Information Architecture of Emergency Response (for Designers)


Published on

Presentation to NYC IxDA on July 12, 2012 covering the role of designers and information architects in emergency response planning, tools and

  • Be the first to comment

  • Be the first to like this

No Downloads
Total views
On SlideShare
From Embeds
Number of Embeds
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide

Information Architecture of Emergency Response (for Designers)

  1. 1. The Information Architecture of Emergency Response (for Designers) Noreen Y. Whysel NYC IxDA July 12, 2012
  2. 2. NYC GeoSymposium 2001-2011-2021
  3. 3. Ground Zero, September 11, 2001Source: U.S. Navy photo by Chief Photographers Mate Eric J. Tilford (Wikipedia)
  4. 4. Firefighters, September 11, 2001Source: CNN
  5. 5. Man covered with ashes assisting a woman walking and holding a particle mask to her face, following theSeptember 11th terrorist attack on the World Trade Center, New York CitySource: Don Halesy, Library of Congress (Wikipedia)
  6. 6. Agenda: • Keynote: Mapping Evidence, Edward Tufte • 2001: Geospatial tools and techniques in 9/11 response and recovery • 2001-2011: Pervasive GIS, citywide geospatial implementations and developments • 2011-2021: Opportunities and challenges for future integration across NYC governmentFull Agenda:
  7. 7. Office of Emergency ManagementServices:• Plans and prepares for emergencies• Coordinates emergency response and recovery• Collects and disseminates emergency information• Educates the public about preparednessPersonnel:• Responders• Planners• Watch commanders• Administrative and support staff Citywide Incident Management System (CIMS)
  8. 8. 7 WTC: Emergency Operations Center• Located close to City Hall and agencies Generators Computer hardware Backup generators Telephones Water supply Radios Ventilation system Uninterruptible power supplies• GIS software and facilities data Flood zones Schools Evacuation routes Hospitals Emergency transp. routes Nursing homes Shelter locations• Evacuation and collapse – Redundant systems were lost or unavailable
  9. 9. 9/11/01: A Turning Point• A turning point in the way the City approaches data access and interoperability of systems• Catalyst for cooperation and public engagement• The imperative to improve data flow at least between agencies was clearNew York City’s Emergency Operations Center (EOC) set up at Pier 92 on the Hudson Riverfollowing the 9/11 attacks.Source: ArcNews
  10. 10. What is an Emergency Response Sytem?
  11. 11. Common Elements of an Emergency Response System• People• Measurement tools/devices• Data/Information Systems• Communication• Response
  12. 12. Emergency Response System • Ladder Companies, Engine Companies, Fire Marshalls, Special Operations • In-Car Radio, information systems, scanners, cameras, maps • Temperature, presence of smoke or other toxic fumes • 911 call, dispatch, additional services, reporting • Fire suppression, rescue, investigation, EMS
  13. 13. Emergency Response SystemNational Incident Management System, December 2008Source: U.S. Department of Homeland Security
  14. 14. Emergency Response System • Mother and baby • Thermometer • Temperature reading • Call to Doctor or 911 • Home treatment, doctor visit or ambulance
  15. 15. People (and organizations) Emergency Management Information SystemsPerson in Need First Responders Emergency Response System
  16. 16. Mental Model for an Emergency Response System Something Someone Emergency Aid is given Forms, BAD calls for help responder Forms, happens arrives Forms(Based loosely on Mental Models by Indi Young, Rosenfeld Media)
  17. 17. Develop Policies Drills and simulations Maps FormsComm Planning Monitor conditions Issue Warning Alerts Maps FormsComm Event Incident occurs Dispatch response units Maps FormsComm Dispatch Establish command Determine hazards Create restricted zones Maps FormsComm Assessment Locate victim/survivors Mitigate hazards Maps FormsComm Rescue/ Assistance Recovery Apprehension Investigation Maps FormsComm Emergency Response Incident Model Debriefing Post-Event
  18. 18. CIMS: Citywide Incident Management System (2005)• Response Framework – Roles and responsibilities – Chain of command by core competency – Common processes – Common vocabularies – Common organizational structure• Allows for Continuity of Operations• Complies with National Incident Management System• Compatible with other states and federal agency systems
