Reddit: [Need Help] Emergency Info Hotspot idea.

Originally posted in r/computerscience

I had an idea while looking at some pictures of people wandering around trying to use their phones during the recent damage in Puerto Rico. My idea was as follows:

In an emergency: Establish an opensource, battery and solar powered, wifi hotspot. Not to link to the internet as that is costly and difficult to maintain, but to display a website that disseminates useful information. It would utilize a redirect of some sort, similar to how the hotel's networks take whatever website you request and redirect it to their splash/registration page if you haven't already logged in. That page could host information that could be useful in an emergency. Like a local area map showing where the Red Cross is in your area, a schedule of when and where food and water deliveries are happening, where that fresh water spring that not everyone knows about is, who to see to get contacts out, what office is handling what etc… Kind of like an Emergency FAQ.

I am a fairly nerdy guy, but this is past my skill level. I am a wintel guy of limited skill and I don't want to invest much REAL money in it so ServerR8, etc are out. At first I was thinking of tinkering with a little linux box running a DHCP, DNS, and a simple webhost. but that became pretty daunting as I don't really know anything about it other than a couple of slackware boxes. Besides that the goal is simple, small footprint, small energy consumption. Then I remembered re-flashing my wifi router at one point a few years ago with some software so I looked it up. Now I am at DD-WRT, but I'm not sure that is the cleanest and easiest thing to implement.

So far I have a hazy image of a Linksys or something running DD-WRT with some configuration of NOCAT or something. I would like it to host a simple HTML page with a couple of embedded maps etc. No outside link and no matter what you do it always ends up back at that page. I don't want someone to try to go to Yahoo and then not be able to find their way back. I think I have an old wrt54g in the basement someplace to play with, but if not ~60 at amazon is cool for a Proof of Concept.

Goals: A single box, implemented or supplemented with power (batt & solar) supply considerations. Does not need to cover a huge area, I'll possibly do an external elevated antenna, but I'll worry about that later; RF isn't my problem.

Ease of upkeep after initial installation. Some of the Linksys boxes have USB, could updating be as simple as keeping the same HTML file name and swapping out memory sticks that have been updated off site?

Needs: Some guidance on implementation. Ideally someone could point to a walkthrough or something and say stop at step 9, then put your HTML file on a memory stick and name it index.html, put x:/index.html in this field on this screen and you are done.

Also if you think it would get more traction elsewhere in another subreddit, let me know where to cross post it and I will. Kindof new to this.

submitted by /u/satcomwilcox to r/hardware
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