tents in a refugee camp


Real-time mapping and tracking to improve disaster response efforts

Large-scale disasters caused by civil unrest, disease outbreaks, and other events demand humanitarian relief efforts that entail massive delivery of supplies and services to assist people in need. Refugees and other disaster victims need housing, food, water, medical supplies and treatment, personal hygiene items, mental health services, and much more.

Effective delivery of humanitarian aid hinges on the ability of disaster relief organizations and governments to track their supplies and the people who need them.

Current disaster support and logistics systems are human-resource intensive, expensive, and technologically complex, which creates a significant barrier to wide-scale use. As a result, responders are left to rely on personal ingenuity—and often flawed and incomplete information—to make decisions. This ad hoc approach undermines disaster preparedness, limits crisis policy evaluations, and impedes operational efficiency during initial response and ongoing disaster surveillance.

Enabling Measurement and Management of Humanitarian Operations with a Low-Cost, Low-Burden Solution

Our experts have developed a low-cost, low-burden, and scalable tool—dubbed Beacon Relief™—to help disaster relief organizations and governments manage humanitarian logistics, including

  • Accurate, real-time situational awareness
  • Supply chain management
  • Active monitoring of individuals with health concerns.

BeaconRelief is a self-contained, highly scalable, affordable platform that can be deployed by disaster relief personnel with minimal effort. Our tool improves situational awareness for disaster response by providing maps and real-time tracking of people and supplies in a self-contained, scalable, rugged, and cost-effective platform. The user-friendly interface allows relief workers to quickly and easily adapt BeaconRelief to any environment. With preconfigured sensors, BeaconRelief is easy to deploy in all-hazards environments.

Designed to provide actionable data to stakeholders, our system capitalizes on a burgeoning consumer-wearable device market that has resulted in a variety of affordable, Bluetooth-enabled devices.

BeaconRelief leverages low-cost wireless connectivity solutions—such as mobile 4G hotspots—in conjunction with open-source software and cost-effective computer platforms such as Raspberry Pi to create temporary local area networks through which data can be collected and uploaded to the cloud. A centralized database maintains the positions and movements of the various camp resources in real time.

Enhancing Usability and Effectiveness through Partnerships with Relief Agencies

The BeaconRelief interface offers a user-friendly interface that allows responders to quickly and easily adapt the solution to specific local contexts.

By partnering with relief workers in the field, we can enhance the usability and effectiveness of BeaconRelief based on real data originating from existing deployments. These data will also serve as a guide for potential customers because customers can match their needs with existing use cases.