Bonjour toute le monde, Good morning Everybody – On behalf of the federal government of Canada if I can be so presumptious, I’d like to welcome our international guests in this important area of Information Systems for Crisis Response and Management. I’d like to thank the organizers for inviting me – brian Fisher, john Dill and others – I spend a lot of time briefing this topic amongst emergency managers and first responders, and with a diverse group of engineers in the tool development world – but I think this is the first time we’ve had a chance to air our MASAS system in front of such an academically strong group of scientists. A little bit intimidating but I truly welcome the challenge. I look forward to interacting with you and hopefully exchanging some ideas and maybe even research opportunities for where we can go with this in the future – as a funding agency for research – I invite you to consider some of the possibilities that we see this technology is making possible in a short time- that is rather unique.
So this is my outline for what I want to subject you all to this morning – I think I have an interesting story to tell you, I am extremely proud and excited about the rapid progress we have had in Canada in relation to enhancing Situational Awareness amongst Emergency Managers. I will touch on my program very briefly – because as you may have noticed we have a booth setup in the atrium and I welcome you to drop by and find out more about the Centre for Security Science. While here in Canada we have not “had our Katrina or our 9/11” yet, I do think key incidents can be catalysts for taking action and I will point to a couple of recent ones that I believe played a role in moving us forward. My overall theme is about how we decomplexed the problem of information sharing so that a simple solution can make a difference.I believe we owe our success to some fairly strategic decisions we employed and I’ll go over those. Finally I hope I will end off my talk with enough of a picture of how a system like MASAS can provide an information resource that can lead to innovation - by this I mean new capabilities that can harvest this real-time resource of trustable “what is happening now” information to provide enhanced decision support. Last but not least – if we do have time and technology permits – I’ll flash up a very short video clip that we have put together on MASAS.
The Centre for Security Science is a federally funded program whose mission is to engage S&T along with considerations of policy, operations and intelligence in strengthening Canada’s ability to deal with natural disasters and all forms of malicious threat. While we are by no means funded to the same level, we see ourselves as quite similar in mandate and focus as the Department of Homeland Security S&T, and in fact have a treaty where we do quite a bit of close collaboration – after all for those of you that are not familiar with Canadian geography – it may be of interest to know that 75% of the Canadian population resides within an hours drive of the US border.
Our centre is actually affiliated with the larger Defence R&D Canada agency which has 5 sister centers across the country as shown here. Again in the interest of time I won’’t dwell on what our programs cover in relation to disaster mitigation but invite you to drop by our booth and you should find that we are funding research in almost all areas that you can imagine that are relevant to crisis management.
So as I alluded in my opening, while we have not had our Katrina yet, I would like to mention two significant and relatively recent events that I believe served as somewhat of a catalyst or ‘call to action’ by our Centre for Security Science in terms of pushing forward to enhance information sharing for emergencies in Canada. The first and probably most poignant event occurred a few years ago during an annual spring flood seasons in New Brunswick. One afternoon a 911 call came in from a young girl who was home alone with her 16 year old asthmatic brother who had gone into respiratory distress. An ambulance was dispatched for what should have been a 10-15 minute response time. However enroute to the farmhouse the ambulance encountered a washed out back road and had to backup and try another route only to find that it too had been washed out. By the time the ambulance had found the only accessible route 54 minutes passed and the boy passed away. Meanwhile, unbeknownst to the dispatch center or the drivers of the ambulance, information on road closures were in fact available on a web site maintained by the ministry of highways with a long list of alphabetically and numerically listed road closures. Following a public inquiry known as the Brady Report, it was decided that New Brunswick would take pro-active measures to prevent this sort of instance from ever happening again just because left hand did not know what right hand knew. The National Resources Canada Geoconnections program funded the first prototype of the Multi-Agency Situational Awareness System shortly after this incident. Today New Brunswick continues to lead the country in its pro-active application of MASAS and as I will show you in my talk – they have truly empowered themselves with this tool. The second example that caught our attention happened a couple of years ago during a freak snowstorm off the east coast of Lake Huron that dumped in excess of 100 cm of snow in less than 36 hours in the small county of Lambton and the city of Sarnia. Over 200 vehicles were stranded on the highway for up to 48 hours with temperatures plumetting below -20C. A wide variety of agencies responded including military helicopters – however after action reports illustrated how poor information sharing was resulting in very inefficient response – with some vehicles being checked on repeatedly by various agencies while others were never visited even once. There was also an incident of an ambulance being dispatched to evacuate a pregnant mother only to find that after an hour long trip to get to her that a military helicopter had already taken her away half an hour previously. As a result the counties of Lambton and the city of Sarnia is one of the most pro-active regions in Canada for the uptake of MASAS – they also happen to have the highest risk area in Canada with over 20 sq. km of refineries.
