Crisis Mapping

 Could the smart phone be a survival tool? Christopher Van Tilburg, author of Smart Phone: Survival Tool says it’s possible. A smart phone can do lots of cool things, but is it needed for us to survive? We are talking surviving in the wilderness like on a backpacking trip. Going on a trip where you are completely surrounded by trees and beautiful nature is when the use of a smart phone could come in handy. Let’s say someone goes on a hike, most people might take a backpack filled with things that might come in handy on the trail. The essentials might include a canteen with water, snack bars, pocket knife, compass, map, first aid kit, sunscreen, handkerchief, and an extra pair of socks. Is the smart phone now an essential when you go out in to the wilderness? Sure it might be useful in case of an emergency, but what is it dies? There are no outlets in the woods to charge it. Or what if there is no service? There are lots of “what if” questions that might be addressed when decided on whether a smart phone should be considered a survival tool. The smart phone might be helpful until it dies or loses service, then we have to rely on our own knowledge and survival skills to make sure we make it back safely. I have been hiking and camping a lot in my life time. Every time I went I never had any type of cell phone on me, especially a smart phone, and I still managed to find my way back safely. I believe it is important to know the basic skills for surviving in the wilderness, like how to use a compass. A smart phone should not be used in replace of your brain. It is important to have some common knowledge when venturing out into unknown territory. In the article, smart phones were used in the rescue of lost hikers. The hikers used the smart phone to get the altitude and GPS coordinates, and used the compass on their phone to guide them. The hikers got in contact with the rescuers and told them the coordinates and they rapidly found them. This term is called crisis mapping. It is using telecom technology to respond to disasters like the Haiti earthquake.

                I know we are in the 21st century. And I know technology is being used for just about everything, but what about the simple life? Are we just going to forget about that and continue living in our technology centered complex world? I sure hope not. I want to be able to escape away from all the sounds and commotions of the city life and resort back to the simple country lifestyle.   I think of nature and the country side as pastoral and I use it as a “get away” from reality. The feeling of relaxation and calmness overflows me when I go for a hike or something outdoors. I like having time away from all the sirens and horns of the city and all the burdens technology has on my life. Being able to leave my cellphone at home while I explore nature is something I enjoy. I’m not sure I get enough of this simple lifestyle feeling in my life. I have time to get away from everything about one day a month. I really enjoy that peaceful time when I get to do that. Just last weekend I went to Lake Cumberland to relax on the boat and escape reality for a day. I really needed a break too, I have so many things going on right now I needed time to relax and think about things. I get to do that when I don’t have my cell phone to distract me or sirens ringing in my ear.

                Although I think technology is making alto of things more efficient, making a smart phone a survival tool is a little excessive if you ask me. I know I wouldn’t take my phone with me out into the wilderness, but for some people they might. I want to keep the refreshing feeling of nature pure and serene when I visit it. I want it to always be simple and not have an intrusion of technology take over. This article is very interesting as it somewhat resembles The Tempest. Prospero and Caliban were on the deserted island trying to find their way around. Prospero used his magical powers to control nature. This is like the smart phone controlling nature too, the simplicity versus complexity theme show through here. For someone who hikes a lot or explores unknown land, always make sure you remember how to get home. Although the smart phone can help out in some situations, don’t heavily rely on it in case of a dead battery or loss of reception. So whether it be a compass and a map or a smart phone that you use, it is always important to be prepared and practice safety first. I’m sure in a couple of years crisis mapping will be the only thing people will use to find missing hikers. Technology is making itself into our daily lives whether we like it or not. But as for me, I’m staying “all-natural” when I go out into the wild. I use nature as a time of relaxation and thought. I don’t need technology to interrupt that time of calmness.

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