ArticlePDF Available

Crowdsourcing Solutions for Disaster Response: Examples and Lessons for the US Government

Authors:
  • Office of Inspector General at US State Department

Abstract and Figures

Crowdsourcing has become a quick and efficient way to solve a wide variety of problems - technical solutions, social and economic actions, fundraising and troubleshooting of numerous issues that affect both the private and the public sectors. US government is now actively using crowdsourcing to solve complex problems that previously had to be handled by a limited circle of professionals. This paper outlines several examples of how a Department of Defense project headquartered at the National Defense University is using crowdsourcing for solutions to disaster response problems.
Content may be subject to copyright.
Procedia Engineering 107 ( 2015 ) 27 33
Available online at www.sciencedirect.com
1877-7058 © 2015 Published by Elsevier Ltd. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license
(http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/).
Peer-review under responsibility of the Organizing Committee of HumTech2015
doi: 10.1016/j.proeng.2015.06.055
ScienceDirect
Humanitarian Technology: Science, Systems and Global Impact 2015, HumTech2015
Crowdsourcing Solutions For Disaster Response: Examples And
Lessons For The US Government
David Becker, Samuel Bendett*
Center for Technology and National Security Policy, National Defense University, Ft. Lesley J. McNair, Washington, DC 20319, USA
Abstract
Crowdsourcing has become a quick and efficient way to solve a wide variety of problems - technical solutions, social and
economic actions, fundraising and troubleshooting of numerous issues that affect both the private and the public sectors. US
government is now actively using crowdsourcing to solve complex problems that previously had to be handled by a limited circle
of professionals. This paper outlines several examples of how a Department of Defense project headquartered at the National
Defense University is using crowdsourcing for solutions to disaster response problems.
© 2015 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd.
Peer-review under responsibility of the Organizing Committee of HumTech2015.
Keywords: Department of Defense; DoD; disaster response, humanitrian assistance; crowdsourcing, GIS; TIDES, National Defense University;
sustainable support; Camp Roberts; Explosive Remnants of War; ERW; Sandy; South Sudan.
1. Introduction
National Defense University’s Center for Technology and National Security Policy (CTNSP) is home to TIDES
program - Transformative Innovation for Development and Emergency Support - a Department of Defense research
project dedicated to open-source knowledge sharing to promote sustainable support to populations under stress –
post-conflict, post-disaster, or impoverished. The project provides reach-back “knowledge on demand” to decision-
makers and those working in the field. It encourages public-private, whole-of-government, and trans-national
approaches to achieve unity of action among diverse organizations where there is no unity of control. Launched in
* Corresponding author.
E-mail address: samuel.bendett@ndu.edu
© 2015 Published by Elsevier Ltd. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license
(http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/).
Peer-review under responsibility of the Organizing Committee of HumTech2015
28 David Becker and Samuel Bendett / Procedia Engineering 107 ( 2015 ) 27 – 33
2007, it has accumulated years of experience related to non-traditional ways to tackle problems faced by the
Department of Defense [1].
TIDES is part of a broader project called STAR-TIDES (Sharing to Accelerate Research). TIDES encourages
innovation by tapping into a global network of distributed talent. Central to the STAR-TIDES efforts is the network
of thousands of nodes working on humanitarian assistance, disaster relief and emergency response issues - this
network includes US government, military and civilian contacts, their international counterparts, as well as a wide
variety of private, public and NGO-sector organizations, start-ups and individuals. TIDES often turns to this
network for solutions to problems encountered by the DoD in civil-military engagements during and after disasters,
as well as to inform DoD of the latest technology innovations and breakthroughs that can facilitate the US
military’s work in non-traditional settings, including domestic and international disasters and emergencies. This
network is at the heart of TIDES project experience with crowdsourcing solutions to disaster response problems.
