Wednesday, March 20, 2013

New attempt to build disaster management platform

A few days ago The University of Melbourne, IBM and NICTA announced their joint project to develop the Australia Disaster Management Platform (ADMP). The aim is to build “…an innovative, integrated, open standards-based disaster management platform designed to gather, integrate and analyse vast amounts of geo-spatial and infrastructure information from multiple data sets to create real-time practical information streams on disaster events.” The platform is expected to include 3D visualisation, simulation, forecasting, behavioural modelling and sensors. It is quite an ambitious undertaking but given the profile of institutions involved some good should come of it, eventually – initial pilot will focus on Melbourne and it will only be a proof of concept.

The announcement indicates that the ADMP will be developed and implemented in close collaboration with emergency services, and will be based on existing roadmaps such as the Victorian Emergency Management Reform - Whitepaper, Dec 2012. The Platform will then facilitate informed decision-making by communicating the information, via various channels and at appropriate levels of detail, to the wide spectrum of people involved in making emergency decisions - from the central coordinating agencies that are charged with directing activities, to on-ground emergency services personnel, through to the local community.

The comments published under the article in the Sydney Morning Herald announcing the project highlight initial scepticism of the community to this initiative. It probably reflects general perception of lack of progress on disaster mitigation and disaster response front since 2009 Victorian bushfires. To be fair, a lot has happened since then and emergency response organisations learnt and improved a lot as well but it appears members of the community feel that still not enough has been done to date.

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