So I’d like to take a moment here and consider the complexity of the information sharing problem. I believe a key aspect is what I will call the ‘fear factor’ associated with rapid real-time sharing of information during a crisis. In Canada the release of information to the public during a crisis is the responsibility of the province or territory. Each province is a little bit different in how they manage this release and experience has shown that various policy issues impose a significant burden on information sharing if the public are involved. A second factor is the inescapable reality that many commercial information systems are not as interoperable as vendor advertising would like us to believe. I have observed over the past 5 years the frailty of this sector as evidence by 3 leading tool vendors going bankrupt in the past two years alone. In many cases leaving a province ‘holding the bag’ so to speak with a tool that is no longer supported. It really is not sufficient to say that a tool with open standards is interoperable – there are many examples where open standards were in themselves not sufficient to allow incident management tools to talk to each other. Finally where peer to peer information sharing agreements are required to link crisis management systems, the complexity and cost of maintaining this labrynth of interfaces is often more than most smaller agencies can handle. So what do we do about such a complex problem …?
One of my favourite sayings is that for every complex problem – yes indeed there is a simple solutio – the only problem is that it is almost always the wrong solution. Like death and taxes there is no way around it - Complex problems require complex solutions. So the only alternative is to simplify the problem and thereby enable simplified solutions. It sounds a bit trite I know, but in honesty I think it has held true in allowing us to move forward in Canada with MASAS.
So how do we simplify the complex web of information exchanges that todays emergency managers need to contend with? As the sketch shows, the number of information sharing agreements and interfaces that the peer to peer solution requires impose a severe burden that in my opinion is not supportable by the great majority of emergency operations centers in Canada. It may be viable for a Toronto or a Vancouver, but I can tell you that some of the highest risk areas in Canada such as Sarnia – there is no way this can be managed - as we like to joke, for many of these op centers the IT support is often found at Staples. So I’d like to take a 2- minute sidebar on this problem because I encountered a very intriguing youtube video that does a great job illustrating it – in the context of explaining NIEM which is a fairly successful solution to information sharing that is emerging from the US, and stands for National Information Exchange Model. While NIEM is about establishing standardized information exchange packages and for those of you that don’t know about NIEM you should do some reading there is a wealth of information available at NIEM.gov , however I think the way the problem is summarized applies very well to the left hand sketch I have alluded to here. Go to video on NIEM. As I mentioned, the video is aimed at encouraging the viewer to learn about NIEM and I too recommend investigating it. However the peer-to-peer agency information sharing construct is in my view a complex solution to a complex problem. On the right hand side of the slide is the simple solution to the simple problem of sharing information that we can, once with all rather than many times repeatedly and individually with many. The data aggregation hub or my prefered analogy of the “information bucket” is exactly that – a repository of real-time authoritative information that has been pre-engineered to be brought together in a standardized bucket. Rather than the engineering that would be needed for every agency to receive this information separately, we do it once for all – and everyone benefits from the convergence – true much of the information could be independantly sought out web site by web site, MOU by MOU – however our solution does this for everyone. The information providers are happy, the tool vendors that can dip into our bucket our happy, and the users are very happy.
Another simplification that we took was simply to avoid the challenge of sharing sensitive information … What we found after analysing a number of disasters is that by far, most of the information that emergency managers need to share was unclassified - the only caveat is that it would have been difficult to release it publicly because of the protocols for public release that I mentioned earlier. Two years ago we had a rather significant earthquake in Ottawa (5.4) – it took the responsible agencies almost 2 hours to get the alert out to the public because of the need to review/edit/translate/review/edit/translate the alert message before it went out late in the day after most people had gone home and already learned of the earthquake through the local media news. Embarrassing but not unusual for information releases to the public. .. Why should we encumber all of our systems because of the very small point of the pyramid of information. Most if not all barriers to information sharing are there because of that small component of sensitive information. If we consider the majority of unclassified information of interest – there is much that can be shared without hesitation – and since we only share with officials – the complexity of public release protocols vanishes. I would like to comment that while MASAS shares the green portion of the pyramid of information, we do have a solution that will deal with the smaller amount of sensitive information – through what we call “Special Access Hubs’ – these are very analagous to the breakout room that you may see an incident commander will often use to deliberate privately with his inner circle of advisors before opening up an issue to the broader emergency operation. We ran an exercise last year in Point Lepreau New Brunswick where a nuclear reactor is in the process of being re-activated for service. The protocols in Canada for a radiation event require that the federal health protection bureau who manage the sensors, step in and provide an assessment of the sensor alarms prior to taking any formal action, because of the fact that there are so many false alarms. In the event of a Fukushima for example, the Radiation Protection bureau would make use of a ‘special access hub’ to confer with experts on the data before drawing any conclusion that would require evasive action to mitigate the threat – such as evacuating the public or imposing various radiation treatments.
