Situational Awareness Technologies for Disaster Response.

Book Chapter in "Terrorism Informatics: Knowledge Management and Data Mining for Homeland Security", Springer, 2007.

Naveen Ashish, Dmitri Kalashnikov, Sharad Mehrotra, Nalini Venkatasubramanian, Ron Eguchi, Rajesh Hegde, and Padhraic Smyth.

Computer Science Department
University of California, Irvine
Project RESCUE (


Responding to natural or man-made disasters, in a timely and effective manner, can reduce deaths and injuries, contain or prevent secondary disasters, and reduce the resulting economic losses and social disruption. During a crisis, responding organizations confront grave uncertainties in making critical decisions. They need to gather situational information (e.g., state of the civil, transportation and information infrastructures), together with information about available resources (e.g., medical facilities, rescue and law enforcement units). There is a strong correlation between the accuracy, timeliness, and reliability of the information available to the decision-makers, and the quality of their decisions. Dramatic improvements in the speed and accuracy at which information about the crisis flows through the disaster response networks has the potential to revolutionize crisis response, saving human lives and property. This chapter highlights some of the key information technology challenges being addressed in the Project RESCUE, with a particular focus on situational awareness technologies. Appreciating the IT challenges in improving crisis response requires a thorough understanding of how communication and control networks form among responding organizations, and how the response process is organized. Since the crisis domain might be new to a large number of readers, we begin by first briefly summarizing the crisis response process. This is done to set the stage for a discussion of the challenges being addressed by RESCUE and particularly the situational awareness thrust within it.


SAT, ITR-RESCUE, crisis management, situational awareness, spatial awareness, spatial uncertainty, domain awareness, human as sensor, community input

Downloadable files:

Paper: SV07_dvk.pdf

BibTeX entry:

  author     = {Naveen Ashish and Dmitri V.\ Kalashnikov and Sharad Mehrotra and 
                Nalini Venkatasubramanian and Ron Eguchi and Rajesh Hegde and Padhraic Smyth},
  editor     = {Hsinchun Chen and Edna Reid and Joshua Sinai and Andrew Silke and Boaz Ganoz},
  title      = {Situational Awareness Technologies for Disaster Response},
  booktitle  = {Terrorism Informatics: Knowledge Management and Data Mining for Homeland Security},
  publisher  = {Springer},
  month      = dec,
  year       = 2007
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