SGER: Information Retrieval and Exchange under Extreme Pressure
H. Raghav Rao Principal Investigator
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Crisis Management Organizations (CMOs) have been criticized for their less-than-ideal-performance through the major disasters of the past few years. In order for emergency responders to make right decisions under extreme time constraints and psychological pressure,it is necessary to begin to understand the information retrieval and exchange behaviors of emergency responders, and trace the information back to find out which CMO produces and consumes what types of information, how they interact, and what facilitates developing more readily acceptable information exchange systems for emergency responders.<br/><br/>This grant will begin the process of analyzing information retrieval and exchange behavior in various pseudo emergency response exercises. These are Dutch COPI(Commander Place Incident Team) exercises that will be conducted in the Port of Rotterdam. The US research will collect data from participants of the exercises, which will shed light on relationships between a) the value of information and the value of optimal decision timing, b) control over shared information systems and valuation of information quality, c) immediate public safety needs and security of sensitive information, and d) (dis)aggregation of information and (de)centralization of information processing under severe pressure. This grant will support the development of an international research partnership with Dutch researchers who have access to the inter?organizational disaster response exercises (i.e., COPI) in Dec. 2007, February 2008 and May 2008.<br/><br/>Intellectual Merit<br/>This research will build a foundation (i.e., categorization and scaling schemes for information and relationships) for larger, potentially transformative research that can fundamentally change the way that CMOs share information. Future research will develop mechanisms and protocols for an adaptive Emergency Responder Information Exchange (ERIX) system. The envisaged system can ensure a satisfactory level of inter?organizational information sharing in extreme pressure conditions and help establish information exchange relationships among relevant CMOs, even if the CMOs have never shared their information before. The proposed research will provide initial parameters (e.g., taxonomy, metrics, attributes of emergency information and organizational relationships) and feasibility measures to the transformative research, Information systems for emergency responders can also be improved by incorporating findings from this project.<br/><br/>Broad Impact<br/>The data to be collected under this grant will contribute to a better understanding of the flow of information and related decisions in the crisis management and response arena. Expansion of our knowledge and understanding of these topics clearly stand to benefit the broader society; this is only made more appealing by the international aspects of the research.