Simulating Risk With The Stay Puft Marshmallow Man
By Kyle Hill on June 30, 2014
“I tried to think of the most harmless thing. Something I loved from my childhood. Something that could never ever possibly destroy us. Mr. Stay Puft!”
Imagine an earthquake strikes in the heart of a major city. Where is the most damage going to be? What buildings are the most at risk? One technology firm thinks these questions are best visualized with a giant Stay Puft Marshmallow Man.
Technology platform Cube Cities has recently used Ghostbusters’ giant, goo-filled monstrosity to demonstrate how their new technology could help “disaster mapping”—using technology to visualize risk, catalogue damage, and plan for the future. By using Google Earth and large data sets on risks to large residential and commercial areas, Cube Cities’ technology simulates the risks to buildings in that area—even floor by floor—from earthquakes, gas main breaks, and even large marshmallows wandering Midtown Manhattan.
Speaking to FastCoDesign, Cube Cities CEO Greg Angevine says that Cube Cities’ maps are built with risk prevention in mind. “Cube Cities builds these kinds of maps so they can partner with municipal fire or police departments, which then can use them to communicate damage to the press or other response teams.”
Risk and disaster mapping aren’t new, but the advent of better technology and access to more data has made the practice much more powerful. Google recently helped coordinate relief efforts when Typhoon Haiyan battered the Philippines and drones have been used to survey the damage to Japan after their catastrophic tsunami in 2011. Cube Cities’s risk mapping software is now available to all major American cities, ensuring that we will be ready for walking sugar monsters, if need be.