2. Examples of turning to the crowd for solutions
2.1. Camp Roberts-RELIEF/JIFX interagency field experiments
Over the past four years, TIDES has been involved in efforts to familiarize our DoD colleagues with non-
government, non-military efforts to crowdsourced solutions in disaster settings. TIDES is part of a broader DoD-
sponsored set of quarterly field experiments, managed by the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, CA. The
purpose of this program, held at Camp Roberts, CA, is to provide a field experimentation resource for the
Department of Defense and other federal agencies. In addition, State Department, DHS, FEMA, National Geospatial
Intelligence Agency, local and international emergency management, disaster response and humanitarian assistance
organizations attend to create an innovative cooperative learning environment [2].
During November 2010- May 2012 field experiments, TIDES, NPS and our interagency/non-DoD partners
worked to develop an informal agreement to allow the US Government to release imagery to help catalyze voluntary
geographic information initiatives during emergencies. When the earthquake struck Haiti in January 2010, there
were no useful post-disaster maps of the dense urban environments there. Because the private sector released high-
resolution imagery and made it free to trace, 640 volunteers in the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap (HotOSM)
community surged to build a detailed map of Haiti in two and a half weeks. They completed over a year of
cartographic work in two weeksless time than it would have taken the US Government to write a contract--and
they did it for no cost. National Geospatial Intelligence Agency and Department of State’s Humanitarian
Information Unit (HIU) worked over consecutive Camp Roberts events for approximately a year and a half to
develop a process by which the US Government could systematically release satellite imagery to communities like
OpenStreetMap to help catalyze these types of free volunteer mapping efforts after future disasters [3].
This effort resulted in an informal agreement among agencies that has turned into a semi-official workflow
managed from the State Department HIU. This development created a policy implication for the Department of
Defense and US Government agencies active in disaster response: the use of satellite imagery to catalyze new
mapping data in a crisis zone is under active policy review at NGA and State [4].
Subsequently, work on crowdsourcing disaster imagery and data continued. During February 2012 - August 2012
field experiments, TIDES and our DoD and non-DoD partners, this time involving FEMA, Civil Air Patrol, and
Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team. FEMA saw NGA’s success with volunteer mapping and moved to create a
domestic capability that could collect and collate aerial imagery. Working with the Civil Air Patrol (CAP), FEMA
and NGA helped to rewrite the CAP’s Concept of Operations (CONOPS) for some of their traditional mission
assignments (the CAP collects a significant amount of post-disaster assessment imagery within the U.S.) [5]. In an
ad hoc (unplanned) experiment during May 2012 Camp Roberts-East event, ran and managed by the TIDES team,
members of the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team showed a process called MapMill for crowdsourcing the
categorization of the CAP imagery according to the level of damage shown in the photos [6]. This improvised rapid
29
David Becker and Samuel Bendett / Procedia Engineering 107 ( 2015 ) 27 – 33
development cycle (sometimes called a code sprint) led to a paradigm shift that was implemented during Hurricane
Sandy, when over 5,000 volunteers used the MapMill platform to categorize 35,000 images from the CAP in a
matter of hours. According to the Deputy Administrator of FEMA, this process decreased the time for delivering
individualized assistance to affected households by several days [7].
Figure 1: Camp Roberts participants, August 2012
Figure 2: Camp Roberts participants, August 2012
2.2. DCMO Challenge on designing mobile ERW Reporting System
During 2014, at the request of DoD’s Deputy Chief Management Office (DCMO), TIDES team challenged
global software and mobile developers to come up with a mechanism to keep “eyes on the street” and transform
ordinary citizen’s mobile devices into tools that could be used to report Explosive Remnants of War (ERW),
Unexploded Ordnance (OXO) and landmines to the appropriate authorities. The contest encouraged participants to
create open-source applications, as well as to leverage existing apps. Our task was to phrase the Challenge so that
developers at any level- from beginner to expert - could easily understand the issue and create a simple technical
solution. The solution had to function on both existing simple mobile devices, and the increasingly ubiquitous smart
phones which are rapidly proliferating across the developing world and regions most likely to be affected by UXOs
and ERWs. The top requirement for the challenge was to produce a simple, easy to understand SMS application.