  19. 19. Emergency Response Technologies
  20. 20. OEM Technologies• Command Facilities• Maps and Imaging• Sensors and Devices• Communications• Apps and Information Systems
  21. 21. Command Facilities Emergency Operations Center (2006)Source: NYC Office of Emergency Management,
  22. 22. Command Facilities Emergency Operations Center Plan Podium Human Services and x Utilities External Affairs GIS DoITT, OEM, Verizon, DOE, SHA, MOIA, HRA, ARC, ConEdison, LIPA, ISO, x x NYS Power Association OEM, CUNY, DFTA, CERT, 311, CAU Watch Command x x Situation Room Health and Medical Infrastructure 24x7 operation OEM Staff EOC Manager GNYHA, OCME, HHC, NYS OEM, DEP, HPD, DDC, DCAS, glass wall x x glass wall DOH, VA, REMSCO, EMS, US ACE, Parks, DSNY, DOB FDNY Public Safety x x Private Sector Courts, MTA PD, Sheriff, NYPD, OEM, BOMA, Universities, USCG, NG, FBI, DHS, PAPD, x x Consumer Affairs, HANYC, OEM SIFMA, REBNY, SBS, NYS INS, x Admin x NYS Bank, NYSE Logistics National/Regional Transportation x TLC, TRANSCOM, PATH, NYS DOT, FEMA, NYS OEM, WEST, NAS, OEM, Amtrak, NJT, MNRR, LIRR, SUF, PA OEM, NJSP, OMB, MTA LAW, NWS, OEM Logisticsx = OEM staff
  23. 23. Command FacilitiesWatch Command Center (2006)
  24. 24. Command FacilitiesFDNY Emergency Operations Center
  25. 25. Command Facilities Enhanced 911 Call CenterSource: New York City Police Department press release, January 5, 2012.
  26. 26. Command Facilities OEM Mobile Command Centers Interagency Command Center Mobile Data CenterInteragency Communications Vehicle Mobile CIMS Center
  27. 27. Command FacilitiesMobile Data Center (2003)
  28. 28. Maps and Imaging• NYCMAP: Basemap of NYC including streets, building footprint, some infrastructure• Infrastructure maps: Department of Buildings, Con Ed (power company), Department of Environmental Protection, Department of Transportation• LIDAR imaging• Thermal imaging• Aerial and satellite imagery
  29. 29. Maps and Imaging NYCityMap (2006)
  30. 30. Maps and Imaging LIDARLIDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) Images of WTCSource: NOAA/U.S. Army JPSDFor more images see Charting Ground Zero: Ten Years After
  31. 31. Maps and Imaging Thermal ImagingWTC – Thermal Imagery, September 16, 2001Source: New York State, Office for Technology (c2001) and EarthData International.
  32. 32. Maps and ImagingOblique Angle Aerial Photography
  33. 33. Sensors and Devices• Handheld GPS devices• Field input devices, tablets, digital pens• Seismographic, thermal sensors• Biometric (portable fingerprint scanner, etc.)• Chemical, biological, radioactive and nuclear (CBRN)• Motion sensors for traffic, structural integrity• Cameras• Dogs (chemical traces, human survivors)• Eyes and ears
  34. 34. Sensors and DevicesSource (clockwise): History Channel, and Lamont Dougherty, AP, HGVI (via,,,
  35. 35. Communications• Telephony, 911, 311, 511 (MTA Info)• NYCWiN: Wireless network• Mobile phones/devices• Radio• Websites, SMS, Twitter, Facebook• Ready NY Guides• Emergency Communications Transformation Program With land lines down and mobile (E911) systems overloaded, the BlackBerry phone was one of the few unimpeded methods of communication that worked in the aftermath of 9/11.
  36. 36. Communications Enhanced 911• Emergency Communications Transformation program introduced in 2004 after the 2003 blackout• Streamlines emergency call taking, communication and response times via: – Single operator – Improved texting capabilities – Geolocation for VoIP/mobile services – System interoperability• Public Safety Answering Center – I: Brooklyn (January 2012) – II: Bronx (estimated 2015)• Issue: Completed at $1 Billion over budget
  37. 37. Communications Enhanced 911 Call CenterSource:, Motorola VESTA e911 system.
  38. 38. Communications Next Generation 911• Standardized interfaces• Call processing (voice, text, data, multimedia)• Data integration for routing and handling• Delivers calls, messages and data to answering points and first responders• Supports data and video communications• Provides broadband services to public safety answering points and first responders
