Friday, May 13, 2011

Relief Central is a boon to relief workers and globe trotters alike

Platform: Android

4 out of 5


Opens up a world of information, useful to both relief/disaster workers (think Haiti and Japan), as well as international travelers.

Requires user registration in order to function. Brimming with information, but lacks a Search function, which severely limits its usefulness.

Useful to travelers and aid workers looking for a handheld-formatted version of the CIA World Factbook alone.

Read all of my Apple iPad and Google Android application reviews at Appolicious and Yahoo! Tech.

It seems as if the world is facing its share of catastrophes and natural disasters these days. Developer Unbound Medicine has risen to the occasion, creating a free Android app that’s brimming with critical information of interest to first responders, relief workers, and anyone headed into a disaster zone.
Honestly, the app is just as useful for international travelers, backpackers, and others on the hunt for a mobile-formatted version of the ever-popular CIA World Factbook. (Anyone looking for more reliable, locally-sourced cultural information, I recommend CultureGrams as a superior source, but I digress.)

The CIA compiles this trove of basic data about dozens of aspects of most countries on the planet, including updated maps, notes about the political climate, general information about all aspects of the economy, and more.

Also included is a Field Operations Guide, which will be familiar to anyone working in the Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance or Department of Defense. If you need to interface with personnel from these organizations as an assisting NGO, then Chapter V will give you a quick course on the lingo and acronyms that are thrown about at high speed during these disaster operations.

The Relief News button will lead you to a solid set of RSS feeds, which are constantly updated with fresh information related to topics of interest to disaster operations. Some of the content sources include the Red Cross, United Nations, FMEA, and even the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Travelers will want to skip right to the travel alerts and warnings.

For in-depth, research-quality sources, you’ll want to tap into the MEDLINE Journals link. Here you’ll find article abstracts and citations sourced from a long list of scholarly publications.

The only thing missing from this info-rich app is a search feature. Without it, you’ll need to rely on a long plane ride or extended periods of down-time in order to find, bookmark, and keep the most critical information at your fingertips either on your international trip or next disaster relief operation.

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