So I’d like to quickly list through elements of our design philosophy that I believe were keys to our success with MASAS. We employ open standards and architecture – specifically the Common Alerting Protocol and ATOM. MASAS is open source for reasons of interoperability as well as the many other strategic benefits of an open source solution. The code is clean, and very high quality – and we hope to develop a community of developers across Canada including academia and potentially international partners to evolve it forward. We provide developers with a sandbox environment. This has accelerated tool vendor uptake of our interface. 4 th – we provide very simple, reliable and disaster resilient hubs. Our hubs are hosted in government data centers at two locations with a third here with Simon Fraser’s network operations center – thanks to Peter Anderson and steven braham. 5 th we are keeping our tools bare bones basic – we do not want to compete with commercial tool developers. 6 th while MASAS works with all tools we have encountered to date, we also provide a free basic set for those stakeholders that have nothing (the ones that go to Staples for their IT support). 7 th the simplicity of design means simplicity in operation – training on MASAS takes less than an hour, and we’ve proven it during the height of a flood disaster where MASAS was brought online for the first time via a 1-hour webinar to communities surrounding Brandon Manitoba. 8 th we know that engineering the information feeds into the hub will be a strong attractant to many stakeholders that want the free access to the information – no need to replicate engineering costs – we do it once for all as long as you maintain a MASAS API portal.
So to recap on what MASAS is, I’d like to break down the name here Its Multi-agency and this means local/regional, provincial and federal agencies are equally accessible to the hub, in fact we take this further because we have now enabled linkages directly with the US Integrated Public Alerting and Warning system. It’s about Situational Awareness – because the content is dynamic, real-time, geo-spatially presented and aimed directly at answering “what is going on now”. Finally it’s a system or more accurately a system of systems, because it’s architecture allows it to bridge across many legacy systems.
A few more key characteristics of MASAS It only allows in authoritative information. While we continue to seek how to data-mine Social Media feeds for example, we will not allow a direct feed because it cannot be authoritative in its current construct. (I would like to sidebar on this because just this month we have launched a project to develop a training curriculum for Emergency Op centers to collect the best practices and tools that can be used by a specialist who would be able to sift Social Media feeds and filter through those that can be trusted, so that they do cross into the decision supporting environment that MASAS provides). Secondly MASAS is real-time, when I first came into this field about 7 years ago, I noticed that almost every op center in Canada has a CBC and a CNN feed that is usually their first heads up that something is happening – and I found it odd that we rely on reporters to tell us what they have just learned from responders rather than get the information directly. We gave MASAS the goal to someday soon replace the CNN monitor or at least beat it as the first source of information when a crisis unfolds in Canada. Thirdly – we require all information be location-based. In fact this is also required by the canadian profile of CAP, and this is a good thing. As one emergency director during a flood operation told us – during the peak of a flood, his blackberry typically has 500 urgent emails in it – he often assigns a fulltime resource to simply go through the messages and tag them on a wallmap so that he can deal with the crisis location by location. MASAS does this for you automatically by forcing the alert to go onto a map. 4 th –we require incident and type tags that will allow a user to filter what he needs to be aware of. 5 th and 6 th are about multi-agency multi-level simultaneous sharing – and I’ll touch more on this in a moment ... And finally the national recognition and endorsement by federal and provincial authorities has been a significant factor that is helping buy-in and alignement.
I won’t say much more about the chronology – while MASAS has evolve fairly rapidly I added this slide to show that after declaring initial operating capability on the 4 th of November 20011 we are already up to 225 registered agencies.
As I mentioned in my previous slide, the national recognition of MASAS through the National Strategy for Interoperable Communications has been a benefit to solidifying federal funding and greasing the wheels to adoption. <pull out the strategic plan booklet>
We even caught attention of our national leaders by a beyond the borders action plan that flags MASAS and FEMA’s IPAWS as components that will make a difference.
So I’d like to drill down a bit further to explain some of the key aspects of MASAS
After having toured a large number of federal, provincial and municipal emergency operations centers I can say with confidence that greater than 90% of information exchange during a crisis occurs through email, fax and phone calls with email carrying by far the majority of content. One of my roles is as science advisor to the Government operations center – and while I was there in support of Vancouver 2010 olympics, the G8/G20 summit last June and more recently with the Fukushima incident – I marvelled at the massive email distribution lists that are maintained and used to broadcast sitreps as events unfold. As I mentioned previously, one of the biggest challenges our provincial Emergency Operations centers have during flood season is the hundreds of urgent emails that they have to process and respond to. If you consider email – other than the minimal structured content in the header with name and date – the bulk of the key information is in the unstructured body of the message or in many cases the attached microsoft or pdf document. This makes filtering messages very difficult, if not impossible.
