C.O.B.R.A’s first app, download it after a crisis

I wonder if a massive natural disaster happened in the UK, which apps C.O.B.R.A would take to for organisation? Would it break out the Myspace or Facebooks? Or maybe twitter is it’s best port of call?

Well, after the dust has settled from a natural disaster and human life has been lost and saved, a nation is presented with issues which I’d personally not considered before and wanted to take a moment to share with you. Issues with heritage, devolution, committees and accountability.

Alessandro Califano is a senior Curator and Cultural Consultant from sunny Italy who presented at MuseumNext 2013. He talked to us through how the International Committee of Museums (ICOM) attempted to respond in 06/04/2009 when Abruzzo was devastated by an earthquake. They were called in when the nation’s National Heritage was under threat. He showed us pictures of old Italian clock towers crumbled in half, a wonderfully painted dome building fallen through and a greek statue with its limbs shaken off.


Within two days of the event, his ICOM team were able to contact all their members and set up a Cultural Heritage High Risks Commission. After a few weeks there was an emergency restoration centre at the Museum of Celenoa. These swift actions meant that part of a nation’s heritage were preserved and considered in the restoration.

However it doesn’t always go to plan every time, especially May 2012 in Emilia Romagna. The ICOM had immediate issues which stemmed from the devolution of the heritage committees not having representation to effectively co-ordinate themselves nationally. There were also unrealised expectations that local authorities would pick up more of the work and the compatibility issues with cultural between regions weren’t merge-able databases which coherently list all the pieces which needed to be saved.

It wasn’t all bad news for the nation’s heritage however, technology turned out to be a saving grace for people and heritage co-ordination. Whilst the internet was down, local & CB radio became a key to communication, offering connections and helping to organise people for aid. Then, when the online connection was restored, a few new apps led the way. Bring the Food aided in the distribution of food supplies. GeoSDIgeoPoints allowed people to take pictures of emergencies / local situation and tag it with a GPS position for authorities to trace problems.

Bring the food app
Bring the food app


* Crisis management isn’t just about the people, it’s heritage.
* Don’t have a single point of communication failure. If Internet goes, Radios. But what about systems reliant on GPS, we have the European version but none of my devices use it..?
* Regional devolution would still require representation nationally
* Internet is fragile and you need to be able to create your own neutral connection
* Local Authoraties are sometimes, “meh”

The original presentation