OpenISDM Overview

Specifically, a disaster management information system built on the OpenISDM Open Information Systems for Disaster Management framework

  • Can facilitate the access, filtering, fusion, verification, use and presentation of information contributed by crowds, and real-time sensor data, scientific data, historical records and other relevant information from independently developed and maintained information sources owned by government agencies and non-government entities;
  • Can support common models and views, open standard interfaces and API functions to enable independent development of applications and provide tools and services to reduce the time and effort needed to develop the applications;
  • Can weave together hard and soft information and make effective use of available communication resources to offer applications and end users less fragmented and more trustworthy information with higher availability on a timely basis; and
  • Can grow incrementally and evolutionally in contents, capabilities and functionalities.

Information Sources and Applications At the core, an OpenISDM appears to disaster management applications and services to be a coherent system of data repositories. Data and information in the repositories are contributed by independently developed and maintained information sources. Some of the sources are provided by government agencies as parts of our disaster management ICT (information and communication technologies) infrastructure. Some information sources are contributed by non-government entities, that is, enterprises, businesses, institutions, NGOs, communities, private property owners, individuals, etc.

Typically, information sources are also users of applications and services supported by OpenISDM. Typical applications and services are also sources of information.

Information Components From the following figure, one can see that real-time data and information made available to applications and services range from remote and in-situ sensor data collected and contributed by sensors, sensor networks and sensor information systems, to other types of real-time data such as meteorological models, traffic densities and road conditions from weather bureau and transportation agencies. An OpenISDM also makes available scientific data on earth and environment, historical records of disasters, census data and other relevant geospatial and geographical information, machine-readable government information on standard operating procedures, contacts, etc.

In addition to information from intelligent things, an OpenISDM also has information from crowds/people. By that, we mean news, eyewitness reports, human observations, and other social reports delivered via micro-blogging services, SMS, and other Web 2.0 technologies.

Information Components

System and Service Components The figure below entitled “Structure View” highlights the structure of an OpenISDM. As a virtual information repository, it is supported by four types of components. First, the system contains data server(s) holding disaster historical records and scientific data bases, including the Crustal Deformation and Faulting Behavior database (CDFB DB) and Climate Extremes and Weather Disasters Database (CEWD DB) being built by the project. They are for scientific exploration and research on disaster prevention and risk assessment and reduction purposes. Supporting coherent views of multi-domain scientific data and information and providing tools for exploring, filtering, fusing, using and visualizing them is an essential function of an OpenISDM.

Structure View and Major System Components

Another function of an OpenISDM is data hosting. Some government agencies and non-government entities may prefer to publish information generated and maintained by them through a trustworthy intermediary. Reasons are usually specific to information sources but standard-based publication governed by policies for safeguarding privacy and confidentiality supported by OpenISDM is an advantage to them all.

An OpenISDM also helps information sources and applications filter and fuse multi-domain data and information made available through the system for use under specified conditions and for specified purposes. The system may hold such data only temporarily. The figure depicts this part as data caches.

Finally, an OpenISDM can leverage advanced Web 2.0 techniques and approaches. Platforms and tools such as Sahana, Ushahidi, GeoChat, and OpenCalais were proven effective during recent major natural disasters. OpenISDM aims to exploit this class of techniques to be as effective as possible in collecting inputs from people and crowds and validating the information contained in them.