Natural Disasters - the right information in the right hands
To effectively respond to natural disasters, decision makers need information that is easy to act on, fast.
Australia is prone to natural disasters, most frequently bushfires and floods. Indeed, the whole planet faces its greatest challenge in history, climate change. When responding to these threats, the best weapon emergency services have is their ability to mobilise data into action - saving lives, land and livestock.
Same thing, different name? Or is it the same name, different situation?
Natural disasters have a few things in common. They can be sudden, surprising, and vicious. But they are not completely unpredictable. Making decisions based on data in the heat of the moment relies on the data being accurate, and terminology being streamlined.
The problem isn’t that such accurate information doesn’t exist. But useful data belongs to too many disparate agencies or departments, who currently may not have efficient ways to share and consolidate their data.
In addition, each organisation may work based on differing taxonomies. For example, perhaps the definition of a Priority 1 emergency in one response unit doesn’t align with the definition at another.
So, how do we gather essential data in one place and then disseminate it in a format that is accessible to both emergency services decision makers and the frontline?
Aggregation of information for speedy responses to natural disasters
The SURROUND Ontology Platform can be used to make sense out of unlinked data and language across literally limitless sources. With the ability to quickly digest information regardless of the taxonomy or origin, emergency service responses can be better informed than ever before, even when inhibitors such as interruptions to cellular service, varying levels of skills of responders, and gaps in information in mapping present issues in emergency circumstances.
A Discrete Global Grid System (DGGS) has been trialed by SURROUND for aggregating critical but disparate information from multiple sources which can inform decision making. This will have positive impacts on services such as schools, power stations, water supply, substations, and public transport. Either separately or in combination with the ontology platform, SURROUND can provide the underlying information needed for a visualisation tool that informs and supports rapid decision making under time sensitive circumstances.