We tasked potential developers to take into account 2G Phones the most widespread type of phones in use
globally; Short Systems Messaging (SMS) one of the most widespread ways to communicate; and Mobile Smart
Phones (3G). All submissions had to demonstrate how the new or improved application would produce or improve
ERW or landmine reporting, and how the solution would be sustained following the completion of the competition
30 David Becker and Samuel Bendett / Procedia Engineering 107 ( 2015 ) 27 – 33
While TIDES has engaged non-traditional stakeholders in support of disaster response, we did not have
established contacts in the demining or ERW removal communities. Therefore, on the advice of the James Madison
University’s Center for International Stabilization and Recovery, which publishes the Journal of ERW and Mine
Action, our team reached out to a number of NGOs and international organization active in this field of work. The
most important advice received and incorporated into the challenge was that this effort should seek to address the
problem that the civilians, who are more likely to find ERWs, UXOs and landmines, live mostly in the rural
communities; are more likely to be working in agriculture, utilizing land resources daily; and are likely to have
limited education/low rates of literacy. Therefore, the most successful solution had to address this concern by
providing the simplest reporting system, streamlining training and familiarity. Various NGOs also advised us to
address translation and language issues for various countries and regions, giving preference to a language-neutral
technological approach that can work in a variety of regions and cultures - such as using iconography instead of text
[8].
Figure 3: Channel16 ERW Challenge submission
On September 23, 2014, CTNSP officially announced the winners of the Challenge on its website and via official
press release. The CTNSP ERW and Land Mine Reporting Apps Challenge first place winner and recipient of a
$3,000 cash award was Channel 16 - Land Mine Reporting (LMR), which reports suspicious findings with text,
photos, or audio messages, and alerts other users nearby. In second place with a $1,500 cash award was Flare which
allows 2G, SMS based mine reporting at a very low cost. Finally, in third place with a $500 cash prize was ERW
Detector which helps detect and report explosive remnants of war [9]. The winners were networked with US
Combatant Commands active in ERW and mine clearance, as well as organizations such as JIEDDO Joint IED
Defeat Organization, part of DoD.
2.3. STAR-TIDES Network responds to 2012 Hurricane Sandy
Hurricane Sandy hit the US East Coast in late October 2012, and quickly became one of the most costly storms in
United States history in terms of damage and disruption, second only to Hurricane Katrina. The storm flooded parts
of New Jersey and New York, and knocked out power along the East Coast. The United States enacted measures to
prepare for the hurricane, learning from Katrina that preparation and evacuation can mitigate loss of life. As millions
in New York and New Jersey lost their power, relief organizations mobilized to help. TIDES went to work by
facilitating relief efforts, providing an example of the benefits of public-private partnership during a natural disaster.
31
David Becker and Samuel Bendett / Procedia Engineering 107 ( 2015 ) 27 – 33
TIDES helped the Sandy relief effort by facilitating a transaction of information between its network and a local
New York NGO. Lisa Orloff, of the World Cares Center [10], contacted TIDES after the storm, and asked for help
with heating solutions for people in Rockaway, NY, who had lost their power and heat. The TIDES team went to
work and contacted the STAR-TIDES network for any information about sustainable heating solutions that would
benefit the people of Rockaway. TIDES sent out the call to the network via email asking for information about non-
electric heating solutions that could provide heat for single rooms to support relief efforts. Specifically, TIDES
asked for heating solutions that were portable, low cost, commercially available, non-electric, and safe for indoor
use.
Members of the STAR-TIDES network responded with many different ideas to solve Orloff’s request. Mark
Apfelbacher, Director of Environmental Procurement for The Stratford Companies, responded with information
about a portable catalytic space heater, and provided 1,200 of the units to World Cares Center for use to the relief
effort. The propane heater is small, safe for indoor use, and retails for $45. Stratford also procured the propane
required for the people of Rockaway to use these heaters.
The Hurricane Sandy call to the network was an important realization of efforts TIDES practices during quarterly
DoD-sponsored Research and Experimentation for Local and International Emergency First-Responders (RELIEF)
exercises held at Camp Roberts, California. The RELIEF events help to allow different disaster relief organizations
to meet and share technology, ideas, and strategies for dealing with crises. By meeting and establishing relationships
before disasters strike, the first responders are better able to collaborate during emergencies.
