Tsunami iPhone App from Yuta Takahashi
Art & Design
Armed with potent memories of the catastrophic earthquake that hit Japan in 2011, designer Yuta Takahashi has created a smart phone Tsunami App that would warn about the dangers of an impending tsunami in the aftermath of an earthquake. Leveraging GPS technology, and using data from the Japanese Meteorological Agency (JMA), the app uses simple graphics and colors to convey warnings in a timely enough fashion to facilitate evacuations. GPS location tracking helps in predicting the height of the nearest tsunami waves, inducing the app to send warnings commensurate with the five-tier number system employed by the JMA. Early evacuation is key to tsunami survival rates, starkly illustrated by the staggering number of drowning fatalities attributed to the 2011 Tohuko earthquake.
“According to results of a tsunami study by Wearhernews, two minutes is the mean average for determining life and death at the start of evacuation,” says Tsunami App designer Yuta Takahashi. A dearth of information also proved culpable, leaving many of those who failed to evacuate in time waiting for instructions, armed only with a false sense of security. “I thought the place I was would be safe,” was a refrain echoed by one in five survivors. Takahashi’s app aims to save as many lives as possible in the context of a natural disaster in which mere minutes stands between escape and almost sure death. “For the announcement of tsunami danger during an emergency, it is important that evacuation be called for at the earliest moment,” explains Takahashi, in proposing a tool that will do just that.
Befitting a tool of life and death importance, the visuals and interface of the Tsunami App are appropriately devoid of bells and whistles, relying on clean graphics, stark typography and vivid colors—electric yellow, blood red, royal purple—to do the work. Leaving nothing to interpretation, each advisory and warning is delivered in a brief statement, conveying only the most salient facts—including the size of the all important first wave.