Information and Communication Technologies for Crisis and Emergency Management

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    Blockchain Technology for Emergency Response
    ( 2020-01-07) Siemon, Carsten ; Rueckel, David ; Krumay, Barbara
    As unforeseen situations, emergencies threaten the environment, property, and people’s lives. Large emergencies are characterized by the demand for coordination of a variety of actors, such as civil defense or disaster relief. Communication and information exchange are crucial for coordination. Therefore, a solid, stable communication infrastructure is among the crucial factors for emergency response. New technologies that seem to ensure trustworthy communication must be evaluated constantly. Blockchain technology is widely applied in a broad variety of contexts and is commonly known for its decentralized and distributed governance. This is the motivation for the design and evaluation of a framework for the adoption of blockchain technology in the case of emergency response following a design science approach. Evaluation of the artifact using a specific evaluation framework clearly indicates the suitability of the case for application of blockchain technology.
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    Using Audio-Logs for Analyzing the Development of a Common Operational Picture in Multi-agency Emergency Response
    ( 2020-01-07) Steen-Tveit, Kristine ; Radianti, Jaziar ; Munkvold , Bjørn Erik
    Multi-agency emergency response requires effective communication and collaboration for building and maintaining a common operational picture. Full-scale exercises are shown to be effective for learning, and for training the collaborative skills needed. This paper presents a methodology for analysis of real-time communication for building the common operational picture, using audio-logs. The analysis of the audio-logs provides insights for both practitioners and researchers in the emergency management domain concerning the dynamics of inter-agency collaboration and information exchanges when responding to emergencies. Coding and categorizing of audio-log-based information exchanges among multi-agency stakeholders were applied based on a full-scale emergency exercise on multiple terror actions. The results show that the methodology can contribute to analyze the development of a common operational picture, supplementing existing methods for evaluation of full-scale emergency exercises and real events.
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    Epidemic Response Coordination Networks in “Living Documents”
    ( 2020-01-07) Wang, Chan ; Kim, Yushim ; Oh, Seong Soo
    Response plans developed thoroughly are suggestive of a successful action, but there is a gap in the literature with respect to the way concerted efforts among organizations are planned and change during crises. Using organizational network data extracted from the South Korean government’s MERS response manuals, we examined the changes in the response coordination network planned during the epidemic’s distinct stages. The greatest difference in predicting tie formation was found in the networks planned before the event and revised during the outbreak. Local and governmental actors tend to form more ties consistently in the revised manuals. Two actors that are intended to transfer medical and/or personnel resources tend to form more ties across all stages. These findings suggest that transferring material and/or human resources are key activities in the epidemic response and planners tend to increase the connection of local and governmental actors over time.
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    Information Management in Large-scale Disaster Exercises: An Integrated Perspective
    ( 2020-01-07) Meesters, Kenny ; Wang, Yan
    Simulation exercises are fundamental for building knowledge, skills and capacities of participants to effectively address challenges in crisis management. A key element in emergency response and exercises are the capacities to work with information to support decision-making processes. However, not only exercise participants are dealing with challenges in information management (IM), but those controlling and directing exercises as well. Dynamic environments of exercises require IM capacities -for participants and directors- to optimize training opportunities. Despite common challenges, IM activities of exercise directors and participants have so far been considered as separate fields. This paper looks at these two perspectives as part of an integrated system and examines the similarities and differences of IM in two large-scale exercises. The parallels between them present options to further explore how alignment and -more importantly- synergy of IM practices between exercise participants and directors could improve the quality of information management training in exercises
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    DisasterNet: Evaluating the Performance of Transfer Learning to Classify Hurricane-Related Images Posted on Twitter
    ( 2020-01-07) Johnson, Matthew ; Murthy, Dhiraj ; Roberstson, Brett ; Smith, Roth ; Stephens, Keri
    Social media platforms are increasingly used during disasters. In the U.S., victims consider these platforms to be reliable news sources and they believe first responders will see what they publicly post. While having ways to request help during disasters might save lives, this information is difficult to find because non-relevant content on social media completely overshadows content reflective of who needs help. To resolve this issue, we develop a framework for classifying hurricane-related images that have been human-annotated. Our transfer learning framework classifies each image using the VGG-16 convolutional neural network and multi-layer perceptron classifiers according to the urgency, relevance, and time period, in addition to the presence of damage and relief motifs. We find that our framework not only successfully functions as an accurate method for hurricane-related image classification, but also that real-time classification of social media images using a small training set is possible.