Researchers Deploy Disaster Communications Network At San Diego Mardi Gras Festivities
Researchers from the California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology (Calit2) teamed up with San Diego law enforcement to create a wireless mesh network, stringing together wireless boxes, cameras, laptops, cell phones, and a satellite dish to provide real-time information to first responders during Mardi Gras festivities.
The tests of the network during Mardi Gras proved that it could be used to disseminate video feeds and other information during an emergency or disaster.
“This was the real world converging with research, prototyping, developing, and improving tools,” said Calit2 UCSD director Ramesh Rao, a professor of electrical and computer engineering in the Jacobs School of Engineering.
To simulate disaster conditions, the researchers acted as if the communication network in a 24-block area of downtown San Diego was already down when setting up the network. Each camera installed contained a networking box to link back to the police command center, and police can monitor the video feeds on their cell phones.
The small screen made it difficult to see in great detail, but the camera feeds to the police command posts were of high quality.
Police also tested a wireless system for tracking the locations of fellow officers and equipment. While inclement weather forced the researchers to outfit the equipment with hastily assembled rain gear, the system met their expectations and all the devices functioned satisfactorily.
Abstracted by the National Law Enforcement and Corrections Technology Center(NLECTC) from the UCSD News (03/13/06); Curran, Maureen C.; Ramsey, Doug .