  39. 39. Communications NYC Wireless Network• NYCWiN network allows all the pieces to fit together• Access to city, state and federal databases and GIS• Warrant and license checks• Mobile ID (fingerprint, mugshots and biometrics)• Stream on-scene, live video to command centers and Mayor’s office , telemedicine videoconferencing
  40. 40. Communications Public Initiatives• 311 call center• Ready NY Guides• Notify NYC/Social Media• Community Emergency Response Team (CERT)
  41. 41. Communications Notify NYC• Staffed by OEM Watch Commanders• Twitter and RSS• Localized messages via phone, email, SMS• Taxi notification and electronic road signs operated by Dept of Transportation.• Emergency Alert System broadcasts severe emergency information via TV and radio.
  42. 42. Communications Social Media
  43. 43. Information Systems• E911 Call Center Systems• Situational Awareness for Field Response System• Citywide Asset and Logistics Management System• Unified Victim Identification System Source:
  44. 44. Information SystemsSituational Awareness for Field Response System (2010) Active Incident Dashboard Emergency Response Data Packet Generator
  45. 45. Case Study:Hudson River Parkway Wall Collapse
  46. 46. Hudson River Parkway Wall CollapseHenry Hudson Parkway Wall Collapses, May 12, 2005Source: The Gothamist
  47. 47. Elements of Response to a Wall Collapse Incident• People – victims, OEM, NYPD, FDNY, DOT, DOS, DOB, CAU, CERT, Tri-Borough Bridge and Tunnel Authority, Columbia University, Salvation Army, Red Cross, private hauling• Measurement tool/devices – seismographic sensors, thermal and satellite imaging, search dogs• Data/Information Systems – seismographic data, GIS, infrastructure maps, pictometry• Communication – radio communications, 911, ICC-1 mayoral briefings, agency planning meetings• Response – rescue, recovery, Citywide Incident Management System (CIMS), safety zone, evacuation, debris removal, stability tests, community assistance/temporary housing
  48. 48. Open Government
  49. 49. Road Map for the Digital City (2011)• Rachel Sterne, NYC Chief Digital Officer• Outlines City’s plans for – Access – Open Government – Public Engagement – Industry• Open Data Mandate, signed April 2012
  50. 50. Open Data Initiatives
  51. 51. Open Data InitiativesNYC BigApps 3.0 Winner - NYC Facets: Smart Open Data Exchange
  52. 52. App Contests and Hackathons
  53. 53. Opportunities for Designers in Emergency Response
  54. 54. Thinking in Systems• Elements of an Emergency Response System – People – Measurement tools/devices – Data/Information Systems – Communication – Response• Emergency Response Frameworks – Command Structure (NIMS, CIMS) – Common Operating Procedures
  55. 55. Role of Information ArchitectureQ. Please comment on the role of Information Architecture in your practice.• Do not employ “Information Architects”• Employ people who do IA tasks“We dont have staff with that title, “Yes, we employ IAs... broadlybut many in engineering and IT that do speaking, we have back-end systemsattempt to influence [IA], with a lot of GIS folks who clean up and producechaos as a result.” the RSDA tool, and front-line GIS--MTA Design Manager folks who report the data, and produce maps for first-responders.” --NY State DOT Employee
  56. 56. Digital Tools and First RespondersQ. What issues are most pressing in providing digital tools to first responders?• Ease-of-use• Accuracy of Data• Interoperability• Compatibility with legacy systems“Getting away from the ‘technical “Metadata isnt as key as immediacyuser’ mentality and providing in emergency situations, and accuracyinformation through tools/interfaces is important in as much as it helpsthat first responders are already make decisions, but in emergencies,familiar with, i.e. Google Maps, Google situations are fluid.”Earth, simple apps, etc.” --NY State DOT Employee--Google Earth consultant
  57. 57. Requirements vs Delivery GapsQ. Please comment on any gaps between the requirements of digitalapplications for first responders and what is delivered by digital designers?• Simplicity/Ease of use (again)• Coverage• Redundancy“The digital designers frequently come “If power and communicationsfrom a complicated technical mindset are out, remote sensing may notthat overloads on the options. Users work, so road conditions arewant simplicity and familiarity.” brought in via first-responders--Google Earth Consultant and then rebuilt using the NYS RSDA (Road Status and Damage Assessment) tool.” --NY State DOT Employee