2.4. STAR-TIDES Network Mobilizes to Assist South Sudan Village
On December 23, 2012 a small electrical fire turned devastating for the first modern clinic in Old Fangak, South
Sudan. After three years of construction, roughly half of the nearly completed clinic, most of its medical supplies,
and solar power generators were destroyed in a matter of minutes. Among the ruined medical supplies was a year’s
worth of medicine meant to treat Kala-azar disease, a prevalent parasitic disease that is lethal if left untreated.
Following the devastation, Jon Waterhouse, a National Geographic Fellow (NGF), reached out to fellow NGF and
TIDES’ Ethical Advisor John Francis, requesting any support our organization could provide, large or small.
Figure 4. Old Fangak affected villagers
It took only one day for the TIDES team to receive word of the devastation and jump into action. Leveraging the
global STAR-TIDES network, a public-private, whole of government and transnational initiative, we were able to
32 David Becker and Samuel Bendett / Procedia Engineering 107 ( 2015 ) 27 – 33
tap into the network for support. The response from the network was swift, with several organizations offering to
donate and replace the destroyed equipment and medicine.
Samaritan’s Purse, an international relief organization, extended an offer to ASMP to donate and deliver
replacement medical materials.
While Samaritan’s Purse provided much of the desperately needed medical supplies, they were unable to provide
RDTs, used in the treatment of Kala-azar disease. Luckily, the World Health Organization was able and willing to
donate enough of the lifesaving medication to meet the clinic’s needs.
Solar Stik, a STAR-TIDES network member, not only provided three solar kits to replace those destroyed in the
fire free of charge; they shipped the kits to Miami for no cost as well. The costs for both equipment and shipment to
Miami totaled $162,753. DHL Global introduced to this effort by STAR-TIDES network members- shipped the
three solar kits provided by SolarStik from Miami to Nairobi for free, where they were subsequently shipped to Old
Fangak. This effort was profiled in 2013 by the National Geographic online publication [11].
4. Conclusion
These crowdsourcing for solutions examples demonstrate that a small DoD entity like CTNSP and its TIDES
Project can quickly and efficiently tap into the rapidly growing private sector/NGO expertise on a variety of issues,
including situational awareness and off-the-shelf commercial applications (COTS). Recent reports and deliberations
in the US military and civilian parts of the US government point to the need for accurate and timely situational
reports and incorporation of private-sector efforts through partnerships and pre-determined agreements. Such
process can be cumbersome if each government agency continues its stove-piped approach that lacks cooperation
and coordination with other sections of the US government. This is where TIDES Project efforts come in - as a
mature 8-year effort that looks at the broadest cross-section of commercial and private sector solutions, our work -
not limited by the examples in the paper - has resulted in rapid availability of solutions to a variety of US
government customers, both military and civilian.
The successes cited here is predicated on the fact that TIDES Project grew and nurtured the global STAR-TIDES
network over the course of 8 years our team conducted research and analysis of available solutions and various
technology efforts undertaken by the private sector and academic institutions, and, most importantly, maintained
regular contact with individuals, organizations and entities working on providing solutions to distressed populations.
While over time this network grew to almost 5,000 contacts, it did not automatically mean that a ready solution
could always be available to a given problem. On the other hand, maintaining such a global network ensured that if a
problem had to be solved, we could count on multiple available efforts to help us with ideas and advice.
However, TIDES learned that while non-government sector can deliver a desired technical or policy solution, that
in no way guarantees that the government efforts at applying it to its concept of operations is going to match the
speed and agility of the private and non-government sectors. Our efforts had to do as much with continued reminder
to our government customers of the utility of quick and easy solutions, as with trying to understand and navigate
government bureaucracy which included a much slower process of evaluating the results, and competition with
costlier government projects with significant sunk costs.