So a key to MASAS has been the rigorous employment of structured messages – through CAP and ATOM message formats. These message standards provide an envelope for various types of documents, and structure information for the label so that we can quickly identify the originator, the type of event, and key attributes such as location, time, etc. All of which enable the user to filter messages so that they are relevant to what they need to know about.
For those of you that are not familiar with CAP – it is an international standard from OASIS – the Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards. OASIS is also responsible for Emergency Data Exchange Language or “EDXL” message standards. The Canadian Profile for CAP is unique in that it mandates inclusion of event and location codes – an idea that we see many other nations considering adoption. CAP-CP also limits each CAP alert to only one event type – again with the benefit being more effective filterability of alerts. Another message format we use is Atom GeoRSS this is a fairly universally known publishing standard for web content such as news feeds and the GeoRSs provides the geographic context.
So what is key about CAP – is the structure really works well for managing crisis information. In particular it’s remarkable how effective the tags of urgency, severity and certainty combined with event type – can be to helping organize incident relevant information.
If you take the example of a hurricane as the hurricane moves up the coast – we progressively adjust the certainty it will track over a particular area, the severity estimate based on whether it will cross warm waters or come on to land for example, and the urgency depending on the timeline for when it is estimated to arrive. This same construct works for almost any type of alert – we recently implemented CAP for solar flares and found it works remarkably well for that as well – and I’ll be coming back to that in a few minutes.
One of the most convenient features a structured alert message like CAP provides is the ability to automate message generation. In Canada alberta is one of the lead emergency management agencies at automating alert messages. In this slide you see that a generic message at top here can be composed to accommodate a very large variety of alerts by simply plugging in the CAP fields into the body of the text to generate the message as you see at the bottom.
And it works equally well for preformatted small messages such as you would have for an internet headline or RSS feed, or for a feed into Twitter or cell phone text messaging for example.
Last but not least, particularly for a country like Canada that has two official languages and up to 4 in the northern regions with the various first nations, is the ability for CAP translation tables to facilitate the automated alerting to happen in multiple languages. In fact the province of New Brunswick has implemented a simple tool that has the fields pre-loaded so that by entering a message in one language you will automatically populate the corresponding entries for the other language at the same time. I mentioned to you a few minutes ago how the Earthquake we had in Ottawa a couple of years ago took over a hour to get issued in both languages – with an automated CAP system this now can be done in seconds.
I would now like to turn to reviewing the 3 pillars that define situational awareness as per Dr Mica Endsley. Dr Endsley contends that situational awareness is about perception, comprehension and projection, which is to say what is happening, why do I care and what do I do about it? We believe MASAS currently is very much aimed at enabling the first pillar. However there are a number of possibilities emerging that will leverage the information flow that MASAS provides to feed tools that will also support comprehension and projection.
In fact what we see is MASAS provides an underlying information exchange service – and this is why you will see us referring to it as MASAS-X. The X is for the Exchange service it supports that supports all 3 components of situational awareness.
This next slide illustrates how we see information flows in MASAS – [CLICK] a first responder may encounter a reason to send information, perhaps a major explosion has occurred. He then send the information to MASAS [CLICK] , which is received at the MASAS Hub [CLICK]. The Hub then repackages that information and makes it available to all stakeholders. [CLICK] At this point, many people looking at MASAS realize that there may be a lot of information flowing towards them. MASAS allows your organization to filter information in and out depending on the structured information that is sent via MASAS. [CLICK] Organizations can examine relevant data and decide, on their own terms, whether an item requires immediate action, monitoring, or to ignore/suppress it. These processes can be manual or automated. Depending on the participant they may have Publish and Consume capabilities, Consume-only and even Publish-only for groups that feed data to MASAS but aren’t privy to all the detail (e.g. Industry).
Another observation we’ve been making is that while MASAS transforms information flow because all recipients receive the information simultaneously , we still see, at least for the short term, that the legacy reporting protocols up and down the stack and across agencies seem to be remaining intact to what they were in the previous hierarchical cascade flows. A unique phenomenon that rapid sharing of situational awareness enables is what we call the ‘lean forward’ effect where an agency is aware of a situation unfolding and is able to anticipate the incoming reporting or requests for support before it arrives.
So now to some screen shots of MASAS views during actual live operations, First of all the first thing a novice will say is “too much information” – particularly if you look at too large a scale of an area such as the entire country in this view. You’ll notice the cluster of road closures in Manitoba – this was during the flood season of course, and there was also quite a bit of wildfire activity in northern ontario at the time. So if you are sitting in Ottawa’s federal Government Operations Center – you would likely turn down the selection criteria so that you do not see routine road closures but may want to know about the major highway severe disruptions, or any disruptions at key bridge crossings into the US. By selecting filter criteria an operator can see only what his duties require him to see.
