SIGNALERT is the application of information exchange where users can warn and monitor the impact of natural disasters or actions caused by man, the effects of climate change and the crisis of which we are witnesses or victims.

Source: Android description (translated) / Image: United States Navy (Public Domain)

Useful information

Download: Android 2.3 (3.09MB) / iOS  8.0 (6MB) / web (management platform)

Price: free (there is a paid version for €2/year)

Language: Spanish / English / French

Runs offline: partially

Last update: Android 13/12/2016 (v. 3.2d) – iOS 08/12/2016 (v. 3.5)

Website of the developer: SIGNALERT

Notes: article updated on 05/02/2017

Description

SIGNALERT is a collaborative mapping tool that allows you to warn on environmental crises, riots or other problems that endanger human lives or the integrity of the natural environment.

It has two versions, free and paid, in addition to a web platform designed especially to serve as a support and to display the alerts that agencies, NGOs, etc., can contract (cost depends on the surface of territory to cover and the number of events over which you want to receive alerts).

To use the application, you must first open a user account by assigning an email and a name, data that are not visible to other users, as indicated in the terms of use. However, from the settings option you can make visible your username on Twitter or Facebook, so that other users can identify you through these social networks.

The available options (for this analysis has been used the demo of app’s free version) are the following:

  • “Report an event”, where you point out what kind of alert you want to notify (floods, avalanches, wildfires, riots, etc.), the location of the event, orientation (selected through a compass) and date. Once these basic data have been completed, the application will request you through several consecutive screens that you describe the intensity and impact of the phenomenon, selecting the options that best suit what you’re watching. The following screens allow you to attach images (up to 4. Soon, also videos) and add comments. Before being sent, the application displays a summary of the report. If you want to edit any of the fields, only you have to click on it and you access to the corresponding screen. If you’re using the free app, once you send the report, you will see how it appears on a map that includes alerts with less than 2 days for an area of 20 km radius (warning: sending the report does not imply that emergency services are alerted automatically. Only you are providing information that may be of interest to other users located nearby).
  • “Call an emergency number”, section in which you can consult emergency numbers for ambulances, fire department and police by country.
  • “Choose an alert location”, option only operative for pro users and that includes a button “I’m fine” to reassure the family via SMS (cost of sending not included in the price) and a system of continuous monitoring of sites designated by the user with automatic reception of alerts sent by other users of the app in a neighborhood of 20 km. Additionnally you can subscribe the automatic notifications about changes in the level of flood warning or alerts of waterways identified as of interest by the user (the latter service is only operating in France, but they hope to extend it to other countries).
  • “Advices seek information”, with recommendations about precautions and behaviors you should adopt if you face the events covered by the application, as well as a section of useful links of official agencies (weather forecasts, geophysical hazards, etc.).
  • “Settings options”, tab where you can select the language of the application, modify your data and associate with a network (the latter feature allows you to create a local network of users. It is needed to contact with SIGNALERT to activate it).

More information

http://www.signalert.net/en/

http://www.un-spider.org/news-and-events/news/signalert-crowdmapping-app-disaster-management

WCDRR: SIGNALERT: an app for DRR crowdmapping, Richard Guillande (video. 15 min 52 seg)

Images: Screenshots 06/06/2016. Images of the web interface courtesy of SIGNALERT © SIGNALERT

Rating
4

Analysis

The consequences of extreme natural phenomena or human-induced violent acts pose annually substantial economic and human losses. This is certainly a worrying scenario that possibly will get worse in the future as a result of climate change, as several authors predict, among which it can mention Bill McGuire, professor of geophysical and climate hazards at University College London, who claims that global warming will enhance the effect of volcanoes or earthquakes.

New technologies can be useful since a rapid intervention derived from an early warning can minimize damage. SIGNALERT is within these utilities, allowing users to report the severity and impact of phenomena of which are witnessing. It is a useful tool with interesting options like the button “I’m fine” (paid version), similar to the one that Facebook activates when disasters occur. Also, and as confirmed by the team of SIGNALERT, they have plans to add more events such as episodes of pollution. Perhaps the fact of relying on Internet for its full operation can be a handicap, since telephone and internet communications tend to be affected by such disasters, although also it is one of the infrastructures that more rapid is restored.

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Técnico de medio ambiente, community manager y content curator especializada en temas de medioambiente - Environmental technician, community manager and content curator specialised in environmental issues