The most significant lesson learned revolved around finding and selecting the right partner in the US government
and Department of Defense to incorporate such non-government, off-the shelf-solutions into their concept of
operations. All too often, TIDES elicited interest from various science and technology (S&T), research and
development (R&D) and NGO-networked government officials who knew that TIDES-affiliated solutions were the
right fix, but had no mandate or funding to follow the technological and policy progress of such solutions. Such
officials remained supporters of the work in principle, and sometimes on paper, but for various reasons could do no
more. It was crucial for TIDES to find the right partners in the DoD community who were not only open to the types
33
David Becker and Samuel Bendett / Procedia Engineering 107 ( 2015 ) 27 – 33
of crowdsourcing solutions that STAR-TIDES network could offer, but were willing to also fund the testing of such
technologies and to fully participate in the open dialogue with non-government technology providers in a
transparent fashion. Selecting such partners enabled the STAR-TIDES network to showcase, test, refine and
ultimately implement such crowdsourced solutions that aided DoD, US government and US-government aligned
international efforts.
Overall, TIDES Project remains optimistic that crowdsourcing can greatly benefit Department of Defense and US
Government efforts in helping affected populations in post-disaster and post-conflict zones. As examples in this
paper demonstrate, there is great benefit with tapping into the power of the crowd - a process that will continue to
mature, evolve and define the way we help others today, tomorrow and in the future. In the future, TIDES hopes to
continue informing appropriate DoD staff of emerging technological solutions that can aid in the response, recovery
and informational awareness during natural and man-made disasters, and place its network at the disposal of those
willing to cooperate in order to provide sustainable support to populations under stress.
Acknowledgements
The authors thank Dr. Linton Wells II, former CTNSP Director and former TIDES Project Director, for his
tireless work over the past 8 years in bringing sustainable solutions to populations under stress, and for bringing
awareness of crowdsourced solutions to the Department of Defense agencies tasked with providing support in post-
disaster and post-conflict settings. This effort also acknowledges work done by LouElin Dwyer and Nelly Mobula,
Tides Project analysts, over the past 5 years. The authors also thank John Crowley, former TIDES Project
contractor, for his incredible efforts in facilitating Department of Defense work with non-government, non-military,
private and non-profit sector actors active in disaster response and humanitarian assistance.
References
[1] www.star-tides.net
[2] http://my.nps.edu/web/fx/what-is-jifx-
[3] Data taken from the internal CTNSP manuscript, Policy-Related Outcomes from Camp Roberts Activities, co-author ed by Lin Wells,
Sam Bendett, and John Crowley. National Defense University (NDU), Center for Technology and National Security Policy (CTNSP), July
2013.
[4] Ibid.
[5] Ibid.
[6] Ibid.
[7] https://www.fema.gov/media-library/assets/videos/80995
[8] Data taken from the CTNSP internal report, 2014 National Defense University Challenge on Gathering and Reporting Data on
Explosive Remnants of War and Land Mines, Samuel Bendett, National Defense University (NDU), Center for Technology and National
Security Policy (CTNSP), October 2014.
[9] Ibid.
[10] http://www.worldcares.org/
[11] http://voices.nationalgeographic.com/2013/01/18/from-alaska-with-love-aid-helps-african-clinic-recover-from-fire/
... Le processus d'alerte peut faire intervenir plus de 50 acteurs aux prérogatives diverses (Kouadio, 2016), ce qui le rend complexe (Dedieu, 2009 ;Douvinet, 2018) et peu lisible pour les individus (Gisclard, 2017). Il responsabilise les acteurs politiques, mais ces derniers souffrent d'un manque d'information, alors qu'ils doivent être en mesure d'alerter dans un délai parfois très court leurs administrés (Créton-Cazanave, 2010 ; Daupras et al., 2015 ;Douvinet et al., 2011 ;Vinet, 2010 (Daupras et al., 2015 ;Douvinet, 2018 ;Kouadio, 2016 ;Vogel, 2017 Dans le domaine de la gestion des risques, de nombreux travaux ont démontré les bénéfices apportés par l'IoT, que ce soit pour la veille des phénomènes (Auclair and Bertil, 2009 ;García, 2012), la gestion de crise (Becker and Bendett, 2015 ;Fragkiadakis et al., 2011 ;Linardi, 2016 ;Palen et al., 2009) ou le relèvement post-catastrophe (Marsden, 2013 ;Okolloh, 2009). Si l'on dresse un bilan des avantages mis en avant dans ces travaux, les objets connectés offrent une amélioration de la mesure des aléas en temps réel, de la communication (dans et hors de la crise) et de l'organisation des secours. ...
