately after a disaster, a quick response is required from both the rescuer and the rescued. Before the advanced information technology of today, rescue activities had to rely on experience and skill.


By visualizing risks, such as damage estimates and danger indicators, and making these available online for each individual, it will be possible to minimize damage in the face of disasters through individual information-gathering capabilities (self-help) and local communities (mutual assistance), rather than relying on "public assistance".

Comparing a city to ADAPTMENT BODY, the disaster forecasting and the transmission of information for rapid response corresponds to nerves (PERCEPTIVITY). The necessary information changes with each phase of disaster response, such as during the immediate aftermath of a disaster, during recovery and reconstruction, and during a daily lives where people are preparing for the next disaster. In particular, the availability of information directly affects life and death in the immediate aftermath of a hazard (natural threat as an external force), and it is essential to confirm the possibility of a disaster, the necessity of evacuation, and the evacuation routes and evacuation sites. Therefore, earthquake early warning systems, which announce the arrival of a hazard, and hazard maps, which serve as a risk communication tool connecting local governments and residents during ordinary times, have become widely used. In addition, with the widespread use of smartphones in recent years, numerous applications have been developed that contribute to disaster prevention.


Hazard Maps

Hazard maps are maps that show the hazard expected in a region based on the topography of the region and the conditions of the town (evacuation sites, evacuation routes, etc.), together with information on evacuation sites. In Japan, the 2001 revision of the Flood Prevention Law mandated the creation of flood hazard maps, and today, hazard maps for earthquakes, tsunamis, floods, and other hazards are created for each region. Traditionally, these maps were distributed to residents as paper maps, but with the spread of the Internet, they have been digitized and are now available as interactive applications thanks to the widespread use of smartphones. While it is important to receive and respond to these maps immediately after a disaster strikes, it is even more important to have the necessary information in advance.

Credit: City of Kawasaki

Fabio Crameri, Seismic hazard map, 2021 – Creative Commons License (Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International)


Earthquake Early Warning

In the 1995 Hyogo-ken Nanbu Earthquake (the Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake), more than 90% of casualties were caused by collapsed buildings. Old wooden houses, which account for most of the building damage, collapsed within a few tens of seconds after the onset of shaking. Earthquake Early Warning was developed to reduce damage as much as possible by taking advantage of the time difference between the occurrence of the initial microtremors (P-waves) of an earthquake and the main tremors (S-waves) that cause major shaking. The system analyzes seismic wave data immediately after the occurrence of an earthquake to predict the epicenter location, earthquake scale, arrival time of the main motion, and seismic intensity, and then notifies the public as quickly as possible.


Credit: WeatherNews


NERV Disaster Prevention

NERV Disaster Prevention was developed by Gehirn Corporation as an application to assist residents, visitors, and others in areas where damage is expected to accurately recognize the situation and take prompt decisions and actions. With the advent of smartphones, a new device in the 21st century, we have entered an age in which necessary information is available in various phases of disaster response and can be used according to the needs of each individual.