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Berkeley-based rescue and relief computer program.

Here, in brief, is how the program worked. 

John Radke and his team quickly put together an operational system paring a computer running Berkeley's free version of the UNIX operating system, Berkeley's Postgres database management system, a public domain Apache Web server, and a data mining system he and his team had developed. This program processed and readied the data for a Geographic Information System (GIS). GIS is an interdisciplinary science using powerful digital technology to manipulate large amounts of data to integrate with maps. 

Two databases were needed, one logging missing persons and the other logging persons as they arrived at shelters or other places of registration throughout the state of Mississippi. Names and addresses were entered into these databases via the Web, accommodating data entry from a number of computers and locations at the same time. Syncing names and addresses in these two databases provided an up-to-date list of missing individuals. Their addresses were geo-coded by a team of more than 50 GIS analysts from around the country working in the emergency “Brain Bus” (as it was nicknamed by the Coast Guard personnel). The bus was provided by the Mississippi Institutes of Higher Learning, loaded with laptop computers, and managed by information specialists from Delta State University. Once the last known location of each missing person was determined to be a single point on the earth, represented as a longitude and latitude location, the information was electronically relayed to rescue helicopter pilots to locate potential victims without the use of street maps or the need to read street signs, many of which were under water. 

For more information on the GIS system, visit or

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