In the event of a disaster, the responsible authorities and organizations are faced with high pressure to minimize the impact of and further damaged caused by the event in the shortest time possible. To make optimal decisions it is a necessity to rapidly gather valid information about the crisis in the affected areas. At the same time, the media and population instantly create a tremendously high demand for information. Besides, due to an increasing need for protection and security, valid information must be gathered, processed and distributed via official channels under an enormous time pressure. This enables an increased level of trust and possibly counteracts the emergence of an information void. Thereby, the spread of false information due to an unmet need can be prevented.
Social media, instant messaging services and other modern communication channels enable the bidirectional exchange of information in real-time. Furthermore, they can be utilized via a variety of devices without any additional effort in terms of development. However, up to date, there are no concepts or solutions available to integrate such publicly available channels and sources into existing management and control systems. Hence, iLiKe engages with the design of an intelligent incident command system that enables the utilization of such information sources for disaster management operations. During the course of this project, the requirements from the perspectives of the different stakeholders are collected and analyzed. This includes both, interviews with experts from authorities and organizations in public safety sector, as well as an empirical study on the information needs of the general population. Therefore, socially representative focus groups from selected regions are interviewed.
Based on the resulting functional and non-functional requirements, modular concepts for the selection, extraction, processing and visualization of relevant information from publicly available sources are designed. Moreover, it is evaluated to which extent the use of social media channels in the context of public relations can be supported by such a service. Thereby, in addition to technical aspects, the organization, social, legal and safety relevant aspects of the dissemination of information must be considered. In order to assess the benefit imposed by the project results and to ensure the utilization of the latter, the essential modules are implemented as a proof-of-concept, as also tested and evaluated in close cooperation with the stakeholders. During this process, the integrability in existing management and control systems denotes a key factor and, therefore, is strongly emphasized. This is ensured by a close cooperation with the provider of the in Austria standardized incident and command system.