  58. 58. Enhancing Geospatial Applications• Infrastructure Layer Integration: visualizing water, sewer, electric steam, gas, telecommunications, transit, etc.• Building Information Management: visualizing building infrastructure and security• Crowd Sourced Data: engaging the public to provide data to support emergency operations• Field Data Collection and Communications: On-the-scene data collection by first responders across many agencies• Common Operating Picture/Situational Awareness: Ability to access and share data in real time across wide geographic areas Source: NYC Office of Emergency Management
  59. 59. Managing Expectations• Data format - Does it work with your system? Is the data in a standard format or will it need to be converted for interoperablity?• Definitions - Make sure the vocabulary used by the data source matches up with your understanding and use. Acronyms and codes can be confusing.• Licensing - Are there restrictions on how the data can be used or whether it can be shared?• Cost – Are you prepared for cost of data security and maintenance? Can you economize?• Users – Do users understand appropriate uses? Do you take into account all uses?
  60. 60. What’s Happening Now?• NYC and Nationally – Open Data Mandate – Fully Integrated, Next Generation 911 – The Future of NYCWiN locally, broadband nationally – NYC as a Tech Center• Worldwide – Crowdsourcing – Integrated Handheld Devices – Open Source Toolkits – Mashup Applications – Simulation – 3D Visualization
  61. 61. CrowdsourcingOpen Street Map – Haiti Project
  62. 62. Open Source Toolkit Google Crisis Response
  63. 63. Open Source Toolkit Ushahidi Platform
  64. 64. Integrated Handheld Devices FiRST Bomb Response• IED/HAZMAT information• Current and forecasted weather information• Road network data• Email, phone, Google Maps and Search• iPhone/iPad, Android, and Window PC• $12 mobile, $100 PC• Restricted to .gov, .mil and .us users• Released June 26, 2012 Source: Department of Homeland Security, Science & Technology Directorate
  65. 65. Mashup Applications• Integrating social media with maps and sensors – USGS Earthquake TED system uses Twitter – Machine readable Twitter hashtags• Organizing response via social media – Times Picayune’s Katrina bulletin board – Red Cross Joplin Tornado project on Facebook Tweak the Tweet: proposed by – OEM Facebook updates Karen Starbird, PhD student at• Handheld applications University of Colorado, 2009 “Random Hacks of Kindness” – Inventory, geolocation conference was put to use in Haiti. – Language translation White Paper, “The Case for Integrating Crisis Response with Social Media, ” Red Cross
  66. 66. Virtual VolunteeringHumanity Road Hashboard
  67. 67. Simulation Exercises QuickNets Situational Awareness ToolPartners: Humanity Road, Rogue Genius, GeoIQ, Sahana Software Foundation
  68. 68. 3D Visualization Geoweb3D Geographic DataSource: Geoweb3D, GIS Services
  69. 69. 3D Visualization Geoweb3D Live Video IntegrationSource: Geoweb3D, GIS Services
  70. 70. Thank You!••• @nwhysel on Twitter
  71. 71. Resources Organizations and Meetups• ESRI Dev Meetup Group – Northeast:• GISMO• NY Data Visualization and Infographics Infographics/• NY Location Based Apps Meetup• New York City GIS & Cartography• NYC Office of Emergency Management
  72. 72. Resources Publications• Digital Communities:• Emergency Management:• Federal Computer Week:• Government Technology:• O’Reilly Radar Gov 2.0:
  73. 73. Resources Featured Tools - Government•• FEMA NIMS Framework:• Notify NYC:• NYC CIMS Framework:• NYCityMap:• NYC Digital Roadmap:• Socrata (govt open data platform):
  74. 74. Resources Featured Tools – Commercial• ArcGIS Explorer:• Adaptx Digital Pen:• Geoweb3D:• Linkspoint GPS:• Motorola E9-1-1 Systems:• OceanScan:• Smiths Detection:
  75. 75. Resources Featured Tools – Nonprofit• Google Crisis Response:• Humanity Road:• Open Street Map:• QuickNets:• Ushahidi:
  76. 76. Resources Hackathons and Application Contests• Big Apps 3.0 Contest:•• Change by Us:• Code for America:• Hack for Change:• Reinvent Green: