By Jackie Faselt and Scotty Davids
In the wake of a disaster or in the midst of humanitarian aid efforts, the uninterrupted flow of geospatial information is essential to all responders. Pacific Disaster Center (PDC) has developed and improved a technology which enables collaboration between response organizations. When an organization receives information from either voice, phone, or radio, they are able to input the information into a database. From there, response organizations can interpret where the greatest need is, how the supplies can be transported the quickest, and where the relevant assets are. The PDC has continued to improve upon this technology, and they are now making a transition to a new interface: DisasterAWARE.
CTNSP was invited to a discussion and demonstration of ROGUE (rapid open geospatial user-driven enterprise)/GeoSHAPE Transition to PDC’s DisasterAWARE. The new platform was created through collaboration between The PDC, Department of State Humanitarian Information Unit (HIU), and US Army Corps of Engineer Research and Development Center, Noblis, and Boundless. DisasterAWARE aims to ease the sharing of GIS data and allow for greater situational awareness for responding officials.
DisasterAWARE integrates multi-hazard monitoring with automatic modeling and historical data archives to create an early alert system for natural disasters. After a disaster occurs, the platform allows for interagency information sharing through alerts, situation reports, and damage assessments. DisasterAWARE will include pre-existing tools from GeoSHAPE that consist of a mobile application (Arbiter), a geospatial portal (GeoNode), and a web mapping client (MapLoom). Current users of the platform include the DoD, FEMA, USAID Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA), UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), American Red Cross, Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN), and many foreign governments including Indonesia and the Philippines. A public version of DisasterAWARE called ATLAS is available to the public and has many of the same features.
New features of DisasterAWARE, included an android supported application that could support data import from the field, which could then be synced to the platform once connected to the internet. The platform also tracks the history of every edit made to the map. That way, each map layer contains who provided the data and shows when and where the changes are made. Additionally, the application allows users to set up groups with different editing permissions.
DisasterAWARE and other similar crisis mapping platforms have the potential to lower the barrier to entry of sharing information in a post-disaster setting. This method of information organization is already being pursued by the DoD, and there may be expanding applications for other types of security threats. The development of DisasterAWARE is an inspiring example of a public-private partnership, a core value of the STAR-TIDES network.