Several people and stories stand out from the crowd.
Ramakrishna R, a Stanford-educated Software Engineer currently employed at Google, found himself caught up in the excitement. After visiting the Kumbhathon in Nashik in July 2015, he and his wife (a software engineer at Yahoo!) took leaves of absence from their respective jobs. They volunteered their time and significant software expertise – in areas such as analysis and visualization, search indexing, Google Mapmaker, and developer infrastructure. They advised and mentored several innovators, and prepared them for a successful launch at the Kumbh Mela in August and September 2015.
Lavanya Addepalli, a PhD candidate, developed a sophisticated solution for tracking crowds throughout the city of Nashik. Working with Google mentor Ramakrishna, she and her team created and presented a heat map with detailed visualizations showing crowd locations, density and movement. They used data from mobile phone towers, and shared information with administrative and government officials to anticipate and abate problems related to large crowds. This solution continues to mature, as Lavanya and her team consider other places and ways to deploy it. Learn more about Lavanya, and about Crowd Steering.
At only 15 years old, Nilay Kulkarni coded ASHIOTO, a solution to prevent stampedes. At the Kumbh Mela, the ASHIOTO reusable and portable “crowd management by footcount” mats were installed near the Godavari River to track people exiting after taking a dip. On three auspicious days, ASHIOTO counted more than 500,000 people at five exit routes out of 20. The police rerouted crowds to other exits and avoided issues. Nilay and his team are looking at opportunities to use ASHIOTO in other venues to avoid bottlenecks and stampedes. Watch Nilay’s TEDx talk and an interview with Nilay.
Sampath Reddy is an Aerospace Systems Engineer turned Urban Systems Designer. He developed the Pop-up Housing solution as a low cost, modular, eco-friendly structure to be used for affordable or portable and flexible housing and office space. It utilizes reusable industrial racking systems which are readily available. The structure can be erected in less than three days. Prior to the Kumbh Mela, Sampath secured a space in the government housing area for one of his structures.