Australian evacuation app takes prize in UN global App Challenge



         Redlands, California—The United Nations Office of Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) and Esri today announced a new winner in the UN Global Disaster Resilience App Challenge. The competition challenged developers to create apps that support the UNISDR Making Cities Resilient: My City is Getting Ready. Guardian Evacuations—an app written by Leon Storey and Gareck Packer that gets people to their closest evacuation center during a storm—was awarded first place in the consumer/public facing category.

In the event of a disaster, the Guardian Evacuations app not only shows the user where to find the closest location evacuation center, but allows them to see traffic information, weather, and potential flood and fire risk areas in real time. The app calculates the distance, shows facility details, and even has a tool to pre-register for the center prior to arriving.

Major flooding events during the previous five years have forced thousands of people to relocate from homes to more secure shelters. Queensland has recently formalized their evacuation shelter strategies in key locations, and the Guardian Evacuation app will assist with public awareness of these strategies and improve the visibility of people in need of assistance.

During the United Nations Climate Change Conference, Esri president Jack Dangermond acknowledged the good work of all participants. Esri offered contestants ArcGIS developer software and awarded cash prizes to two winners. The VISTULA app that was initially announced as the winner for the consumer/public-facing category is a great application that supports the 10 Essential of the Making Cities Resilient Campaign. However, it did not meet all eligibility requirements of the contest.

The Nature Conservancy took first in the Professional/Scientific category with the Coastal Defense app. Anyone can use the app to see where shorelines are at risk for erosion caused by waves. In all, 22 projects were submitted to the Esri Global Disaster Resilience App Challenge 2014.

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