Innovative ideas from the rubble of quake-hit Christchurch

The dust has barely settled on Christchurch yet I’m sure an enterprising mobile developer is already putting together an Augmented Reality app to show how the city looked before the devastating earthquake hit the city.

Walk down the rubble-strewn streets and through your mobile camera viewer see them as they were before the tremor hit.

Fast forward five years and the pictures will be reversed. Walk down the rebuilt streets and see them as they were in the aftermath of nature’s destructive power.

In web form, Australia’s has already fashioned an interactive set of pictures showing before-and-after scenes. The interactive bit is the use of a slider to scroll across pair-matched images. Swipe left and you see the building as it was, swipe right and you see the impact of the quake.

The before-and-after idea is not new but the sideswipe implementation is novel and not simply a gimmick, though the BBC’s implementation is more elegant.

Google was quick off the mark as the scale of the disaster unfolded, launching a person finder service for people seeking information about friends and relatives and as a way for people to pass on information.

With phone services disrupted, power lines down and thousands of people trying to call home the templated pages make for an efficient way to spread news.

Typical of the entries was this one giving information about someone who was confirmed as being alive:

“Have just spoken to Ann via someone else’s cellphone, she is doing well and at home but her phone line is down so unable to call in or out.

“Thank you so much to Libby, the angel who went to her home and checked up on her for us! Nick, if you read this, mum wants us to let you know she’s ok :-)”

Google makes the point that it does not review or verify the accuracy of the data but, presumably, has decided the overall benefit outweighs the potential risk of malicious misinformation.


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