Peter Anderson

Emergency communications vehicle will help Sri Lanka

January 10, 2008

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By Marianne Meadahl

Sri Lankans will soon be able to take disaster communication resources directly to a disaster, thanks to the work of SFU communication professor Peter Anderson (above).

Anderson is laying the groundwork for an advanced mobile emergency-communications (AMECom) vehicle for Sri Lanka’s disaster management program. The versatile, mobile communications vehicle will be similar to one he and his team designed and produced for emergencies in B.C. Completed in 2005, the B.C. vehicle is equipped with its own satellite dish and advanced communication systems for sending voice and data via satellite, cellular, land lines and wireless Internet. It also includes a number of two-way radio systems and an inter-operability switch for interconnectivity between radios and land-line, cellular or satellite telecommunications systems.

Anderson is currently completing the operational and technical design plans for the Sri Lankan vehicle, in collaboration with the government of Sri Lanka and the U.N. International Telecommunications Union.

Since the Boxing Day tsunami of 2004, Anderson has been to the Indian Ocean region several times and has played an integral advisory role in helping various areas develop and improve their capacity for dealing with deadly disasters.

“This vehicle will be a significant addition to Sri Lanka’s planning efforts that have been underway since the disaster struck,” says Anderson, noting that many of the country’s villages are remote and difficult to serve with adequate telecommunications during emergencies.

Sri Lanka’s telecommunications regulatory commission will build the new vehicle. Anderson is also actively involved in another Sri Lankan community-based project aimed at improving last-mile hazard  information dissemination among villages.

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