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Mobile4D: A Disaster Alerting and Management System based on Smartphones

A smartphone based disaster alerting and mangement system

In case of natural disasters such as floods, draughts, and animal diseases, a fast and secure flow of information is essential to be able to cope with the situation. mobile4D is a disaster information and alerting system based on smartphone technology to allow both for timely notification of affected stakeholders and easy and barrier-free crowdsourcing of disaster information on the local level.

Modern information technology can help people to improve the information flow in case of disasters and provide an early warning system. The system is designed as a component PRAM KSN knowledge sharing network in Laos, but can also run independently.

Mobile4d basically consists of three parts:
  1. An Android app which allows people in the villages to receive warnings and make contact with people in the administration to get help.
  2. A web frontend which allows the different administrative layers to send out warnings and provide further information, such as safety advice and contact information for questions.
  3. The disaster management server, which handles the incoming disaster warnings and sends out notifications to the people who are in danger.

Smartphone use is rapidly increasing worldwide thanks to more and more affordable prices and widespread availability. And fortunately, 3G/2G network coverage is increasingly available even in less developed countries.

Mobile4D Key Features

Open for everyone

open for everyone

everyone can participate and see and receive disaster warnings

Open for everyone

mobile application

the mobile application allows for reporting disasters at the place where they occur

Open for everyone

enables communication

the system provides an open communication channel for providing information and asking questions

Open for everyone

real-time notifications

once you report a disaster, every mobile client in the specific disaster-area receives a message concerning the disaster

Open for everyone

location based

notifications are directly distributed to the people in affected areas

Open for everyone


connected to PRAM KSN, which has a lot of tutorials to offer. We are fully compatible to the common alerting protocol.

Mobile4d Student Project

The development of Mobile4D is carried out within a student project at the University of Bremen. We had a group of currently 19 bachelor level students working on the system from October 2012 to May 2013. Development will be continued in fall 2013 within a one year Master's project. See the official mobile4d website for more details.

Participatory System Design

To ensure development along the lines of participatory system design, the Mobile4D project started with a 2-day workshop in Bremen including two representatives of the Lao Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF), Mr. Savanh Hanephom and Dr. Thatheva Saphangtong. The visit was supported by the German Ministry of Science and Education (BMBF). Based on the resulting requirements analysis and work plan, development was closely coordinated with MAF. In April 2013, Mobile4D was successfully tested in multiple field tests in several districts of Luang Prabang province in Laos, including people from local adminstration involved in disaster management. Since 2015, mobile4D is running as a pilot system in the southern provinces Salavan, Xekong, and Attapeu in Laos.

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