... There are some works based on crowdsourcing to give answers to problems of natural disasters like [6], where the authors present examples of how the Department of Defense of the US uses crowdsourcing for solutions to disaster response problems. They conclude that there is a great benefit in taking advantage of the power of the crowd and the importance of cooperate with the private sector. ...
Article
Full-text available
We present a distributed platform aimed to process photos taken after a natural disaster strikes by people witnesses of the situation. These photos have to be processed as quickly as possible to collect statistical data used by the decision makers to coordinate rescue teams. A photo can be classified using a predefined taxonomy such as infrastructure and service, affected people, emotional support, among others. Some photos can be classified automatically while other photos require human intervention. The proposed platform is organized in three layers: an architecture, a communication pattern algorithm and optimization modules. The architecture is based on a community of digital volunteers forming a peer-to-peer network. The digital volunteers receive photos from a centralized server that collects and integrates the results into the management process to improve the general understanding of the situation or rescue actions. We present three communication pattern algorithms that define the flow of tasks between the volunteers and the server. The first algorithm is based on point-to-point communication and the other two algorithms use cache techniques inside the peer-to-peer network. Our proposal is devised for short term campaigns and we aim to speed-up the image processing process, to reduce the workload of the server and to reduce communication latency between the server and the volunteers. We evaluate our proposed platform under highly demanding task traffic rates. We analyze the impact of the input parameters of each communication pattern algorithm. We evaluate the performance of our proposed platform with different approaches presented in the technical literature which are deployed as optimization modules. Results show that the performance of the platform when using the cache-based communication pattern algorithms can outperform the one-to-one communication algorithm under high task traffic rates.
... Le processus d'alerte peut faire intervenir plus de 50 acteurs aux prérogatives diverses (Kouadio, 2016), ce qui le rend complexe (Dedieu, 2009 ;Douvinet, 2018) et peu lisible pour les individus (Gisclard, 2017). Il responsabilise les acteurs politiques, mais ces derniers souffrent d'un manque d'information, alors qu'ils doivent être en mesure d'alerter dans un délai parfois très court leurs administrés (Créton-Cazanave, 2010 ; Daupras et al., 2015 ;Douvinet et al., 2011 ;Vinet, 2010 (Daupras et al., 2015 ;Douvinet, 2018 ;Kouadio, 2016 ;Vogel, 2017 Dans le domaine de la gestion des risques, de nombreux travaux ont démontré les bénéfices apportés par l'IoT, que ce soit pour la veille des phénomènes (Auclair and Bertil, 2009 ;García, 2012), la gestion de crise (Becker and Bendett, 2015 ;Fragkiadakis et al., 2011 ;Linardi, 2016 ;Palen et al., 2009) ou le relèvement post-catastrophe (Marsden, 2013 ;Okolloh, 2009). Si l'on dresse un bilan des avantages mis en avant dans ces travaux, les objets connectés offrent une amélioration de la mesure des aléas en temps réel, de la communication (dans et hors de la crise) et de l'organisation des secours. ...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
L'offre en matière d'alerte descendante (à destination des populations) est très hétérogène en France. Elle est diversifiée selon les territoires (aléas, enjeux, culture du risque) et selon les acteurs et leurs prérogatives. Dans cette étude, notre attention se porte sur les objets connectés (des smartphones aux capteurs automatisés), qui se présentent comme de "nouvelles solutions" délivrant des messages plus précis, plus rapides, voire plus adaptés aux territoires. Cet article dresse les apports de ces outils pour l'alerte en France. Il porte notamment le débat sur la nécessité d'adopter un moyen d'alerte connecté à l'échelle nationale, pour éviter de trop grandes disparités territoriales et disposer d'outils d'alerte performants en période de crise.
... Authoritative and non-authoritative organisations recognised social media's power and the possibilities of citizen science to better respond to various challenges (Becker and Bendett, 2015;Hossain, 2020;Mooney et al., 2011). Although there are differences between citizen postings and official announcements, in this case, citizens were used as an adjunct and provide valuable original information (David et al., 2016). ...
