Public Lab Research note


by gilbert | August 30, 2017 19:01 30 Aug 19:01 | #14802 | #14802






With the passage of sixteen years since the horrific acts of terror on September 11, 2001, the passage of twelve years since the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, the passage of seven years since the impact of the BP/Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill, as well as the currently catastrophic impact of Hurricane Harvey (Attached Image Source: European Space Agency), it may be instructive to reflect on the array of organizations that have emerged to address the multi-hazard disasters, on technological advancements to address segments of the disaster life cycle, as well as on public policy changes and funding priorities that have been made recently, with respect to communities’ resilience to both anthropogenic and biogenic disasters.

The U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) identifies the five mission areas associated with emergency management as being: Prevention, Protection, Mitigation, Response & Recovery . Clearly, the “Prevention” phase has proven to be the most challenging segment of the disaster management life cycle, both for biogenic and anthropogenic disasters.

Prevention: Although a plethora of subsequent FAA and TSA regulations may have significantly mitigated, if not fully prevented, the occurrence of such 9/11 airborne terrorist incidents, prevention of vehicular and/or armed terrorist incidents, such as those recently occurring in Paris, London, Barcelona, Charlottesville, VA, Orlando, FL and Charleston, SC, continues to require extraordinary vigilance on the part of law enforcement communities. Prevention of petrochemical industrial accidents, notwithstanding major court settlements and fines levied against British Petroleum and against Exxon in previous spills, may prove more difficult, given recent deregulation determinations and expansion of fossil fuel extraction permits in Alaska, , West Virginia, , etc. Particularly given the withdrawal of the United States from the Paris Climate Accords, it is highly unlikely that, in foreseeable future we will achieve the capacity to prevent or mitigate the frequency or intensity of extreme weather events (e.g storms, drought and associated fire conditions).

Protection: There has been more progress with respect to certain disaster protection initiatives, in the form of early warning systems for famine, epidemic outbreaks, drought, tsunami notifications, hurricane warnings, tornado alerts, flood advisories, fire evacuation protocols, travel advisories and even terror risk level notifications. Given proposed severe budget cuts within NASA’s Earth Science Division, NOAA and the USGS, our capacity to access satellite data for early warning, as well as to monitor the rapidity of climate change would be greatly diminished.

Mitigation: Guidlelines for man-made earth impoundments or levees have been promulgated for at-risk communities, ; funding finally provided for relocation of selected communities vulnerable to sea level rise and tidal surge, ; ; plans initiated for coastal wetland protection & restoration, inter alia.

Response: Governmental response to disasters continues to be augmented by both multilateral organizations and by NGO’s. Search and Rescue operations of the United States Coast Guard could be heavily impacted, given proposed budget cuts to that agency. There continues to be collaboration among agencies, such as the International Red Cross, Salvation Army, Doctors Without Borders, Engineers Without Borders, Red Crescent, United Nations Disaster Relief Organization (UNDRO), World Health Organization (WHO), the Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO), etc. In the event of a declared major disaster, the International Charter- Space & Major Disasters can be invoked. Multi-governmental and private sector firms with earth-observing satellites, make their data freely available to the affected region, to aid in disaster response initiatives, whether naturally-caused (biogenic) or man-made (anthropogenic).

Recovery: The infrastructural, built environment, societal and economic recovery, whether subsequent to armed conflict, forced human migration, terrorism, nuclear power plant incident, earthquake, volcanic eruption, tsunami, major forest fire, mudslide, ebola outbreak or release of hazardous chemicals, all typically require a lengthy process, potential tediously slow insurance claims, litigation or legislation, extending well beyond the typical attention span of the media, humanitarian agencies, philanthropic organizations or governmental budgetary cycles. This is the segment of the disaster life cycle wherein university/community (i.e. town/gown) alliances have had some successes and where citizen science initiatives have empowered communities to document damage assessment and the road to recovery, through access to low cost and accessible environmental monitoring, reconstructive progress documentation and analytical technologies for assessment of water quality, air quality, agricultural productivity, biodiversity and evidence of environmental injustice.


