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Information Architecture of Emergency Response


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Exploring the evolution of technology in emergency response, with a special focus on advances in geographic systems, incident management, social media and policy in New York City since September 11, 2001 and ideas for how the Information Architecture community can support emergency response efforts.

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Information Architecture of Emergency Response

  1. The Information Architecture of Emergency Response Noreen Y. Whysel IA Summit March 23, 2012
  2. Overview• NYC GeoSymposium 2001-2011-2021• Emergency Management in New York City• Open Government and Public Engagement• Future Emergency Management Needs• Town Hall Meeting – How can UX designers participate?
  3. Hyatt Regency Hotel after Hurricane Katrina Hyatt Regency Serves as a ShelterSource: Bill Haber, AP Source: Gary-Coronado-Palm-Beach-Post
  4. The Water is Rising (Hurricane Katrina) Flood, Orleans ParishSource: DailyKos, various. Source: Douglas R. Clifford/St. Petersburg Times Photo.
  5. Ground Zero, September 11, 2001Source: U.S. Navy photo by Chief Photographers Mate Eric J. Tilford
  6. Firefighters, September 11, 2001Source: CNN
  7. Man covered with ashes assisting a woman walking and holding a particle mask toher face, following the September 11th terrorist attack on the World Trade Center,New York CitySource: Don Halesy, Library of Congress
  8. NYC GeoSymposium 2001-2011-2021
  9. 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
  10. 9/11/01: A Turning Point• Catalyst for cooperation and public engagement• The imperative to improve data flow at least between agencies was clear
  11. OEM Timeline
  12. OEM Timeline
  13. What is an Emergency Response Sytem?
  14. Common Elements of an Emergency Response System• People• Measurement tools/devices• Data/Information Systems• Communication• Response
  15. 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
  16. Emergency Response SystemNational Incident Management System, December 2008Source: U.S. Department of Homeland Security
  17. Emergency Response System • Mother and baby • Thermometer • Temperature reading • Call to Doctor or 911 • Home treatment, doctor visit or ambulance
  18. People (and organizations) Emergency Management Information SystemsPerson in Need First Responders Emergency Response System
  19. 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 Indy Young, Rosenfeld Media)
  20. Develop Policies Drills and simulations Maps FormsComm Planning Monitor conditions Incident occurs Maps FormsComm Event Dispatch response units Establish command Maps FormsComm Dispatch Determine hazards Create restricted zones Maps FormsComm Locate victim/survivors Assessment Mitigate hazards Assistance Maps FormsComm Rescue/ Recovery Apprehension Investigation Maps FormsComm Emergency Response Incident Model Debriefing Post-Event
  21. Emergency Management in New York City
  22. Office of Emergency ManagementServices:• Plans and prepares for emergencies• Educates the public about preparedness• Coordinates emergency response and recovery• Collects and disseminates emergency informationPersonnel:• Responders• Planners• Watch commanders• Administrative and support staff• Citywide Incident Management System (CIMS)
  23. Emergency Operations Center (2006)
  24. Watch Command Center (2006)
  25. FDNY Emergency Facilities
  26. 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
  27. CIMS: Citywide Incident Management System (2005)• 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
  28. Emergency Response Technologies
  29. OEM Emergency Response Technologies• Maps and Imaging• Sensors• Communications• Information Systems• Vehicles
  30. 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
  31. Citywide GIS Activity• Connected City Initiative and data sharing mandates• Webmap Framework – NYCityMaps – 311 Service Requests Map• Hurricane Evacuation Zone Finder – Heating/Cooling Center applications• Aerial orthophotography and oblique angle imagery• Subsurface to Surface linking (vertical integration projects) – Subway stations – Building Information Modeling• DHS funded Public Safety GIS Data Development Center – Best practices and standards for emergency data – Collect, develop, and update geospatial data
  32. NYCMAP (1999)• Historically, city mapping departments were siloed.• Data was not shared due to legal constraints (software and data licenses) and security concerns.• By 1999, a unified Basemap was already underway, largely through advocacy efforts of GISMO.• 9/11 drove home the need for a uniform basemap. – Mayor’s Office of Emergency Management moved to Pier 92 and later under Brooklyn Bridge – Telecommunications systems were disrupted
  33. Early Base MapsSamples of discrepancies in street lines and waterfront polygonsSource: HydroQual
  34. Open Mapping AdvocacyCity Information Technology InitiativeSource: Municipal Art Society
  35. NYCityMap Public Launch• 1999 DoITT creates basemap• 2000 Basemap released to city agencies• 2001 My Neighborhood• 2004 NYC Map Portal debuted• 2006 NYCityMap public launched• 2009 NYCityMap redesign, extendible, themes
  36. NYCityMap (2006)
  37. NYCityMap Public Launch• NYCity Map (2006, 2009)• Green Infrastructure• NYC Parks• RIP: Rat Information Portal• SCOUT: Street Conditions Observation Unit• SPEED: Searchable Property Environmental E- Database• Street Closures• Transportation• ZOLA: Zoning and Land Use
  38. NYCityMap: Zoning and Land Use
  39. NYCityMap: ZOLA with Land Use Layer
  40. Compare to Google Maps
  41. LIDARLIDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) Images of WTCSource: NOAA/U.S. Army JPSDFor more images see Charting Ground Zero: Ten Years After
  42. Thermal ImagingWTC – Thermal Imagery, September 16, 2001Source: New York State, Office for Technology (c2001) and EarthData International.
  43. Oblique Angle Aerial Photography
  44. Hurricane Evacuation Zone Finder (2006)
