Penn State home GeoVISTA home
GCCM header

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.

First, current 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 activities:

  1. 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 management and
  2. 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.

VideoMiningOur industry partner, VideoMining, Inc. will collaborate on technology implementation portions of the research.

This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. EIA-0306845.

Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.

  © 2006-2010 GeoVISTA and The Pennsylvania State University, except as noted.  |  The views expressed on this site do not necessarily reflect those of funding agencies.

Questions / Problems with this site? Contact the Webmaster