CURRION, PAUL; CHAMINDRA DE SILVA, AND BARTEL VAN DE WALLE. “OPEN SOURCE SOFTWARE FOR DISASTER MANAGEMENT: Evaluating how the Sahana disaster information system coordinates disparate institutional and technical resources in the wake of the Indian Ocean tsunami.” COMMUNICATIONS OF THE ACM March 2007/Vol. 50, No. 3, pp. 61-65.

Perry, Marcia. “Natural disaster management planning: A study of logistics managers responding to the tsunami,” International Journal of Physical Distribution & Logistics Management, Vol. 37 No. 5, 2007, pp. 409-433. Abstract: Purpose – The paper aims to discuss the findings of a humanitarian logistics manager field study on response activity concerning the 2004 tsunami disaster in terms of what should have occurred and to present a comprehensive hindsight‐analysis case for a model placing natural disaster response activity clearly within the context of local‐nation‐led, holistic and inclusive natural disaster planning.


– The qualitative testing of a conceptual framework of natural‐disaster response requirements through interviews with tsunami‐response logistics managers, the analysis of the findings in the light of tsunami‐hindsight “effective disaster management” themes of recent academic literature and multi‐agency reports and the development of the holistic, inclusive planning model.


– That natural disaster response activity needs to be viewed holistically in the context of a disaster management planning continuum that ideally starts well before the response action is required and of which locally‐led inclusiveness is a crucial component.

Research limitations/implications

– The model needs to be tested for its applicability as a planning instrument and guide for response activity in the context of future natural disasters.

Practical implications

– The holistic/inclusive planning model has been developed to guide natural disaster planners as well as add to academic discourse in the search for natural disaster management solutions.


– The study is original with its field‐based qualitative research foundation and reflective hindsight analysis.

The Disaster Center. “Disaster Relief Agencies,” 2013

National Disaster Management Authority. Government of India. National Disaster Management Guidelines: Role of NGOs in Disaster Management , Sept., 2010.

Tun Lin Moe, Pairote Pathranarakul, (2006) “An integrated approach to natural disaster management: Public project management and its critical success factors”, Disaster Prevention and Management: An International Journal, Vol. 15 Issue: 3, pp.396-413,

O’Brien, G., O’Keefe, P., Rose, J. and Wisner, B. (2006), “Climate change and disaster management.” Disasters, 30: 64–80. doi:10.1111/j.1467-9523.2006.00307.x

Abstract: “Climate change, although a natural phenomenon, is accelerated by human activities. Disaster policy response to climate change is dependent on a number of factors, such as readiness to accept the reality of climate change, institutions and capacity, as well as willingness to embed climate change risk assessment and management in development strategies. These conditions do not yet exist universally. A focus that neglects to enhance capacity-building and resilience as a prerequisite for managing climate change risks will, in all likelihood, do little to reduce vulnerability to those risks. Reducing vulnerability is a key aspect of reducing climate change risk. To do so requires a new approach to climate change risk and a change in institutional structures and relationships. A focus on development that neglects to enhance governance and resilience as a prerequisite for managing climate change risks will, in all likelihood, do little to reduce vulnerability to those risks.”

United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction

United Nations Space-Based Information for Disaster Management and Emergency Response (SPIDER) Knowledge Portal

EDEN Software. Free & Open Source (FOSS) Disaster Management Software. Sahana Foundation.

VESUVIUS is focused on the disaster preparedness and response needs of the medical community, contributing to family reunification and assisting with hospital triage.

MISSION MODE’s Situation Center Suite. Emergency Management Software and Response System

INASAFE 2.0 software tool jointly developed by Indonesia’s National Disaster Management Agency (BNPB), Australia and the World Bank. ;

IT community competes in Disaster Management software development AUG 08 2014 , Indonesia

Black Swan Solutions has more than 30 years of experience assisting organizations in preparing for, responding to, and recovering from the human impact of crises.

