MISSING.NET, a global missing person search engine
Each major natural disaster leads to many disappearances. Overwhelmed by the crisis management, rescue teams from all over the world cannot meet the requests of victims’ families. Nicole Guedj had deplored it during the 2004 Tsunami in Eastern South Asia, when she was in charge of French victims’ repatriation. To ease research made in emergency, the Red Helmets Foundation has designed MISSING.NET. This initiative has been selected amongst the laureates of the“Innovative Web” call for proposal set up by the French Ministry of Economy, Finances and Industry and has been developed in partnership with Google, Bearstech and European Consulting Services.
While a disaster is going on, all Internet users can browse on MISSING.NET, and have a look on missing people’s profiles. If a person wants to participate to the research, by creating a missing person profile or by posting a testimony, he/she has to create his/her own account. Once registered, each member of MISSING.NET has an inbox in order to exchange with the entire community. Members can also follow specific missing persons and therefore be notified when new elements are posted on these profiles. Some moderation tools are also available for member use to report doublets or abuses.
Experimentation of MISSING.NET
Right after the Japanese disaster, while identification and research of missing people were going to spread over many weeks, the Red Helmets Foundation proposed a trial of the alpha version of MISSING.NET.
Thanks to MISSING.NET rescue teams and victims’ families can use the following functionalities:
· Create a missing person profile with information useful to research (picture, civil status, last known home address, physical description and distinguishing features...)
· Research a missing person by different criteria and keywords.
· Access to a missing people facebook.
· To post testimonies, pictures and videos.
· Geographic localization of the victim on maps automatically integrated to missing people profile.
· Incorporate feeds about the missing person.
· Report a person as found in one click.
The Red Helmets Foundation offered MISSING.NET services to Google within the framework of the “Google Crisis Response”. The API of Person Finder system was integrated to MISSING.NET. All Internet users could therefore complete the information already recorded on this plat-form, and thanks to this, the search for missing people was easier.
All around the world, journalists have shown their interest for MISSING.NET, and relayed it on old media as well as on the Web. French and international press, bloggers, TV channels, all of them helped MISSING.NET to be known.
After this first launch, MISSING.NET wants to be a reference tool, to be used when future disasters happen.
Read the presentation file here
Become a moderating influence by a click here
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