Monday, August 6, 2007

Digital age spawns a new first−responder

From today's open source report:

August 04, Boston Globe — Digital age spawns a new first−responder. When a bridge over the Mississippi River collapsed in Minneapolis on Wednesday, August 1, bystanders raced to the scene to offer assistance, and to document the tragedy for the world. Citizens with digital cameras had posted hundreds of images of the wreckage to Internet photo−sharing sites within 11 hours of the tragedy. Such photos aren't just personal documents; at a news conference, investigators at the National Transportation Safety Board asked to hear from people who had their cameras trained on the bridge at the moment it fell. Several people have responded so far, and the agency hopes their photos will yield clues to the collapse. It's the most recent example of a transformation in the way we think about disasters. The term "first−responder" officially means the police, fire, and rescue workers who come to the aid of victims. But the digital age has given rise to a new kind of first−responder −− ordinary citizens with cell phones, computers, and Internet access. These people leap into action without being asked. They shoot snapshots and video of ongoing disasters. And they set up instant social networks that provide vital information to the public, the news media, and even the government. Source: l_age_spawns_a_new_first_responder/

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