Supporting disaster management utilizing multi-agency sensor information
AuthorAghakarim Alamdara, Farzad
Document TypePhD thesis
Access StatusOpen Access
© 2017 Dr. Farzad Aghakarim Alamdara
The short response time that obtains for rapid onset disasters (such as floods, storms and bushfires) necessitates the fast and coordinated actions of several actors. Numerous agencies that might or might not be established organizations for disaster management are required to contribute and share resources and information during emergency situations. Dealing with challenges associated with the exchange of disaster information across organizational borders has become a critical need within the emergency sector, especially those challenges that are related to the interoperability of emergency information. Amongst diverse types of disaster information that need to be shared between multiple responsible parties, spatial information is paramount, in that it captures the extent and location of the critical geographic features. In recent years, a new spatial data sourcing technology called in situ sensing has emerged and gained attention in the emergency management sector as a potential solution for providing live disaster information. Currently, an increasing number of sensors are deployed and used by organizations involved in disaster management. However, there is a lack of understanding about how these sensor resources are used in practice within disaster situations, and to what extent the current practices support interoperability of agencies in regard to critical sensor data exchange during a disaster. The research investigates how sensor-derived data is produced and exchanged amongst organizations involved in disaster management, and how this exchange affects the use of this type of information for emergency decision-making. After evaluating the shortcomings and requirements derived from the case study investigations, the thesis proposes a new framework as the conceptual model for multi-agency sensor information integration in cooperative disaster management. The framework defines components to realize: (1) interoperability between sensor data providers and disaster management authorities, (2) dealing with existing sources of inconsistencies in sensor data, and (3) derivation of actionable emergency information from raw sensor feeds. Based on the framework and identified requirements, a prototype system has been implemented that enables the functions of standard-based access, as well as on-the-fly consolidation, integration and usage of sensor data from multiple sources. The proposed approach was then applied to a flood monitoring experiment and several use cases through simulating a scenario where emergency management organization, emergency services, and sensor data producers would access, exchange and integrate organizational sensor data to obtain situational awareness. The research has evaluated the effectiveness and usefulness of the developed technical solutions based on an opinion survey from experts active in the field. The findings obtained from the flood monitoring experiment and evaluation survey show the effective role of the developed approach for integration of sensor resources within cooperative disaster management. In summary, the main contribution of this research is in the combination of undertaking an empirical case study on current practices for sensor utilization in the emergency management sector, and transforming the case study results into the technical solutions that enable the integration of sensor information, and aids decision-making in cooperative emergency response.
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