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Ontologies for Crisis Management

5th International Conference on Information Systems for Crisis Response and Management ISCRAM2008
SPECIAL SESSION on Ontologies for Crisis Management

Motivation
What is a crisis? When does a crisis begin, and when does it end? What factors are likely to aggravate or alleviate a crisis? How is a crisis different from an emergency, or a disaster? Who are the players, stakeholders, actors and agents responsible for action during a global emergency and what are their roles? What and whose procedures are to be followed? What protocols are in place to support coordination and communication among the various agents? What infrastructures are in place? How can community ìresilienceî fit into the picture? Where are the bottlenecks? How can information systems be deployed and used to improve crisis management and support the optimization of resources and relief operations when the need arises? How can transparency and collaboration be balanced with security and privacy measures during a crisis? How feasible is a common shared ontology for emergency management? Will such an ontology scale to international levels and who will drive this process and manage its evoloution?

These, and many more, are ìontological challengesî that pertain to the emergency management functions across all levels of government, non-government organisations, industry, and community groups. During a crisis incident, they all need to collaborate and cooperate and share information and resources to respond and recovery from the disaster. Under these conditions, it is critical that they share a common ontology to support their crisis functions and decision making roles.

This session aims to provide an opportunity to allow researchers and practitioners to present their views, and to stimulate experts to further investigate the underlying ìontological challengesî that are at the heart of technical information cooperation during an international crisis.

Research Area

Ontologies are critical to the design and management of complex and sustainable information systems and are central to information flow in crisis management. The need to improve and open up knowledge and research in the area for ìontologies for crisis managementî is becoming compelling and relevant to real-world requirements.

Ontological challenges relating to crisis management need to be asked, and answered, in order to provide mechanism to widen adoption, interoperability, usefulness, efficiency, robustness, reliability, availability and accountability of information systems, during emergencies.

The ontologies need to represent a wide cross section of dynamic emergency functions and to support dynamically adaptive real time scenarios as changes occur quickly and need to be propagated widely. Reasoning and decision making must be transparent and flexible with the support of crisis ontologies. The boundaries of this emerging research area is vast and still be determined.

Ontology research has been increasing over the past years with the Semantic Web providing new technologies to solve ontological needs across disciplines and domains. Ontology management still faces many challenges when taken at the broader level ñ in particular at an international level - across many different stakeholder areas. How can ontologies support the many agencies and groups involved in a crisis?

Ontology research is needed to address the information needs of emergency management. Conceptual analysis is need to build ontologies based on a sound framework. The ontologies need to represent a wide cross section of dynamic functions.

In this session we invite qualified scientists, researchers, observers and stakeholders to make their case and help shape the future role of ontology-based information systems in support of crisis management.

Topics

Topic areas for this session include, but are not limited to:

ï Frameworks, concepts, and models for crisis ontologies
ï Methods and tools for defining semantics of crisis ontolgies
ï Managing the evolution of crisis ontologies
ï Interoperation and integration of crisis ontolgies
ï Knowledge representation and reasoning with crisis ontologies
ï Systems, services, and infrastructures for crisis ontologies
ï Standards and languages of crisis ontologies

Click here to download the Special Session Call in PDF format
 

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