The need to develop information
science and technology to support crisis management has never
been more apparent. Crisis management, for events such as hurricanes,
forest fires, disease outbreaks, chemical spills, and terrorist
attacks, relies upon geospatial information about the event
itself, its causes, the people and infrastructure affected, resources
available to respond, and more. Crisis management also relies
upon teams of people who must collaboratively derive knowledge
from geospatial information and coordinate their subsequent activities.
Current geospatial information technologies, however, fail
to support group work and have typically been designed without
scientific understanding of how groups (or groups of groups) work
in crisis management to collect, process, and use geospatial information.
Our research addresses
two fundamental problems that impede effective coordinated work
with geospatial information in crisis management activities.
geospatial information technologies are hard to use and designed
for use by individuals; they do not support group work effectively.
Second, there is
limited scientific understanding of how groups (or groups of groups)
work in crisis management using geospatial information and technologies
that can range from large screen displays in a command center
to PDAs for field personnel.
The objective of the research
is to address both of these problems in an integrated way, and
do so in the context of real world crisis management activities.
We address these problems through two linked research and development
- A cognitive systems engineering approach
is applied to developing a deep understanding of group work with
geospatial information and technology in the context of crisis
- The knowledge derived is used to develop
advanced, easy to use geospatial technology that supports both
same-place and distributed/mobile, dialogue-enabled collaborative
crisis management activities.
Agency collaborators include
units focused directly on crisis management for natural hazards
(chemical, biological, meteorological) and on homeland security
as well as units that supply the geospatial information to meet
their needs. Federal partners include the EPA (four units), HHS-Agency
for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, NGA, USGS, NASA (Earth
Science Applications Division), Air Force Research Laboratory,
Wright Patterson Air Force Base, and the Federal Geographic Data
Committee. State partners are the PA-DEP, the Port Authority of
NY & NJ, Operations & Emergency Management, and the Florida
Emergency Management Agency.
industry partner, VideoMining,
Inc. will collaborate on technology implementation portions
of the research.