Normally we avoid posting on what can be viewed as corporate advertisement, but we have to applaud the use of technology to assist in the healing process after the devasting Tōhoku earthquake and subsequent tsumani in 2011. Thousands of lives were lost, and survivers suffered the additional trauma of losing their homes, including the photographic mementoes of their loved ones.
Ricoh used their expertise in office imaging equipment to coordinate an amazing effort of 518 employee volunteers to find, clean and digitize 418,721 photos, returning 90,128 pictures to the people who lost them.
Ricoh is now offering a glimpse of how this monumental effort was conducted for future reference. The company would be delighted “if this record is useful for improving awareness towards disaster prevention or reconstruction support activities after the event of a disaster,” it says.
The first step of the process was finding lost photos. Pictures were picked up from mud and debris by volunteers and organizations, who sent the prints in to Ricoh. Warehouses were used as photo collection sites.
Michael Zhang’s post for Petapixel is worth the time to see the story in pictures.