In 2001 the Gujarat earthquake hit India. It lasted for more than two minutes and reached a magnitude of 7.7. It killed 20,000 people, injured another 167,000 and destroyed nearly 400,000 homes. Survivors who made it out of the flattened villages alive set out to search for family members. Imagine if that happened in your home town? Power lines are down and your cell phone has been destroyed. How do you find your family? That's the terrifying problem Do Projects set out to solve with Safety Maps, a free, online emergency planning tool where you can coordinate with friends and family on a safe meeting place, print out a customized map (because Google Maps is dead, remember?) and share it.
Nurri Kim was so affected by the massive destruction of the Gujarat earthquake that she got her collaborators at Do Projects to help design a non-electric solution for the worst case scenario. That means good old fashioned paper. Fellow collaborator Adam Greenfield of Urbanscale is quick to point out the many virtues of paper, like "its cheapness and ubiquity, its 'user-editable' nature and paradoxical robustness... It is easy to tear, easy to burn, and nearly impossible to repair, yet a folded up piece of paper can survive in your pocket for years. Paper is both resilient and fragile."
Stamen's Michal Migurski goes onto talk about Papernet, the term coined by Aaron Cope in 2007. "The Papernet is a closing of the loop between the digital and the physical, and owns up to the fact that our most durable everyday storage medium is also our easiest technology to read and write." It makes sense. When your most basic needs are at stake, our methods of survival go 'back to the basics,' too. Of course, no one wants to think about hypothetical, city-wide devastation, but talking about it with your family is important, so even if you never use the map, at least you're prepared.