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Ryan Cole

Ryan Cole shows off the earthquake preparedness and response iPhone application he and fellow students created for a Management of Technology MBA course. The application includes first-aid information, a survival-kit list, and important first steps for securing your home after an earthquake.

MBA students create earthquake iPhone app

April 8, 2010

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Apple has just accepted an iPhone application developed by six SFU Management of Technology MBA students. It is now available free online through the Apple iTunes store.

Created by Ryan Cole, Kelvin Chiu, Dylan Marks, Donal De Paor, Terrence Tam and Eliza Yiu, it’s the first and only iPhone application focused on what to do in the event of an earthquake.

"Our team was challenged with creating and developing a product or service that benefits our community through inov8.ca, the SFU social innovation website," says team member Cole.

"The recent catastrophes in Haiti and Chile reminded us that an earthquake could strike anytime, anywhere. In our survey of Richmond residents, 89 per cent of respondents felt they were not adequately prepared for an earthquake."

In addition to their local perspective—they all live in Richmond—the team was equally inspired by a U.S. filmmaker and Haiti earthquake victim who used first-aid apps on his iPhone to treat his injuries until he could be rescued.

QuakeAware consolidates all of the key information people need to be as prepared as possible for an earthquake. It includes a survival-kit checklist, basic first-aid information and important steps for shutting off gas lines and other actions to keep one’s home safe in the event of a quake.

The application’s "My City" section contains location-specific emergency information such as relief centers, emergency routes and contact numbers. To date, the team has collected information for Richmond and is working on information for Vancouver, with plans to add other jurisdictions in the Lower Mainland and beyond.

"The value of the iPhone application," says Cole, "is that all of this information is downloaded and saved on your phone, so even if Internet and phone connections are unavailable, you have it with you wherever you are.

"We plan to continue enhancing this application using the skills we learned through our MBA program."

The team has also created an earthquake preparedness website, www.quakeaware.org.

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