Hexayurt informatics strategy
This page is about making the hexayurts information rich at several levels.
The basic strategy is to use a variety of media and formats to make information about the hexayurts and about survival and recovery available to affected people.
I. Print useful text on the panels.
II. When possible and desirable, print the panels with 2D bar codes or embedded RFID tags.
III. Arrangement of hexayurts into patterns readable from a distance or from an aerial view.
Issues arising from this strategy
- In what language or dialect to you print the panel text?
- Should there be standing "books" waiting in warehouses, ready for shipment? If so, what is the most useful text to put on the most generic panel?
- First aid. Hygiene.
- Use pictographs to illustrate assembly process.
- Expense is not major issue for RFIDs compared to other material costs. Under 1 USD per tag for passive tags.
- Security is even more important. RFIDs are hackable, and they can be used as a platform for spreading viruses or malware to other systems and databases (citation needed). Could pirates exploit this by using the info on the RFIDs for ill purposes? Yes. Is this worth worrying about, or is it worth preventing RFID use? Probably not. Benefits outweigh risks.
- Passive RFID is just relaying an identifier number. This could be used to flag source material.
- Think Semacode (link) or Kaywa's QR Code (link). Not human-eye readable, but from a distance ketai cams can discern massive amounts of information by the configuration of black and white pixels. What could physical camp configs tell relief workers?
- physical camp configuration would require that the entire camp layout be managed by planners able to arrange the camp in particular order adding needless complication to getting shelter assembled on the ground.
- Think "eye in the sky". If other communication channels fail, the arrangement of yurts in the camp could communicate information to aerial cams as 2-D barcodes. This is a built-in level of security. Only 2 guys know that if the water-pump pup hexayurt is moved adjacent to the 6th wall of the med supplies yurt it generates a message to equipped cams that reads: "Taliban is moving poppies thru this camp."
- integration of covert communication would only serve to encourage hostile parties to destroy the infrastructure, and again require the movement of individual units in a carefully planed fashion in order to communicate.
Hexayurt Object Database
Hexayurt panels, wherever possible, have a 2D barcode or RFID tag attached to each one. The same thing should be done, wherever possible, with stoves and other items.
The goal is that items can be found in the field, their GUID extracted from the barcode or tag, and then that information checked against the database to show the history of this particular object.
This allows for long term lateral studies of several kinds.
The first is object endurance: which items, from which manufacturers, lasted? Which ones are commonly used, vs. being left in the scrap heap. What *worked.*
It's important that tags are per object, and not per class. While 50 stoves may appear to be identical, and were purchased at the same time, lo! the supplier changed sheet metal suppliers half way through the run, and the ones from Batch B rust to uselessness in 4 years, but the others last for 25.
Henry Ford allegedly had staff crawl around in junk yards to see what pieces of the Ford never failed, and were in good useful condition after the rest of the car had died. Those pieces where then allegedly manufactured to lower specifications to save money without impacting vehicle life.
We need a similar approach: understand exactly what got made where, and how it performed in the field.
Additionally, lateral tracking of object movement becomes very important: the stoves dropped in a camp in the Sudan show up in Tanzania, and the locals love them much more than their regular stoves because the Sudanese stoves handle fuel a little differently, for instance. Well, knowing which items are being traded and how they circulate tells us about local preferences, and also about appropriate technology transfer routes.
For this to work, we need a "Stamper" service like http://thinglink.org/ - a service which issues GUID numbers for arts and crafts projects.