ICTs Integration for Disaster Management

Efficiently responding to large-scale natural or man-made disasters requires many complex tasks to be performed by multiple actors under time pressure, resource constraints and often adverse conditions. Major disasters involve several organizations in the rescue operations, such as governmental, non-governmental, communities, etc. This diversity of organizations requires a need for close coordination and generates a massive amount of information exchange for an effective collaboration and decision making. In such disaster situations, traditional communication services such as cellular mobile networks and Internet access may be overloaded or completely inoperable, leading to chaos among these organizations. Recently, several projects have been conducted on the use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) for disaster management. ICTs have drawn much attention due to the potential they offer in supporting the important needs for communication and information sharing in these situations. Among the most active free open source software projects, and Ushahidi, Sahana. Sahana is a web based application that aims to be a solution for information management in relief operations for collection, registration and dissemination of data concerning the involved organizations, missing persons, or available shelter. Ushahidi platform is a tool to easily crowdsource information using multiple channels, including SMS, email, Twitter and the web. It uses maps from several providers to give a global view of the disaster area. However, each of these softwares covers partially the coordination and collaboration needs in disaster management. This rises the need for integrating several tools to support communication and information management for efficient coordination and decision making in disaster situations. In this demo, we show how it is possible to use the above open source solutions as a single cohesive global system that can be rapidly and easily deployed by the involved organizations. The proposed solution ensures communication activities and provides information system and data management support for the basic functionalities of disaster management. In fact we targeted two-level architecture: the communication infrastructure level and the information level. We propose a deployment of a robust communication infrastructure based on wireless mesh networks to cover the affected area. This wireless infrastructure ensures multimedia communication (VoIP, Video, text, files, ...) between emergency rescue teams and allows to collect data in order to get better and nearly real time are becoming more and more popular. situation awareness. To allow the rescue teams to collaborate with a distant command headquarter, we deployed locally on-site instances of Sahana, Ushahidi, OpenStreetMap data Server and a SIP Server. This corresponds to the information level. Moreover, to reach inaccessible areas in disaster field, we use drones equipped with IP cameras and mobile sinks to gather information from already deployed sensor nodes. We developed a module that extends Ushahidi with a new information channel provided by sensor nodes, such that all gathered information are directly displayed as events on an Ushahidi map. To show the efficiency of the proposed integrated solution, experiments were conducted in CERIST simulating an earthquake that engendered unreachable zones, fires and floods. The wireless mesh network infrastructure and the different servers were locally deployed. The emergency rescue teams used our solution to coordinate between them and with a distant command headquarter for efficient decision making.
Disaster Management, Integration, VoIP, Mesh Network, Sensor Network, Sahana, Ushahidi, Open Street Map, SIP, Webmapping, Crowdsourcing