Article
Full-text available
As climate change continues, wildfire outbreaks are becoming more frequent and more difficult to control. In mid-July 2017, a forest fire spread from the forests to the city of Split in Croatia. This unpredictable spread nearly caused emergency systems to collapse. Fortunately, a major tragedy was avoided due to the composure of the responsible services and the help of citizens. Citizens helped to extinguish the fire and provided a large amount of disaster-related information on various social media platforms in a timely manner. In this paper, we addressed the problem of identifying useful Volunteered Geographic Information (VGI) and georeferenced social media crowdsourcing data to improve situational awareness during the forest fire in the city of Split. In addition, social media data were combined with other external data sources (e.g., Sentinel-2 satellite imagery) and authoritative data to establish geographic relationships between wildfire phenomena and social media messages. This article highlights the importance of using georeferenced social media data and provides a different perspective for disaster management by filling gaps in authoritative data. Analyses from the presented reconstruction of events from multiple sources impact a better understanding of these types of events, knowledge sharing, and insights into crowdsourcing processes that can be incorporated into disaster management.
... Humans have a better perception of risks when they have been integrated in the design and preventive phase (Gaillard et al., 2010;Garcia, 2012). Citizens are empowered to observe and transmit data through the Internet, connected objects or crowdmapping (Becker and Bendett, 2015;Riccardi, 2016;Ziemke, 2012). In addition, decision centers need to quickly acquire accurate information in times of crisis (Villela et al., 2018). ...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
The number of smartphone applications to alert and inform the population in a risk situation in France is too large and these solutions are still unknow by the population. This study proposes an evaluation protocol based on various indicators, which take into account the capacity of the applications to send a targeted alert, their attractiveness, the ability of individuals to emit information and number of hazards considered. The results obtained on 50 applications deployed in France show that very few of them meet the objectives of the alert, in the sense defined by civil security, because of a single-risk approach, a unique sense of communication, and the low acceptance of these solutions by citizens.
... Crowdsourcing is the main center of attention in this system, it allows the crowd to participate in the crowdsourcing engagements through the social media. The crowdsourcing provides the user-friendly platform that can collect the data from the affected population and then this data can be used in the rescue and relief operations [24]. A paradigm of an effort to implement crowdsourcing to help the rescue and relief community is Ushahidi (www.ushahidi.com) ...
Article
Full-text available
Whenever a fatal landslide occurs the first responders are always the news agencies and victims themselves. The news agencies use their different sources to capture the current situation. Most of the times the news agencies use the social media as the news gathering source, but the free format of social media allows anyone and everyone to post whatever they like, that makes it vulnerable to misinformation and rumors. In the proposed system the authentic registered users post the information regarding the disaster with already specified keywords and finally the information published by the user is analyzed and the decision is taken whether to send the SMS and Mail alert to the users or not. It is important that more than one user should tweet with the same keyword regarding the disaster at a particular place. In the modification, apart from the proposed system, the project utilizes Zigbee, Global System for Mobile communication (GSM), Internet of Things (IoT) and short message service (SMS) for the user to server and server to user communication to send the alerts on the victim's phone.
... Messages are also well recognized to successfully complete the sound signal or sirens ( Leo et al., 2015;Zunkel et al., 2015), to increase the empowerment of people by knowledge ( Becker and Bendett, 2015;Fajardo and Oppus, 2009;Jagtman, 2010) or/and to help people to take the right decisions during alarms (Bean et al., 2016;Zhang et al., 2004). In addition, when we look at the number of sirens deployed in other countries or other cities (Table 1), we see that their number varies markedly 75 and that coverage rates are heterogeneous. ...
