What is the practitioners view on information systems for crisis management? What is the role of dedicated information officers and what are the challenges they face? Which research questions emerge from their work? If you are interested in these questions than this workshop should appeal to you.
In the recent past a number of developments in emergency information management have contributed to a mature level of digital information availability for crisis management and preparation. The challenge switches from the improvement of digital data source availability towards relevancy and proportionality. Unfortunately there is no reference framework to compare digital performance in relation to emergency management. Each experiment with new technology is judged on its merit by itself. These tests are described in individual cases that lead to disparate scientific articles highlighting the case or to European project deliverables demonstrating some new tool. Without accepted metrics , there is little explicit learning effect to build on for the next experiment or field simulation test with yet other technology. Qualitative methods using questionnaires may obtain user feedback, but even these lack a base for comparison. For example, the Dutch emergency information officers have a common reference in the National Dutch emergency system they all use, but the matter of future module development or improved data-availability only raised discussions about value and proportionality.
During many conferences and European projects scenarios are used as an instrument that provides the contextual narrative that sets the challenges for emergency management. These scenario’s describe the story over time and provide a framework for discussion about the value of digital means. The scenario act as a common reference between developers, scientists and practitioners to bridge the gap during iterative design discussions. Over time, the emergency information managers have discovered that discussions about contribution of technology to their work require a common narrative, where all stakeholders can relate to the scenario, independent from the exact representation of their own regional situation and independent of the trigger event.
The suggestion to use common scenario elements or building blocks did resonate with those officers, since they have ample experience with the limitations of field tests, evaluations and training situations that claim to cover the whole of an emergency. ‘We train in chunks anyway and anybody who claims that you can train for and evaluate the full scale escalation in a day is not realistic’. Another reason to leave the trigger event itself as common reference is the fact that emergency information managers feed the discussion in emergency teams that concerns itself with the mitigation of the effects of the trigger and not with the event itself or its cause.
The notion of scenario elements and the need for comparison and learning has led to the believe that a common reference framework that acts as canvas for field tests would greatly improve the value of those field tests and all the effort that went into the set-up of simulations with new technologies in countless projects. However, this user involvement in often very limited field tests is often achieved by ‘professional panel members’ who are willing to read through the complex deliverables and articles, but who themselves run the risk of distinguishing themselves too much from the acting emergency officers. The officers, on the other hand, are constantly involved in field tests, but few are able to make time for methodological concerns about information management performance, semantics or classification structures. As it turns out, such information building blocks are required in the digitalisation process that feeds into the emergency management “common operational picture”.
The goal of the Workshop would therefore be to offer this reference framework, provide examples and discuss the minimum set of scenario standard elements that could provide sufficient narrative or complexity to act as canvas for digital support performance measurement efforts. The officers delegation of the Dutch emergency teams are convinced that a limited set of scenario’s with a well-defined set of elements would support a number of purposes. The framework and its value will be presented at the workshop.
Gerke Spaling, Chief Information officer, Twente Safety region
Research on the relation between information management and crisis management, including data analyses on dispatch systems and EMS
Barry van het Padje:Information manager, Firebrigade of Amsterdam
Data driven Risk analyses and risk profiling in Amsterdam
Rob Peters, Chief information Officier, Kennemerland & Schiphol Safety region and National Chief Architect
A method for scenario-based information performance measurement during crisis
Mark Aukema, Manager of the Dutch LCMS – EMS design process
Improving the Dutch emergency management system LCMS by user-driven design cycles
Willem Treurniet: Dutch Policy advisor on Crisis management and PhD candidate om Netcentric Doctrine
Improving ways of working: The Netcentric Doctrine as a reference framework
Bart v Leeuwen: Group Commander and semantic expert
Applied semantics/linked data to improve information interoperability and Business intelligence
The workshop’s purpose is to discuss a performance framework, the minimum required elements and ways to test those in practice. The presentations are meant only as a start for discussion. We invite researchers and developers to engage in that discussion.