The project aims to produce relatively mature, ready-for-transfer technologies that can have significant practice impacts during the project lifecycle and at the end of the project, on the one hand. On the other hand, it also aims to make strong impacts on information science and technology and disaster management sciences and technologies. Below are several examples of our work and motivation behind them. 

  1. Crowd Sourcing from Intelligent Things Today, privately owned environment monitoring and surveillance systems are literally everywhere. Mobile sensor networks and GPS systems for monitoring movements and conditions of cars, people and wildlife, etc. are now widely deployed. These intelligent things can provide invaluable information, especially during major calamities for which we are ill-prepared. The project aims to develop the underlying architecture and infrastructure components and tools to support the interoperability, access and use of intelligent things in standard ways. 
  2. Mechanisms for User Defined Information Access and Flow Control Policies To ease the concerns of information stakeholders and lower their reluctance to contribute information, an OpenISDM must have a suite of trustworthy mechanisms for safeguarding privacy and confidentiality according to diverse access and flow control models and policies suited for different types of data and information and different stakeholders under normal and emergency conditions. The system should also have tools with which information stakeholders can easily define and tailor the policies best suited to govern the access and flow of data and information from them. 
  3. Theories and Tools for Validating and Fusing Information from People and Things Today, the technologies for fusing data and information gathered by intelligent things are relatively mature. In contrast, theories and techniques for validating information from crowds are still immature, despite the existence of platforms and tools for this purpose. We aim to explore the synergic use of these complementary technologies with the goal of producing theories, techniques and tools for filtering, validating and fusing data and information from things and crowds as a means to improve coverage and mend breakages of disaster monitor and surveillance systems on the one hand and reducing human effort in validating the truthfulness and improving accuracies of information from crowds on the other hand. 
  4. Robust and Responsive Communication Resource Management Ineffective use of complementary network technologies, inability to self diagnose and speedily repair network outages and remove bottlenecks, and unresponsive delivery of critical information are some of the causes attributed to the ineffectiveness of our response during Marokot Typhoon. We aim to develop the enabling technologies for building an information gateway that is free of these weaknesses. As an example, for physical communication resource management, the project is exploring the use of heterogeneous, plug-n-play overlay networks to leverage complementary advantages of different network technologies and approaches. Our work emphasizes system management issues in the context of disaster response and will develop methods and tools for locating network outage(s) and bottleneck links/regions during and after disasters, and for selection of base station locations to ensure effective data transmissions given constraints of terrain, damages, and technologies.
  5. Dynamic, Distributed Logical Information Exchange The information system must also manage logical information exchange dynamically and responsively. An approach is to have this function supported in part by an information gateway component that provides distributed, flexible publish/subscription service(s) and in part by a virtual repository component called active storage system. The former enables the publishing of data and information by information sources and fusion modules to be released under specified conditions to specified subscribers. Some subscriber applications may prefer to pull data and information as needed. Our work emphasizes timeliness and high availability. Applications such as command and control and disaster warning systems can also be benefited from using push-data model. The active storage system enables applications to tag data and information of importance to them, define events and phenomena that will trigger push operations in terms of values of tagged information and specify the data sets and recipients of each push operation. Thus configured, the information system works like an active storage: It responds to specified external events by automatically pushing specified data and information to specified applications and/or end users.
  6. Models and Views for Virtualization and Visualization An OpenISDM must support models and interfaces for integration and inter-operability of sensors, sensor networks, and sensor webs. A challenge is to find scalable and economical means for fitting non-standard sources into a standard-based framework. In addition, the virtualization layer of OpenISDM aims to support common and standard schema, models, views and format of real-time, streaming, 3-D and 4-D geospatial-time data with different temporal and spatial resolutions. By leveraging advances in GIS, visualization and virtual reality technologies, the project is working to make tools for processing, analysis, fusion, and presentation of data in OpenISDM available to applications supported by the system. 
  7. Open Scientific and Historical Data for Fourth Paradigm of Research Today, whether scientific and technical data from public funding should be open is no longer a point of contention. Principles and guidelines for accessing public data have been developed by organizations such as OECD (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development). The OpenISDM project is building scientific and historical data on climate extremes, earth crustal deformation and faulting behavior, and weather related disasters. Making these data readily available, easy to access and use will be a significant contribution of the OpenISDM project to data-intensive research in disaster management and related areas. 
  8. Disaster Management Applications and Tools The project is also developing advanced applications and tools for disaster management. An example is a framework to support access and use of information in OpenISDM via thin clients (e.g., cell phones, GPS, etc.). Another example is a virtual/augmented reality simulation environment (called VARSE for short). The former will provide a general architectural foundation and support components for independent development of disaster management applications on diverse mobile devices and small appliances. The latter will enable simulators for different disaster scenarios and purposes to be constructed from reusable components, including executable models of disaster sites, underlying dynamics and geodynamics leading to crises, actions of people in different roles, etc. 
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