So in the big national picture we would see broad area alerts such as severe weather and the number bubbles you see are indicators that there is a cluster of activity that requires zooming in to resolve.
A PROVINCIAL EMO would scale it’s view accordingly – in this case I am showing what a weather alert looks like, as you hover over an alert, the tool generates the polygon identifying the affected region.
Drilling down further, MASAS can also suport community level details – in this case a recent flood in New Brunswick where the view is showing particular hospital and school closures.
In the spring of 2011 we had the unique opportunity to test MASAS in a 300 year flood disaster. The Emergency Managers of Brandon Manitoba called in MASAS support and we were able to successfully train a number of community officials with the tool through a basic webinar session. So imagine that – during the peak of activity while responding to a vast flood, we found stakeholders were able to very quickly learn the tool, use it to populate road closure information and even come up with novel uses of the tool such as maintenance crews leaving notes for each other as they handed over during shift changes. Another neat development we saw was that since the Canadian Forces military were in the region and already had MASAS integrated – they too were able to benefit from the enhanced situational awareness that was being generated by the small communities.
And finally – the system provides location feeds and so your base maps can be whatever you want, ,Google earth, bing, open streets, or the Toporama maps provided by our fedeal mapping branch – there is no problem with all of the above.
So we are now 7 months since we initiated the national capability and we have over 200 agencies actively registered and exploring the concept of use for MASAS that suits their own requirements. All federal op centers are coming on board through a Sharepoint portal that will have a MASAS module imbedded. This MASAS module is going to be available as an open source widget that is free for any user. All provinces and northern territories have accounts and are in various stages of implementation – our general advice is that each agency has to develop their own SOPs, exercise with them, and then declare themselves operational when they are comfortable to do so. Recently we have brought in the Canadian Red Cross and are in discussions with St Johns Ambulance as well. In terms of critical infrastructure – the Nuclear power utilitiy agencies are interested – we have a major Ontario exercise with Bruce Nuclear simulating a tornado damaged reactor – this exercise will be one of the largest we have ever experienced in Canada with more than 200 agencies participating – and MASAS will be a main tool for controlling the exercise – it works great to administer injects – and will also be actively used as an SA tool by many of the participants.
In october of last year we signed an agreement with FEMA’s alerting system called IPAWS – so that we now have MASAS and IPAWS developmental hubs linked – and as part of the national strategy the approval of the Operation Hub links are expected in the next couple of months.
Today we are actively expanding the richness of information feeds that go into MASAS – the general idea being that the more content we can provide – the greater the pull to have Canadian public safety stakeholders participate. The greater the number of agency accounts, the lower the cost will be per account when we ramp off the federal funding and move MASAS to a not-for-profit operation. Our current back of the envelope calculations are anticipating that per account costs may end up being well below $1K per year. The number and type of feeds continue to escalate – for example here in Vancouver there is a system of bridge strain sensors that we are exploring integrating so that if an earthquake were to occur, any bridge that exceeds a particular threshold of a sensor would launch a cap alert that would be picked up into MASAS. Stream level sensors, and even radio communications status sensors can all be mapped in to activate an alert if/when they exceed a threshold that warrants calling attention. Probably the most popular alert of all is road closures – these are key to incident responders as you can well imagine. An interesting pilot that we just completed with our weather service examined the viability of long-range weather products that are specifically produced for emergency managers. Further work is required to acccomodate projections, one of the ideas we have is to implement a sliding bar that would allow the user to move foreward or backward in time quickly.
Probably the most recent alert type we have added is Solar Flares – and if you have been following the news on the solar cycle we are entering – you will know why. Prior to MASAS I was receiving a daily email from the solar flare forecast center – 99.9 % of the time the message was that all was quiet. As a result I have gotten in the habit of simply deleting or ignoring it – now with the MASAS implementaiton – I can set my threshold so I am only notified when the solar flare alert exceeds the most severe levels. An interesting anecdote is that when the major flare ocured earlier in March – we were pleased to witness how MASAS was used within hours of the flare to report various impacts on national infrastructure. We saw annotations from the north remarking on radio communications problems – we saw Tim Trytten from here in Emergency Mangement BC reporting on MSAT failure – and of course we had the authoritative solar flare alert that was provided by the national authority in our Space Weather Laboratory in Ottawa.
AS with all of our MASAS feeds, the message can accommodate a URL or an attachment – our routine protocol is to encourage alert issuers to imbed their home web site for the relevant information – MASAS can include links, and actual document attachments.
In the case of solar flares, the intensity can fluctuate fairly greatly over a short period of time. So we required our solar experts identify the thresholds which warrant notifying Emergency Managers – and map their alert system into CAP accordingly – it worked seamlessly and as of last week we now have automated solar flare alerts in Canada.
You might wonder how you show the affected area for a solar alert – well the regions are quite massive but still allow us to differentiate them by generating 3 polygons so as to represent a solar flare that affects the highest latitudes known as the polar zone shown here at top right; the mid latitudes of Canada or the auroral zone at bottom right, or the lower latitudes which are the sub-auroral zones on lower left.
I see that I have a few minutes so I’d like to pull up a 4 minute video illustrating MASAS This is jus a short excerpt from video we shot here in Vancouver last June as part of a CA US experiment we called CAUSE Resilience. You may recognize the narrator, Bruce Greenwood – new Admiral for the currently filming Star Trek movie – is actually a native Vancouver-born citizen who learned about MASAS while the experiment was happening and volunteered his time for free as a public service contribution. Believe me – there is no way I could have afforded him and so we do appreciate his support, I unerstand he had to delay his filmcrew by a full day in Hollywood just to make our video.
I see I have a couple of minutes so I’d really like to show you a very interesting email snippet that I just received a few weeks ago from Emergency Management Official. Note the yellow highlight statements –and so I’ll read them quickly here as they are significant confirmations that we’re on the right track.
Thanks very much for listening and the opportunity to show you MASAS – please do not hesitate to drop by my booth and drill in further should you have more questions or if you would like to see the system live. If there are any questions I’d be more than happy to address them now – or again please approach me in the atrium booth and I would be more than happy to try and answer them.
2012 04 23_masas
Canada’s Multi-Agency SituationalAwareness System – Keeping it SimpleMarch 29 2012 Jack Pagotto P.Eng MEngMgmt Head/Emergency Management & Systems Interoperability S&T Centre for Security Science
OUTLINE• Who we are (2 slides only – we have a booth!)• Our call to action… information silos cost lives!• The Complex Problem & The MASAS Simple Solution• Transforming Information Flows• Key Ingredients to success• Future Research• 5 min video (if time & technology permits) 2
Centre for Security Science Vision: “S&T Excellence for a Safe and Secure Canada” Mission: “Strengthen Canada’s ability to prevent, prepare, respond and recover from acts of terrorism, crime, natural disasters and serious accidents through the convergence of S&T with Policy, Ops & Intelligence”(Canada’s equivalent to Department of Homeland Security S&T) 3
Centre for Security Science • Scientific Trusted Advisor (agency neutral) • Assess technology trends, threats, and opportunities • Engage industrial, academic and international partners to transition S&T to operationalize national capabilities (fix national capability gaps) • COME TO OUR BOOTH!
First Responder Requirements were our call to action… NB Brady Report 2009Inability to share reliable SARNIA - SNOWMAGEDDON 2010incident information quicklywith 1st responders: • delays response time • risks lives/property • wastes resources 5
The Complex Problem…• The “fear factor” on real-time sharing Emergency Management information … – Information release to public is process-sensitive;• Non-interoperable information systems – Intellectual Property Protected Tools + Frailty of Incident Management Tools sector• Complexity and maintenance of inter-agency sharing agreements 6
For every complex problem there is a simple solution ….…. unfortunately it is almost always the wrong solution.Simplify the problem to simplify the solution. 7
Simplify the problem to simplify the solution. Eliminate inefficient & unmanageable Share it once with all...rather information flows… than repeatedly with many Incidents s re Ea fi rt h ild qua W k es YOU YOU h er CBRNE W eat ROAD CLOSURES<NIEM> 2-MIN VIDEOILLUSTRATING THE SAME PROBLEMAS SHOWN ABOVE LEFT.FROM WWW.NIEM.GOV (NATIONALINFORMATION EXCHANGE MODEL) 8
From: “restrict what we share”To: “restrict what we don’t share”. Restricted access Hub: “the break-out room” Road MOST INFO OF closures, INTEREST TO severe weather, EMERGENCY check points, MANAGERS area of operation, IS NOT command posts, plumes, SENSITIVE! evacuation zone, shelter water stations, shelter status, staging area, Supply depot, live cameras, media events, sensors, sitreps, earthquakes, space weather, ... 9
Our design philosophy...• OPEN STANDARDS AND ARCHITECTURE (CAP, ATOM ..)• OPEN SOURCE SOFTWARE (CLEAN, HIGH QUALITY CODE)• PROVIDE A DEVELOPERS SANDBOX – OPEN TO ALL• SIMPLE, RELIABLE AND DISASTER RESILIENT HUBS• DO NOT COMPETE WITH COMMERCIAL TOOLS• WORK WITH EXISTING TOOLS or USE OUR FREE TOOLS
MA-SA-SMulti-Agency • Local, regional, provincial/territorial, federal, first nations, & US partners. • Non-government organizations, Search & Rescue, Military. • Utilities, critical infrastructure managers, critical commercial service providers, • FIRST RESPONDERS, emergency management, transportation, health, public works, utilities, education, ... ALL PUBLIC SAFETY EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT RELEVANT OFFICIALS & ENTRUSTED PARTNERSSituational Awareness • Dynamic, current, transient, event-related geospatial information • For use with base maps, thematic maps, and other information • For routine use every day, rapidly scalable to support major incidents.System (of systems) • Open architecture: GIS, incident management, dispatch, ... • Open standards: Messaging, documents, geospatial, ... 11
MASAS =Multi-Agency Situational Awareness System ‘Canada’s National Real-Time Incident Map’ • AUTHORITATIVE (trustable) INFORMATION • REAL-TIME • LOCATION-BASED • INCIDENT and TYPE–RELEVANT FILTERABLE • Multi-Agency (Emergency Mgmt partners) • Multi-Level (fed/prov-territory/municipal/…) • Nationally recognized/endorsed.
