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SCMP 23Nov2019

  

Public needs to be updated in times of change

 

People are struggling to cope with changing situations without accurate and updated information.

 

Thus, I suggest the following:

 

1.  For the government, a "common operational picture" – a central platform that enables the exchange of information and facilitates coordination among departments.

 

Apart from the police, the platform should include the departments of transport (traffic situation), highways (road closures and repairs), fire services (emergency services update), information services (refute rumours), food and environmental hygiene (assuring food supplies, public cleaning), education (school arrangements), environmental protection (air quality), and leisure and cultural services (closures of facilities), as well as the Hospital Authority (updated clinic and hospital services availability).

 

The Geotechnical Engineering Office already has such a platform, which integrates information from various departments, including data from 90 rain gauges and landslide reports. Information is uploaded to the cloud server for integration, and the distribution of emergency events is displayed on a big screen for coordinating the response.

 

All we need now is to expand the platform to the entire government, so as to cope with the current crisis and make governance more efficient.

 

2.  For citizens, a "city dashboard" for one-stop updates. With this, the government could broadcast key information in real time, such as which roads are blocked, which MTR stations or public facilities are closed.

 

 

Dr. Winnie Tang
Adjunct Professor, Department of Computer Science, Faculty of Engineering and Faculty of Architecture, The University of Hong Kong