Tomaszewski, Bryan. Geographic Information Systems (GIS) for Disaster Management CRC Press. Dec. 19, 2014.

Gutierrez, Jason/IRIN. “Which technology to use for disaster management?” BANGKOK, 30 May 2013.

Ferreira Manso, Daniel. “Does anyone know a software for managing disasters besides Sahana/Eden?” Institute for Operational Analysis.

VISIONLINK. Disaster Relief Software.

CASEWORTHY Disaster Relief Software.

ESRI Emergency and Disaster Management.

HEXAGON GEOSPATIAL Disaster Management.

HAZUS-MH. FEMA. to support risk-informed decision making efforts by estimating potential losses from earthquakes, floods, and hurricanes and visualizing the effects of such hazards.

ASSET EDGE - NATIONAL DISASTER MANAGEMENT SOFTWARE.—natural-disaster-management-software

FUGITSU Disaster Response and Management

KISTERS software for natural disaster management


NEOD: Network Embedded On-line Disaster management framework for Software Defined Networking

Improving Disaster Management: The Role of IT in Mitigation, Preparedness … By National Research Council, Division on Engineering and Physical Sciences, Computer Science and Telecommunications Board, Committee on Using Information Technology to Enhance Disaster Management.

PDP (Provincial Development) Disaster Management Software. FIGI.


Contents [hide]

1 Emergency / Disaster Management Systems and Products 1.1 Sahana Disaster Management System 1.2 UN OCHA Who is Doing What Where 1.3 UN Reliefweb 1.4 LA RED/ UNDP-GRIP DesInventar 1.5 Federal Emergency Management Information System 1.6 UN GDACS Virtual OSOCC 1.7 Origen Emergency Management System 1.8 (FEMA) National Shelter System 1.9 SUMA 1.10 Workpad 1.11 ESS Crisis Management 2 Pending Classification 2.1 Ushahidi CrowdSourcing Crisis Information System 2.2 Risepak 2.3 DMIS Disaster Management Information System 2.4 e-Sponder (MS Sharepoint based) 2.5 WebEOC 2.6 NC4’s eTeam 2.7 ESS Essential Emergency 2.8 CMS Crisis Commander 2.9 EmerGeo 2.10 Emergency Manager Pro 2.11 Alerttech OpsCenter 2.12 Dynamic COMPAS 2.13 Microsoft Groove 2.14 ORCHESTRA 2.15 ARCE++ 2.16 SIGAME 3 Related Reports and Links APPENDIX: Open Source Resources for major Disaster & Emergency Management Situations


OpenEMR Launches Easy Install Option for Amazon’s Cloud Services CMS To Invest $5+ Billion a Year in Open Source and Cloud-based IT Infrastructure for Medicaid How Percona Has Built a Successful Open Source Business Based on Support and Services Revenues World’s Largest Open Source Health Information Technology Project Tackles Ebola Is Single-Payer the Right Payer? Daring to Defend the Federal Bureaucracy Melbourne volunteers helping build OpenMRS e-health extension Government Agencies at all levels starting to use OpenStreetMap CSSi Awarded VA T4 Task Order On Health IT Opioid Epidemic Makes EHRs Essential to Public Health HOME

Open Source Resources for major Disaster & Emergency Management Situations By Peter Groen | October 30, 2012. Open Health News: The Voice of the Open Health Community.

As everyone knows by now, the super storm known as ‘Hurricane Sandy’ has caused considerable devastation across the East Coast of the United States and all the way up to the Great Lakes region. The effects of the storm will continue to be felt for days and weeks as major portions of the East Coast are without electricity and flooding is expected to continue for days.

