Professional photographer and educator Michael Shiffler traveled to Japan to help with the relief efforts along coastal areas hit hardest by the tsunami, roughly 150 miles north of Tokyo. Michael has been using MotionX-GPS to mark places badly in need of assistance and supplies. He sends the GPS coordinates to relief distribution centers, who then deliver supplies via helicopter or van to the marked location quickly and efficiently. Such streamlined delivery of aid would not be possible without the help of volunteers on the ground using handheld GPS tagging tools such as the iPhone with MotionX-GPS.
A few excerpts from Michael’s recent blog posts (http://www.michaelthemaven.com/):
03.22.11 I have an incredible opportunity to do GPS tagging for the Meysen school for distributions. Meysen has partnered with Samaritans Purse in Sendai and there are now 90+ tons of aid waiting to be delivered. I went out on a trial run with the Meysen team to assess and GPS tag four locations. I think they are realizing how powerful this is in speeding things up for delivery.
03.25.11 Toby [a fellow volunteer] sent me a few possible GPS locations of distribution points in the area. The first place was an elderly home for about 250 people. When we showed them some of the sample supplies, the director started crying, saying it was exactly what he was looking for and couldn’t find. Japanese people do not cry very often, so we knew he was grateful. I was able to tag the location and email a copy of it in real time.
03.26.11 Baba Nakayama, Japan. To our surprise, people were living in their destroyed homes, trying to clean up their yards. We asked to speak with the area leader, named Abe (pronouced Abay) and he invited us inside his home, where 100 people are sleeping each night (you are reading this correctly). I sent in the GPS report to Nathan and then we headed back to camp to get cleaned up and have lunch….. Nathan immediately loaded up his van and trailer with food, water, tarps, hygiene kits, gasoline and other supplies and we took it straight out to Baba Nakayama for delivery. They were very happy to get them, and we are working on getting them the rest of their supplies later this week.
03.27.11 Meysen is bringing up some tents and heavy equipment — a lot of great things are happening. Abe broke down to tears and expressed deep gratitude saying “90% of what we have received has come from you.” All from one little GPS tag. It’s so humbling to be a part of it. bv.
MotionX-GPS – Tagging relief drop zones with MGRS coordinate grid