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Information Coordination between Heterogeneous Emergency and Relief Agencies

5th International Conference on Information Systems for Crisis Response and Management ISCRAM2008
SPECIAL SESSION on Information Coordination between Heterogeneous Emergency and Relief Agencies

Motivation

In times of emergency organizations, both governmental and non-governmental, operate in conditions of extreme uncertainty. The uncertainty has many sources, including the sporadic nature of emergencies, the lack of warning associated with emergencies, and the wide array of actors who may or may not respond to any one emergency. This uncertainty increases the need for information, but at the same time research has shown that the amount of operational information flowing through an organization during an emergency can be overwhelming. In these circumstances appropriate ICTs could make substantial improvements in the relief process.

Research Area

While improved coordination is a noble goal itself, the real aim is to improve emergency and relief services. To date it is unclear just how much improvement in relief services result from improved coordination in the ICT realm. While anecdotal evidence of benefits exists to ignite efforts, a more systematic analysis of the ICT coordination benefits (or lack thereof) is called for. Successful ICT coordination in emergency relief will require that organizations, both governmental and non-governmental, to both overcome the challenges and take advantage of the benefits presented by their environment. These inter-organizational challenges are of both a general and relief-context nature as well as relating specifically to coordination ICTs. While the environment can pose many challenges to coordination, the inherent interdependencies can also facilitate coordination. Empirical studies on inter-organizational coordination have found that informal contacts, good historical relations with other organizations, common commitment, existence of common language, accessibility to other organizations, professionalism, standardization, structural similarities, scarce resources and frequent external communications all serve to enhance coordination efforts.

Topics

Some non-exhaustive examples of topics that could contribute to this session are

ï Models of organizational structures leading to improved coordination and collaboration between agencies
ï Models of how collaboration and coordination might impact the emergency response supply chain
ï Models of 3rd party coordination bodies between organizations
ï Models of shared organizational and technological infrastructure
ï Coordination and Collaboration intra-agency and inter-agencies
ï Tools for the cooperation in normality and emergency situations
ï Information Interoperability among agencies
ï Sharing of ICT infrastructures in the emergency area
ï Cooperation among agencies
ï Coordination of supplies for the emergency relief
ï Coordination and collaboration between operative centres and operative teams
ï Leadership of multi-organizational response teams
ï Open source ICT solutions

Click here to download the Special Session Call in PDF format
 

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