November 2016

Data from the past 10 years [Research]


View my data research site on climate change.

As part of my thesis research, I wanted to look into natural disasters that had occurred in the past 10 years. FEMA has extensive data, that goes back to 1953 and broken down to towns in each state.

Here is a snapshot of FEMA’s data. Very detailed and a lot of information to look through.


With this data, I decided to create data visualization using leaflet.js and d3.js. I only concentrated on water-based emergencies, meaning hurricanes, severe storms, and floods (including flash floods).

According to the data, every state has experienced a disaster. Severe storms are most common disasters here in the U.S. Missouri, Nebraska and Oklahoma had the most disasters in the last 10 years.

With climate change, sea levels are rising and these types of disasters will be much more common in the next few years.

Workshop at Frog Design

After interning at Frog design over the summer, I got an opportunity to visit them and update Froggers with my thesis. I took this opportunity to create a workshop. From my 5 ideas, I decided to pursue the lamp post/traffic light idea (See 5 ideas) and wanted to get feedback validate my assumptions and reactions to ideas proposed.

Problem Statement


Assumption 1: Street and traffic lights are the best options to be used for temporary users for post-disaster settings.


Assumption 2: Creating and add-on to an existing infrastructure would be cheaper and faster, rather than building something new.



Assumption 3:  Panic due to lack of information ad communication are major issues after a disaster.


Opportunities areas

1. Communication: thesis-elushika-nov8-012To use street and traffic lights to provide electricity and low bandwidth wifi, that will allow people to communicate with remote family/friends until help arrives.

Thoughts from Frog: 

  • Create a block-wide mesh network, so that if one is destroyed, there are many back-ups.
  • Charging the phone is a bigger issue
  • OLED street signs could highlight evacuation routes
  • Solar panels to re-absorb light


thesis-elushika-nov8-0142. Information update: To use street and traffic lights to inform residents when help would arrive. “FEMA will arrive in 1 day”

Thoughts from Frog:

  • If I am connecting to the internet through street lamps, I could get alerts from the phone. This should be combined with communication
  • Use a speaker, instead of sign. There should be 1 per 2-3 blocks.
  • Projection messages in streetlights


thesis-elushika-nov8-0163. Water source: To use street and traffic lights to provide trusted drinkable water

Thoughts from Frog:

  • Requires heavy overhead from NYC politics
  • Consider storing and transporting water during a flood
  • Create a shower during crisis
  • What about a pump for clean water


thesis-elushika-nov8-0184. Warning: To use street and traffic lights to block off an intersection

Thoughts from Frog:

  • If you are in New York City, residents will not pay attention
  • Geo tracking on phones will tell people to stop when they are nearing a disaster area
  • Use lights as wayfinding devices
  • Find my location, by pressing a button on lamp post