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How Kolkata Police made use of Google’s Plus Codes in faster rescue

Ahead of Cyclone Yaas, Kolkata Police had urged people to download Google’s Plus Codes feature on their smartphones so that they can share their location even without an internet connection, in case they get trapped during the storm.

This technology is particularly useful during disasters as it is easier to locate even when the battery is dying or there is no internet connection.

Arya Ghosh, a financial advisor, recently made a presentation regarding its usage after which Kolkata Police decided to use this technology.

Be it natural or man-made disasters, the exact location of the individual who needs to be rescued is needed.

For Plus Codes, you don’t need an internet connection. Plus Codes technology is open source and free to create and use. Plus Codes are like street addresses for people or places that don’t have one.

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Instead of addresses with street names and numbers, Plus Codes are based on latitude and longitude and displayed as numbers and letters. With a Plus Code, people can receive deliveries, access emergency and social services, or just help other people find them.

Speaking to India Today, Ghosh explained how this technology will be useful in rescuing people in the future.

“My vision is to equip every household in India with the Plus Code technology. Plus Codes of the residential and commercial properties can be collected at the local police station, corporation, municipality, panchayat levels by conducting door-to-door visits and uploaded to the dedicated websites. The citizens can upload it themselves along with their government ID and address proofs on such websites,” he said.

According to Ghosh, the biggest advantage of using Plus Codes is that they can be used even when there is no internet connection. The coordinates can be sent via a text message to the agencies which will rescue the individual.

“In the case of a cyclone, the first thing that doesn’t work is the network. With Plus Codes, the exact coordinates can be sent via a text message, which will help agencies to reach the spot in very little time,” said Ghosh.

During emergency situations, if agencies receive the coordinates of the affected via SMS, they can easily track the location and reach in the least possible time even in the absence of a mobile network.

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