MASAS … a rapidly evolving national capability. 225Interest, Demand, Dollars agencies registered users (Oct 2011-April 2012) 2007 Time 2010 2012
MASAS Nationally Recognized as a “Canadian Public Safety Priority” • National Strategy January 2011 – Approved by all Fed/Prov-Territorial Ministers • Identifies MASAS as a national priority 14
CA-US Public Safety PriorityBeyond the BorderAction PlanPage 25: “The second working group will focus on cross-border interoperabilityas a means of harmonizing cross-border emergency communications efforts. Itwill pursue activities that promote the harmonization of the CanadianMulti-Agency Situational Awareness System with the United StatesIntegrated Public Alert and Warning System to enable sharing ofalert, warning, and incident information to improve responsecoordination during binational disasters. Specifically, this working group will...” 15
Simple Open-Hub Architecture Compatible with all commercial tools MASAS Firewall Firewall MASAS Basic Basic Toolset Ops Toolset Your Their Your Their Tool Your Exer Tool Their Tool Tool sTool cise sTool s s s s Train ESRI, EmerGeo, ing Incident management, Interdev, Sentinel, IHS, mapping, dispatch,CriSys, Command View, consoles, tablets, IDV, MyStateUSA, smartphones, sensors,SharePoint, Hazus, …, digital radio, … basic MASAS tools 17
Challenge with email, fax, phone calls EMAIL Date: _________ To: _________ From: _______ CC: _______ BC: _______ Importance: __PC Subject: Mac ________________ Body: What, where, why, how bad, until when, ... UNSTRUCTURED INFORMATION = INFORMATION OVERLOAD 18
Focus is on connections and structured information Firewall Content types: Alerts (CAP), doc, pdf, jpg, etc. fa Handshake dfafa h dfas kj sdas hlkjhkjh jj jj fafhh khkhjhk k hkh Envelope • From • Actual/Test/Exercis eMASAS Connection (API) • Category, Event • Location Label • Severity • Content type 19 Similar to a newsfeed.
Structure defined by open standards• Common Alerting Protocol (CAP) • OASIS - Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards • Recognized by United Nations – International Telecommunications Union (ITU) • One of family of Emergency Data Exchange Language (EDXL) standards – Canadian Profile of CAP (CAP-CP) • Defines rules for Canadian implementations – Mandates inclusion of an event and location code – Limits each alert to only one event type • Visit www.CAP-CP.ca for documents and more information• Atom GeoRSS • Atom is a universal publishing standard for web content. Ex. News feeds • GeoRSS provides geographic context 20
CAP’s common threat assessmentUrgency “Immediate” - Responsive action SHOULD be taken immediately “Expected” - Responsive action SHOULD be taken soon (within next hour) “Future” - Responsive action SHOULD be taken in the near future “Past” - Responsive action is no longer required “Unknown” - Urgency not knownSeverity “Extreme” - Extraordinary threat to life or property “Severe” - Significant threat to life or property “Moderate” - Possible threat to life or property “Minor” - Minimal to no known threat to life or property “Unknown” - Severity unknownCertainty “Observed” – Determined to have occurred or to be ongoing “Likely” - Likely (p > ~50%) “Possible” - Possible but not likely (p <= ~50%) “Unlikely” - Not expected to occur (p ~ 0) “Unknown” - Certainty unknown 22
CAP enables automatic message generation … “This is a” (CAP-CP EVENT TYPE) “alert for” (CAP-CP LOCATION) “issued by” (CAP SENDER), “effective until” (CAP EXPIRE TIME). “There is an “(CAP SEVERITY FACTOR) threat to life or property”. “Responsive action should be taken... (CAP URGENCY FACTOR).” “You should” (CAP RESPONSE TYPE)”.This is a TORNADO alert for CALGARYissued by NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE,effective until 7PM. There is an IMMINENTthreat to life or property. You should takecover immediately.” 23
… including very short message formats …Ver y Shor t Messa ge (RSS Title, Inter net Headline)• Critical Alert – Flash Flood – Mar 06, 2012 at 03:52PMShor t Messa ge (e.g. TXT messages, Twitter)• Flash Flood Alert Mar06 0352PM Take necessary precautions. Drayton Valley http://emergencyalert.alberta.ca #ableg 24
…and automated into multiple languages! 04/24/12 25