Under these circumstances it seemed appropriate to put together a listing of open source applications that have been successfully used in emergencies and disaster recovery all over the world. In times of man-made crises or natural disasters there are a range of organizations, web sites, open source tools, mobile apps, and more that might be of use to first responders and citizens in general. Check out some of the following resources:

BioSense Project – This is a CDC program and collaborative project aimed at providing public health officials with the data, information and tools they need to better prepare for and coordinate responses to safeguard and improve the health of the American people. Caribbean Disaster Emergency Response Agency (CDERA) - This is a regional inter-governmental disaster management organization which serves the Caribbean community. CDC Widgets & Gadgets - The Center for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) now provides a wide range of free public domain software widgets & gadgets for use on your computer systems or web sites focused on public health & safety Countermeasure Tracking System (CTS) - Developed and maintained by the CDC for federal, state, and local public health agencies to track and manage countermeasure inventories and usage during all-hazards events. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) - Provides free software, tools, mobile apps, and support services to U.S. citizens and first responders related to improving our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from major man-made or natural disasters FrontlineSMS - An award-winning free and open source software product that can turn a laptop or mobile phone into a central communications hub. Proven to be very useful in emergency management or humanitarian crisis situations. Global Disaster Information Network (GDIN) - An international organization focused on providing reliable information about disasters, both manmade and natural. They also provide information to disaster response and relief organizations on ways of helping the survivors of different disasters, as well as guidance on preventing or responding to future disasters. Health Alert Network (HAN) - The CDC Health Alert Network (HAN) provides Health Alerts, Health Advisories, Updates, and Info Service Messages to State and Local Health Officers, Public Information Officers, Epidemiologists, HAN Coordinators, and health care provider organizations across the U.S. HHS Office of Preparedness & Medical Emergency Response - The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) Office of Preparedness & Emergency Operations (OPEO) is responsible for developing operational plans, studies, products, training, information and tools to ensure the preparedness of the Federal Government and the public to respond to and recover from domestic and international public health and medical threats and emergencies. InSTEDD - Innovative Support to Emergencies, Diseases, and Disasters (InSTEDD) is a non-profit collaborative organization focused on the design and use of open source technology tools to help partners enhance collaboration and improve information flow to better deliver critical services to vulnerable populations during man-made crises or natural disasters. Integrated Public Alert & Warning System (IPAWS) OPEN - This Open Platform for Emergency Networks (OPEN) is a collaborative initiative of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. National EMS Information System (NEMSIS) - A national effort to standardize the data collected by Emergency Management Service (EMS) agencies. Over time it is expected that NEMSIS will become the national repository that will be used to store EMS data from every state in the nation. Open ISES - This software development project and associated community are dedicated to creating free & open source software, tools and instructional materials for the Emergency Services Community, Civilian Emergency Response Teams, and others. Ready.Gov - is a U.S. government web site and information portal designed to educate and empower Americans to prepare for and respond to emergencies including natural and man-made disasters. Real-time Outbreak & Disease Surveillance (RODS) - A free software package for public health biosurveillance used to collect and analyze disease surveillance data in real time. It is funded by the CDC and the National Library of Medicine (NLM). Sahana Foundation Projects / - A free and open source Disaster Management system addressing the common coordination problems during a disaster from finding missing people, managing aid, managing volunteers, tracking camps effectively between government agencies, non-government organizations (NGO), and the victims themselves. Society for Public Health Education (SOPHE) - SOPHE and the National Environmental Health Promotion Network (NEHPN) are dedicated to promoting resources in the fields of environmental health and emergency preparedness. TriSano - A highly configurable and comprehensive public health data application allowing local, state, federal, and international agencies to identify, investigate and mitigate communicable and chronic diseases, environmental hazards, and bioterrorism events. Ushahidi - A non-profit tech organization & project specializing in developing free & open source software for information collection, visualization and interactive mapping data related to man-made crises and natural disasters. WebEMS - An open source web-based suite of tools used to facilitate emergency medical services (EMS). It supports the entire Ambulance Services pipeline with modules that include dispatch, crew scheduling, mobile field data collection, billing, administration, and reporting. Wireless Information System for Emergency Responders (WISER) - A free system provided by NLM designed to assist first responders in hazardous material incidents, providing a wide range of information on hazardous substances, human health information, and containment & suppression advice.


Also see this table managed by Sahana Foundation (Devin Balkind) and Willow Bl00:

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