, Volume 19, Issue 3, pp 265–278 | Cite as

Multilingual disaster information system: information delivery using graphic text for mobile phones

  • Satoshi Hasegawa
  • Kumi Sato
  • Shohei Matsunuma
  • Masaru Miyao
  • Kohei Okamoto
Open Forum


A multilingual disaster information system (MLDI) has been developed to overcome the language barrier during times of natural disaster. MLDI is a web-based system that includes templates in nine languages so that translated texts can be made available immediately. Mobile phone e-mail with graphic text is a useful tool for delivering multilingual disaster information. The visibility of graphic text on mobile phones was measured and found to be equivalent to the built-in font. However, visibility deteriorates as the character size becomes smaller, especially, on displays with poor resolution. This article also discusses the necessity of multilingual information and measures for a safe and barrier-free society.


Living support in disaster mobile phone template translation disaster provision visibility of characters 



The Multilingual Disaster Information System (MLDI) was developed by the members of the Multilingual Disaster Information System Consortium. We thank Mr. Tetsushi Okuyama at Shimadzu Business Systems Corporation in Japan (SBS 2004a) for his useful instructions about weather information and its delivery to mobile phones.


  1. Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake Memorial Research Institute (2004) Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake Research Paper,
  2. Hasegawa S, Irie Y, Omori M, Matsunuma S, Miyao M (2004) Visibility of graphical character e-mail in multiple languages on mobile phones, ESK and JES joint symposium 2004, 5-Jun-04. Jpn J Ergon, 40(Suppl):50–53Google Scholar
  3. ISO (1992) ISO 9142–3, Ergonomic requirements for office work with visual display terminals (VDTs)Google Scholar
  4. JIS (2003) JIS S 0032, Guidelines for the elderly and people with disabilities—Visual signs and displays—Estimation of minimum legible size for Japanese single characterGoogle Scholar
  5. JMA (2004) Japan Meteorological Agency.
  6. JWA (2004) Japan Weather Association.
  7. Miyao M, Okamoto K (Representatives) (2004) Multilingual Disaster Information System Consortium,
  8. Miyao M, Hacisalihzade SS, Allen JS and Stark LW (1989) Effect of VDT resolution on visual fatigue and readability: an eye movement approach. Ergonomics 32(6):603–614PubMedGoogle Scholar
  9. Niigata Prefecture (2004) Earthquake information,
  10. Omori M, Watanabe T, Takai J, Takada H, Miyao M (2002) Visibility and characteristics of the mobile phones for elderly people. Behav Inf Technol 21(5):313–316CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Sato K, Okamoto K, Miyao M (2004a) Multilingual and ubiquitous information system for disasters, ESK and JES joint symposium 2004, 5-Jun-04. Jpn J Ergon 40(Supp):88–91Google Scholar
  12. Sato K, Okamoto K, Miyao M (2004b) Template system for translating disaster information into eight different languages. In: The 14th international conference on artificial reality and telexistence, ICAT 2004, Nov. 30–Dec. 2, KoreaGoogle Scholar
  13. SBS (2004a) Shimadzu Business System Corporation.
  14. SBS (2004b) J-Tenkys -Weather information for mobile phones (in Japanese).
  15. SBS (2004c) Kansai Weather –a local area weather information service.

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag London Limited 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Satoshi Hasegawa
    • 1
  • Kumi Sato
    • 2
  • Shohei Matsunuma
    • 3
  • Masaru Miyao
    • 4
  • Kohei Okamoto
    • 5
  1. 1.School of Information CultureNagoya Bunri UniversityInazawa, AichiJapan
  2. 2.Graduate School of International DevelopmentNagoya UniversityNagoyaJapan
  3. 3.Graduate School of IndustryNagoya Institute of TechnologyNagoyaJapan
  4. 4.Information Technology CenterNagoya UniversityNagoyaJapan
  5. 5.Graduate School of Environmental StudiesNagoya UniversityNagoyaJapan

Personalised recommendations