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Can you help cities prepare for a natural disaster? Enter the Esri Global Disaster Resilience App Challenge

Think you have an idea for an app, using Esri technology, that can help cities be better prepared for natural disasters? Enter it into the Esri Global Disaster Resilience App Challenge for a chance to make a difference and win a cash prize.

Esri is collaborating with the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) by giving 1,800 participating cities access to its desktop and developer technology. As well, Esri has issued a call to the developer community to take part in a Global Disaster Resilience App Challenge. The challenge is to design an app around one or more of the essential areas listed below. The app should be useful for everyday citizens or specific communities or designed to help influence policy and planning decisions.

Esri will present one $10,000 award for the best professional/scientific app and one $10,000 award for the best consumer/public-facing app.

Apps will be evaluated on these criteria:

  • Originality of the idea
  • Technical challenge of the implementation
  • User experience/user interface
  • Potential for real-world application
  • Articulation of what the application does

The United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) implemented the Making Cities Resilient Campaign in an effort to improve land use and urban planning worldwide. As local governments are faced with the threat of disasters, they need better access to policies and tools to effectively deal with urban risk. Urban risk reduction provides opportunities for capital investments through infrastructure upgrades and improvements, building retrofits for energy efficiency and safety, urban renovation and renewal, cleaner energies and slum upgrading.

A ten-point checklist was developed for local governments as building blocks for disaster risk reduction:

  • Essential 1: Put in place organization and coordination to understand and reduce disaster risk, based on participation of citizen groups and civil society. Build local alliances. Ensure that all departments understand their role to disaster risk reduction and preparedness.
  • Essential 2: Assign a budget for disaster risk reduction and provide incentives for homeowners, low-income families, communities, businesses and public sector to invest in reducing the risks they face.
  • Essential 3: Maintain up-to-date data on hazards and vulnerabilities, prepare risk assessments and use these as the basis for urban development plans and decisions. Ensure that this information and the plans for your city's resilience are readily available to the public and fully discussed with them.
  • Essential 4: Invest in and maintain critical infrastructure that reduces risk, such as flood drainage, adjusted where needed to cope with climate change.
  • Essential 5: Assess the safety of all schools and health facilities and upgrade these as necessary.
  • Essential 6: Apply and enforce realistic, risk compliant building regulations and land use planning principles. Identify safe land for low-income citizens and develop upgrading of informal settlements, wherever feasible.
  • Essential 7: Ensure education programmes and training on disaster risk reduction are in place in schools and local communities.
  • Essential 8: Protect ecosystems and natural buffers to mitigate floods, storm surges and other hazards to which your city may be vulnerable. Adapt to climate change by building on good risk reduction practices.
  • Essential 9: Install early warning systems and emergency management capacities in your city and hold regular public preparedness drills.
  • Essential 10: After any disaster, ensure that the needs of the survivors are placed at the centre of reconstruction with support for them and their community organizations to design and help implement responses, including rebuilding homes and livelihoods.

Hurry! The submission deadline is August 27, 2014.

Please visit Esri Global Disaster Resilience Challenge for more information and to register.

See the full official Rules and Guidelines for further information.