Preprint
Full-text available
Abstract. This paper discusses the usefulness of keeping sirens to alert in an emergency situation likely to harm the physical integrity of property or the population in France. Sirens are the main pillars of the National Alert Network (NAN) deployed from 1954 to 2010, and these tools remain the basis of the future Population Alerting and Information System (SAIP) planned for 2022. Sirens are intended to interrupt social activities, and to induce adequate behavior from the authorities and the population potentially endangered. But this ongoing priority raises questions: sirens present technical drawbacks; they have rarely been used (only two times in 60 years); the authorities minimize the potential of connected tools like social media, Cell Broadcast (CBC) Geo-localized Short Message Services, or Smartphone applications. Analyzing the changes observed in our literature review and the lessons learned from two other countries, Belgium and the USA, we conclude that the integration of sirens in a multi-channel platform and the use of the Common Alerting Protocol (CAP) should sublimate the meaning of siren signals, if the authorities really want to make sirens part of an effective solution to alert people in France.
... emergency manager) might be expected to navigate such challenges on their own, there is a growing recognition of the role that public effort (e.g. crowdsourcing) can play in various problem domains, including crisis management (Becker & Bendett, 2015;Roberts & Doyle, 2017). This recognition, in turn, gives further weight to system evaluation work, including studies with lay users that lack domain awareness and prior training. ...
Article
This paper advances the state-of-the-art in methodology design for empirical evaluation of (geo)visual analytics software. Specifically, we describe the process of design, development and application of a prototypical user study tailored to the evaluation of complex geovisual analytics tools that focus on social media analysis. We fist perform a synthesis of existing theory and best practices for software evaluation of comparable systems. We then demonstrate how the product of said synthesis – a methodological ‘check list’ – can be used to inform a proof-of-concept user study of an actual geovisual analytics software system. The resulting user study design accommodates for the use of real geographic social media datasets, the complexity of the intended analytical process, and for the learning challenges faced by the participants working with a fully-functional and mature geovisual analytics application, and is likely representative of a wide range of evaluation scenarios in (geo)visual analytics. A complete summary of all the study instruments is included to encourage their scrutiny, reuse and modification by others. Finally, we have discovered that participants’ curiosity and desire for autonomy played a noticeable role in the evaluation process – something not previously reported.
Chapter
The novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19), which broke out in the end of 2019, has caused significant impacts on transportation society and led to a dramatic drop of public transit ridership. Transportation studies have not reached an agreement whether there is a connection between the use of urban public transit and the transmission of COVID-19. Many transit riders avoid taking public transit for commuting and other activities because of their concerns about the crowding environment on transit that might become an incubator for virus spreading. It calls for transit agencies to respond to the contests efficiently and effectively with newly available data, innovative techniques, and advanced policies and procedures. To predict, prevent, monitor, and respond to epidemics appropriately, planners and decision makers need to acquire real time epidemiological information from transit riders and operators timely, analyze data quickly, and turn the research findings into suitable actions and effective transportation policies. This research reviews the public transit status in the U.S. and scrutinizes the studies on the connections between public transit and COVID-19 dissemination. It proposes a conceptual framework that employs crowdsourcing technique to obtain real time epidemiological information from transit riders and operators timely, analyze the data quickly, and turn the research findings into suitable actions and policies to block the infectious diseases and improve public transit safety. A crowdsourcing-based public transportation information system (CB-PTIS) is adopted to monitor and respond to the infectious diseases in public transit system. It aims to obtain crowdsourced data together with real-time information, which is compiled by the CB-PTIS to support the decision-making process in public transportation management during the COVID-19 era. The CB-PTIS has several key components that help to implement rules and regulations to prevent the spread of the coronavirus disease. This study also discusses the policy implications to implement the CB-PTIS.
Policy-Related Outcomes from Camp Roberts Activities
Data taken from the internal CTNSP manuscript, Policy-Related Outcomes from Camp Roberts Activities, co-authored by Lin Wells, Sam Bendett, and John Crowley. National Defense University (NDU), Center for Technology and National Security Policy (CTNSP), July 2013. [4] Ibid. [5] Ibid. [6] Ibid.
National Defense University Challenge on Gathering and Reporting Data on Explosive Remnants of War and Land Mines
Data taken from the CTNSP internal report, 2014 National Defense University Challenge on Gathering and Reporting Data on Explosive Remnants of War and Land Mines, Samuel Bendett, National Defense University (NDU), Center for Technology and National Security Policy (CTNSP), October 2014.