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The communication system infrastructure provided free by the Early Warning Network (“EWN”) for community groups is used by MACS. The opportunity for MACS subscribers is to enhance this by sharing information locally.

This enables messages to be sent by email, SMS and/or text-to-voice to landlines. Email is free but there is a small charge per message for sending SMS and voice-to-landline, and it will be necessary to use voice-to-landline sparingly for the time being. Where there is plenty of notice, email and the MACS Alerts Blog are used

A text message to a mobile phone is clearly the most effective means of communication in an alert situation where speed is important, and it does not require someone being indoors at an online computer or near a landline phone.

It is reasonable to assume that in the longer term mobile coverage in our area will continue to improve, costs will reduce further and we will all become familiar with using mobiles and 'smart phones' for more than just phone calls.

Messages by Groups

As shown on the map here, the approximate area covered by MACS has been divided into 'Groups'. This enables messages to be sent by the selected means to all Subscribers or only those in selected Group areas.

Messages by Selected Areas

The system is 'geographically aware': when people register to receive alerts and notifications their location is fixed via latitude and longitude in the system map. Until Rural Addressing is fully implemented for our area there will be some anomalies in the locations shown.

Using this information, messages can be targeted to be sent to those in areas likely to be affected. An example of the concept is shown below, where each green marker represents the location of a Subscriber and the blue outline is the selected area:

Defining area by loaction

Looking to the Future

You can view video of a presentation Dr Andrew Matthews made at Melbourne University below, which he has emphasised was a thought provoker to promote discussion. Although the video lacks commentary and explanation, we believe the gist of it is clear: the emerging potential of 'smart phones'.


As he said to the Melbourne Age: "Our number one job is keeping the small fires small".

It seems to us that the underlying concept is an extension of what we are trying to achieve with MACS, albeit constrained by the technology available and what is generally understood ‘on the Mountain’. There are still big gaps in mobile and Internet coverage, especially in the most vulnerable areas, and many of those with mobile phones have yet to appreciate that they can be used for a lot more than just phone calls. Learning a new technology is part of this, as is an understanding of the potential benefits.

Given the passage of time, however, it is reasonable to suppose that this will change. The younger generation has grown up with these technologies and takes them for granted, including 'social networking'.

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