Multi-Agency SITUATIONAL AWARENESS 3 Pillars of Situational Awareness What is Why do I What do I happening? care? do about it?“As much as 88% of human error in response to an incident is due to problems with situation awareness.” Dr. M. Endsley 26
MASAS-X Priority – Get Information Flowing MASAS Information eXchange 27
MASAS Information Flow FILTER INFORMATION fAUTHORITATIVE, Action/Monitor/IgnoreTRUSTED, Automated or ManualUNCLASSIFIEDINFORMATION
Transforming Information FlowLegend Single Entity … while reporting protocols remain intact Coordinating Group Agency 1 Agency2Federal 2 Federal EOC EOC EOC EOCRegional P/T EMO Regional Regiona Regiona l Regional Regiona(P/T) EOC Office l Office Office l OfficeLocal EOC First Responder FieldExternal Social Crowd(Non- News Media SourcingAuthoritativeCommunity)
Ease of Use - Disaster Proven Spring Flooding 201 •Province of Manitoba •City of Brandon •Small Communities •Canadian Military Workcrew note: “Do notEmergent behaviour… drain breech – it is providing backpressure to dike wall”Notes on posted alertswere used to shareinformation towork shift crews. 34
MASAS community is growing quickly...• All federal EOC’s • Public Safety, RCMP National Operations Center, CF Command View, Transport Canada Situation Center, Environment Canada, ...• All provinces and territories • Various stages of up-take• Many municipalities, regions • EM, police, fire, EMS• NGO’s, Critical Infrastructure (Nuclear plants etc) • Ex. Windsor University, Red Cross, Bruce Power, ...• Many EM and GIS tool vendors• Content providers • Environment Canada, Earthquakes Canada, Canadian Space Weather, 36
… build the hub and they will come• Limitless number/type of national sources of valuable information that are being interfaced – Sensors (stream level, bridge strain sensors, radiation/chemical sensors) – Broad-area alerts • Solar Flares affect massive areas of Canada • Flood polygons – Road status – Long-range weather products for EM – Many more emerging 38
MASAS and Solar Flare Alerts• offers opportunity to feed Solar Flare Alerts into Emergency Managers across country seamlessly• Filterable messages … ‘only let me know when a serious solar storm is happening’…• Enables national CI owners/managers to ‘contribute observations to a common national map of alerts’. 39
MASAS and Solar Flare AlertsSpace weather forecast:Based on data from multiple inputs.Updated every 15 mintues.Posted on web site and RSS.Feed into MASAS alerts
Activity level CAP Severity to Major Storm = SEVERE M A S Stormy = MODERATE A S Active, Unsettled, Quiet = MINOR0 3 6 9 12 15 18 21 24 27 30 33 36 39 42 45 48 51 54
Geospatial Presentation Three Forecast Zones Polar Zone Sub-Auroral Zone Auroral Zone
MASAS VIDEO CLIP <6min>1) Integration with BC Emergency Management (4min)2) Integration with FEMA Integrated Public Alerts & WarningsSystem (IPAWS) (2 min)
Success = …?Sat 2012-03-17 4:45 PM - ACTUAL EMAIL FROM EMERGENCY MGMT OFFICIAL:“We have evacuation planning software that calculates populations and provides best routing of evacuees to shelters. This tool was developed for us for nuclear emergencies with con joined threats such as hurricanes or storm surges that might constrain evacuation operations.I picked an area for evacuation and generated a map with routes to shelters. I then created a masas entry and embedded a link to the public information site and attached the evacuation map. This took all of 5 minutes from start to finish at home on my RIM Playbook.Looking ahead to our upcoming nuclear exercise authorized users in our EOCs and emergency services in the field will be able to get essential information off the map, essentially in real time.A written plan sent via email might take an hour; a situation report might update those paying attention only hours later. This approach helps us distribute critical information to all those with a need to know in near real time. We will continue to build a user community and culture around this capability.Lots of positive comments from the players, our ops, comms and Int units, DND, RCMP and many others.” 44
For more information and/or to become a MASAS-X Participant Visit www.MASAS-X.caJack.firstname.lastname@example.org 45