  45. Sensors• Handheld GPS devices• Seismographic activity, thermal readings• Structural integrity• Biometric (portable fingerprint scanner, etc.)• Chemical, biological, radioactive and nuclear (CBRN)• Motion sensors for traffic, road activity• Cameras• Dogs (chemical traces, human survivors)• Eyes and ears
  46. 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.
  47. 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)• CBRNE sensors• Stream on-scene, live video to command centers and Mayor’s office , telemedicine videoconferencing
  48. Public Initiatives• Ready NY Guides• Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) program pilot• 311 call center
  49. 311 Information• 14,012 Twitter followers to @311nyc• 19.7 million 311 requests per year• 16,879 iPhone App Downloads• 300 person staff• 180 languages spoken• 60,000 average daily calls• 20,000 number of New Yorkers a 311 Call Center representative speaks to every year• 276,827 largest call volume in a single day (27 Jan 2011)
  50. 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.
  51. Notify NYC3+ Alarm Fire Electrical Road Closure - Planned Road Closure -Accident Evacuation UnplannedAccident/Emergency Ferry Disruption Senior FoundAerial Fireworks Severe ThunderstormAir Quality Flood Significant EventAircraft & Egress Gas Main Simulated ActivityAircraft Only Gas Release / Leak Simulated Fire Simulated Fire/Airport Disruption H1N1 ExplosivesAlert Cancelled HAZMAT Condition SnowAlternate Side Parking Heat StruckBeach Status Change Heat & Air Quality Structural CollapseBlasting / Demolition Hurricane SurveyBridge /Tunnel Closure Informational Termination Issuance (mostly missingBridge Closure Tornado persons)Brush Fire Mass Transit Disruption Tornado WatchCeremony / Gun Salute Notification Tropical StormChild Found Oil Spill Water MainClosure Other WeatherClosure/Citiwide Outside of NYC Winter StormCollapse Phone WNV Aerial SprayingDisruption - Other Power Outage WNV Ground SprayingEarthquake Relocation World Trade Center
  52. Social Media
  53. Enhanced 911• Emergency Communications Transformation program began in 2004 after the blackout of 2003• Streamlines emergency call taking, communication and response times via: – Improved texting capabilities – Geolocation for VoIP/mobile services – System interoperability• Public Safety Answering Center – I: Brooklyn (current) – II: Bronx (2015)
  54. Information Systems• Citywide Asset and Logistics Management System• Unified Victim Identification System• Situational Awareness for Field Response System• Next Generation 911 Source:
  55. CALMS: Citywide Asset and Logistics Management System (2004)• Web-based tool• Integrates databases across City, State, Federal, private and NFP• CALMS is organized around six asset types: – Fleet – Equipment and Supplies – Facilities – Contracts – Personnel (including spontaneous volunteers) – Donated Goods
  56. Unified Victim Identification System (2004)• NYC Chief Medical Examiner• Supports missing persons reporting and victim identification• Large-scale catastrophes (terrorist attack, hurricane, earthquake, pandemic flu event or other mass fatality incident)• Modules: – UVIS-311: Call Center Module integrated with 311 – Missing Persons Module – Family Assistance Module – Field Operations Module – Disaster Mortuary Management Module – Disaster Victim Identification Module – Dental Identification Module
  57. Situational Awareness for Field Response System (2010) Active Incident Dashboard Emergency Response Data Packet Generator
  58. Vehicles Interagency Command Center Mobile Data CenterInteragency Communications Vehicle Mobile CIMS Center
  59. Mobile Data Center (2003)
  60. Case Study:Hudson River Parkway Wall Collapse
  61. Hudson River Parkway Wall CollapseHenry Hudson Parkway Wall Collapses, May 12, 2005Source: The Gothamist
  62. 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
  63. Open Government
  64. Information PolicyLaw Enforcement Mayor Media Mayor
  65. Giuliani’s Information Policy• Statistics-oriented approach to law enforcement• NYPD Compstat: GIS mapping of crime patterns• Broken windows, aggressive enforcement• Concerns about data openness – NY State Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) – Press conferences, town hall meetings, radio addresses• Licensing, data format, bandwidth restrictions
  66. Bloomberg’s Information Policy• Bloomberg comes from the business of information• Bloomberg – financial data, analytics, news, radio, TV• Promoting NYC as a technology sector• Data initiatives modeled after citizen efforts and programs in other cities: – Big Apps Contest – Change By Us NYC – City Council Open Government Mandate “If we’re going to continue leading the country in innovation and transparency, we’re going to have to make sure that all New Yorkers have access to the data that drives our city.” Press Release, NYC Mayors Office
  67. Bloomberg’s Information Policy• Rachel Sterne, Chief Digital Officer• Road Map for the Digital City• Outlines City’s plans for – Access – Open Government – Public Engagement – Industry
  68. Open Data Initiatives
  69. Open Data Initiatives
  70. Open Street Map – Haiti Project
  71. Google Crisis Maps• Best Practices – Checklists – Common Alerting Protocol• Tools: – Public Alerts – Person Finder – Custom Maps – Google Earth – Fusion Tables – Docs and Spreadsheets – Google Sites
  72. App Contests and Hackathons
  73. Emergency Management Future Needs
  74. 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
  75. 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
  76. Role of Information ArchitectureQ. Please comment on the role of Information Architecture in your practice.• Do not employ IAs.• 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 it, 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
  77. What’s Happening Now?• Open Data Mandate• The Future of NYCWiN• Fully Integrated, Next Generation 911• NYC as a Tech Center
  78. 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
  79. 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
  80. 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
  81. 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?
  82. Town Hall MeetingHow can IAs help?
  83. Thank You!••• @nwhysel on Twitter• Come see my Technology Timeline and NYCityMap demos at the Poster Session!