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How Deploy Solutions can help bridge the communications gap in times of climate change crisis

Our Changing Climate

The world we live in is changing, with global warming reshaping climate and causing more frequent, more extreme impacts and natural disasters. Climate change is the driving environmental challenge of our time and Deploy Solutions —as a company providing space-enabled software applications— decided to explore how its technology and approach to software development can help citizens.

Among the various phenomena studied by the United Nations International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), floods are set to become more frequent and more severe in a warming climate. These catastrophic events can cause widespread damage, disruption, and loss of life — even in well-prepared communities. Recent flooding in Canada’s Ottawa-Gatineau area, for example, threatened over 5,000 homes in 2019. Events like this are only going to become more common yet adapting to them requires communication and coordination channels that remain critically underdeveloped.

Challenge

Out of all the myriad challenges of mitigating climate change impacts, we believe that one of the most critical problems is the communication gap between authorities and ordinary citizens. When disaster strikes, citizens don’t know what they need to do to avoid, mitigate, or adapt to impacts, while authorities don’t know where and how citizens are reacting.

Resolving this communication gap between citizens and authorities during times of crisis may not prevent climate change, but it certainly helps to address the impacts, mitigate damage and get people to a place of safety as quickly as possible.

Drawing on findings from a massive, multi-year climate change research and developments project, and with assistance from hundreds of citizens, academics, NGOs, students and government officials, we identified the top perceived climate change-related communication problems:

Preparedness: Citizens don’t know the actions they need to take to prepare their homes and communities for the impacts of climate change.

Misinformation: In an era where fake news, misinformation, and disinformation abound, connecting citizens to accurate, actionable information is a challenge.

Emotional Overload: The threat and uncertainty of climate change cannot be overstated, and this constant worry can overwhelm citizens, causing despondence and apathy.

Communicating with Citizens: Even when expert insight and advice is available, it can be challenge for governmental or scientific authorities to reliably inform citizens in an emergency — particularly as media and communication channels have become so segmented.

Coordination with Authorities: In the uncertainty and confusion of emergencies it can be difficult for authorities to know what actions citizens are taking to prepare for, evacuate, or recover from a disaster.

Deploy Solutions set out to address these challenges and show how a “space app” can combine satellite imagery, AI, web portals, geospatial data analysis, reporting tools, cloud-hosted infrastructure, and other features to provide a working software solution to address these problems.

Climate Change Impact Planner

The prototype Space App Deploy developed is the Climate Change Impact Planner, a user-friendly web application that gives citizens personalized help preparing for and recovering from climate change impacts. The app allows trusted authorities to assist citizens and monitor their progress, bridging the communication gap in times of crisis.

Built in part using our unique software factory technology and approach, our prototype solution demonstrates one of the ways that space data and the latest development techniques can produce specific and practical solutions to real-world problems.

The prototype app is practical, citizen-focused, and cloud-hosted, providing a trusted communication channel between authorities and citizens. Ordinary people affected by flooding can use the app to obtain updates, practical guidance, checklists, and connections to other citizens facing the same crisis. Authorities, meanwhile, have a way to easily publish relevant, accurate information to citizens and view key reports such as evacuation progress informed by satellite data and machine learning algorithms.

Deploy Solutions is continuing to solicit feedback from citizens and experts alike, improving the prototype concept and preparing a working design in time for the COP26 environmental conference in Glasgow, Scotland later this year.

Meet Deploy Solutions at GeoIgnite

Want to learn more about Deploy Solutions’ efforts to build software solutions for climate change? On Earth Day, Deploy Solutions Founder & CEO Nicholas Kellett will be presenting “Building Software Solutions for Climate Change: Closing the communication gap between citizens and trusted authorities before, during, or after a disaster”.

On April 28th at 10:00 EDT/1 pm GMT we will be hosting a two-hour deep dive webinar exploring the Climate Change Impact Planner in greater depth – “Using Software to Prepare for Climate Change Impacts and Natural Disaster: Deep Dive on our Research Findings and Software Prototype”.

This talk will cover Deploy Solutions’ citizen-focused climate change research findings. We will demonstrate our progress on the prototype space app. In particular, this deep dive webinar will discuss:

  • Key research findings and insights, including our analysis of the top communication problems during climate emergencies.
  • The prototype and mock-up demonstrations.
  • The vital roles of citizens, NGOs, government and private sector partners, students, and academia in researching this app.
  • Practical insights and lessons learned running an international multi-year climate change research project remotely (and during a pandemic).

This session is open to all, with no technical knowledge required. Join us to be inspired by the practical ways in which software can help citizens and society weather natural disasters and climate change impacts!

Registration to GeoIgnite is possible at the following link: http://geoignite.ca/. Full details of the Deploy webinar and all other GeoIgnite events will be provided upon registration.

About Deploy Solutions

Deploy Solutions connects Earth observation data with the needs of organizations and businesses by providing innovative Space Apps – software applications which use data from space.

We are a bootstrapping Canadian company developing a unique approach to building these apps. Drawing on over two decades of global, award-winning development experience, we can generate quality applications quickly and cost-effectively, while substantially increasing the likelihood of our customers achieving their business goals.

Each year we help sponsor and help organize Space Apps Ottawa, a local version of the NASA International Space Apps Hackathon. We have been running an ongoing international research and development project, focused on helping citizens prepare for climate change impacts, since early 2019.

Email us at spaceapps@deploy.solutions to see how we can meet your business needs.

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