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Paper w78-2010-102:
Coordinating Urban Incident Management & Reconstruction Using Social Web

Facilitated by the SciX project

Mahmoud O. Abou-Beih, Tamer E. El-Diraby, Baher A. Abdulhai

Coordinating Urban Incident Management & Reconstruction Using Social Web

Abstract: The enormous widespread and relative maturity of collaborative and social applications in Web 2.0 has encouraged metropolitans worldwide to incorporate them into their emergency management systems. This paper describes SWIMS (Semantic Web Based Incident Management System), a middleware system that integrates Web 2.0 collaborative/social applications with software agent technologies on GIS-based platform in an aim to enhance emergency management practices in urban transportation networks. The paper then compares the IT needs of this domain (incident management domain) with those of construction IT. A set of lessons and similarities are explored to guide the development of a collaborative, process-oriented system for urban incident management. Three of the main goals behind developing SWIMS are: (i) efficient information dissemination to increase public awareness of current emergency conditions in order to influence their commuting decisions, (ii) increase public participation in emergencies reporting and description to enhance the efficiency of emergency response processes, (iii) and provide a GIS-based middleware for optimized response resources allocation and management.When it comes to emergency reporting, finding equilibrium between public participation and information credibility is crucial for the system success. In this context, the authors propose a model to validate the integrity of received information; helping to provide a good balance between public participation and information reliability. In addition the paper illustrates the role of software agents in handling the enormous continuous flow of data resulting from massive anticipated public participation and due to the nature of emergency management process in general. Agents communicate using asynchronous message passing, acting as an interface between various Web 2.0 collaboration systems and SWIMS. This also helps to overcome any syntax and/or schematic heterogeneity between SWIMS and collaborative applications data structures. The roles of software agents in response resources allocation and management as well as coordination of relief efforts and decision updates are also discussed. The experiences in developing and implementing this project are thoroughly discussed and analyzed in this paper.

Keywords: multi-agent system, GIS, incident management, social web


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