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|W3C Forms Emergency Information Interoperability Framework Incubator Group.
W3C has announced the formation of a new Emergency Information Interoperability Framework Incubator Group as part of the W3C Incubator Activity. The Group has been chartered through 01-December-2008 to "review and analyse the current state-of-the-art in vocabularies used in emergency management functions and to investigate the path forward via an emergency management systems information interoperability framework. These activities will lay the groundwork for a more comprehensive approach to ontology management and semantic information interoperability leading to a proposal for future longer-term W3C Working Group activity."
The EIIF Incubator Group will primarily conduct its work on the public mailing list 'public-xg-eiif'. The The XG's Initial Chairs are Renato Iannella (NICTA) and Chamindra de Silva (Lanka Software Foundation/Virtusa).
Initiating Members of the EIIF Incubator Group include National ICT Australia (NICTA) Ltd, Google, Swedish Institute of Computer Science (SICS), and IBM Corporation.
The Emergency Information Interoperability Framework Incubator Group "will form a strong liaison to the OASIS Emergency Management Technical Committee, via the Chair, who is a member of that group. The XG intends to collect and categorize numerous emergency management related vocabularies and in the process will gain a comprehensive picture of the key stakeholders. This will include other standards groups, national and international emergency management groups, and international resilience and relief organisations."
The new Incubator Group has been formed following several months of planning, documented in a W3C public list; 'public-disaster-management-ont' has been used in planning for the creation of the Incubator Group for Disaster Management Ontologies.
Participants in the Incubator Group recognize that "the wide range of organisations involved in emergency management requires a collaborative approach to the sharing of information. Information systems to support a collaborative approach to emergency management can add significant value, especially as the scope and scale of an event increases, and with it the volume of information that is required to be managed and shared...
"It is essential that information is stored and communicated in common formats to ensure that information can be easily exchanged and aggregated to support the decision making process. A key component of this process is ensuring that consistent definitions (vocabulary) are used to support meaningful sharing of information.
The new W3C incubator group aims to encourage the emergency management community in the development of clearly defined vocabularies and a framework for information interoperability to ensure that meaningful sharing and aggregation of information to assist in emergency functions..."
Excerpted (and adapted) from the Emergency Information Interoperability Framework Incubator Group Charter
The emergency management community encompasses a broad spectrum of local, national and international organisations with a role in emergency and disaster management. Comprehensive emergency management is generally composed of four key components:
- Reduction: the reduction of hazard impacts and community vulnerabilities to natural and human-made events
- Readiness: increasing the capacity and capability of communities to response to events including planning, training, exercising, warning systems and public education
- Response: response to an event focusing on immediate life safety and survivals needs — medical, food, water, and shelter
- Recovery: the restoration of the impacted community to near or improved pre-event levels
There are a wide variety of roles in which information systems are used by emergency managers:
- Assessment of natural and human-made hazards, including the identification and mapping of impacted communities and community infrastructure
- Facilitate emergency response planning and pre-event sharing of information
- Provision of emergency warning systems
- Collection, assessment and sharing of disaster impact information, including people and infrastructure
- Co-ordinating the logistics associated with response and recovery
- Supporting networks of local services and groups with reduction and readiness functions
The wide range of organisations involved in emergency management requires a collaborative approach to the sharing of information. Information systems to support a collaborative approach to emergency management can add significant value, especially as the scope and scale of an event increases, and with it the volume of information that is required to be managed and shared.
It is essential that information is stored and communicated in common formats to ensure that information can be easily exchanged and aggregated to support the decision making process. A key component of this process is ensuring that consistent definitions (vocabulary) are used to support meaningful sharing of information.
This W3C incubator group aims to encourage the emergency management community in the development of clearly defined vocabularies and a framework for information interoperability to ensure that meaningful sharing and aggregation of information to assist in emergency functions.
Success Criteria: The XG will prove successful if, in addition to the Deliverables, it will:
- Encourage collaboration between experts, local authorities, relief specialists and non-governmental agencies
- Promote the development of interoperability standards for co-ordinating hazard and community vulnerability information
- Highlight best practice in improving the interoperability of emergency management information systems
National ICT Australia (NICTA) Ltd "National ICT Australia (NICTA) was established in 2002. We are a national organisation with five laboratories in four cities: Melbourne, Sydney, Canberra and Brisbane. Our objective is to become a world-class Research Institute and Centre-of-Excellence in science and innovation. NICTA brings together many of Australia's and the world's top researchers in ICT. NICTA uniquely combines excellence in research, education, commercialisation and collaboration. We work in close collaboration with industry and other research institutions to solve problems and make breakthroughs in ICT which can be put to use for public benefit. Key NICTA themes are embedded systems, networked systems, making sense of data, and managing complexity. NICTA is funded under the Australian Government's Backing Australia's Ability program through the Department of Communications, Information Technology and the Arts (DCITA) and the Australian Research Council (ARC). NICTA members include the Australian Capital Territory Government, the New South Wales Government, the University of New South Wales and the Australian National University." NICTA supports the W3C activity as it relates to research on crisis information standards.
Google. "Named for the mathematical term googol [a 1 followed by 100 zeros] Google operates websites at many international domains, with the most trafficked being Google.com. Google is widely recognized as the world's best search engine because it is fast, accurate and easy to use. The company also serves corporate clients, including advertisers, content publishers and site managers with cost-effective advertising and a wide range of revenue-generating search services. Through technology development and a continuing focus on innovation, we work every day on our core mission: to organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful."
Swedish Institute of Computer Science (SICS). "Swedish Institute of Computer Science (SICS), is a non-profit research organization with approximately 100 researchers. The main office is situated in Kista outside Stockholm with smaller offices in Uppsala, Göteborg, and Västerås. The mission of SICS is to contribute to the competitive strength of industry by conducting advanced research in strategic areas of computer science, and to actively promote the use of new research ideas and results in industry and in society at large. SICS collaborates with both large and small companies — in Sweden and internationally. SICS research activities create value for industry and society in many different ways, including people mobility, research projects, scientific dissemination, and spin-off companies."
IBM. "IBM Corporation is the world's largest information technology company, with 80 years of leadership in helping businesses innovate. IBM software offers the widest range of infrastructure software for all types of computing platforms, allowing customers to take full advantage of the new era of e-business. IBM developerWorks is IBM's technical resource web site for developers, providing a wide range of tools, code, and education on products as well as on open standards technology such as Web services, Wireless, Linux, XML, Java technologies, and more. IBM alphaWorks provides a unique opportunity for early adopter developers around the world to experience the latest innovations from IBM; over 200 technologies are available for download."
This XG will develop three specific results:
- XG Report on the current state-of-the-art of vocabularies and terminologies used in emergency management. This will present a categorised snap-shot of ontology usage and development plans.
- XG Report on an interoperability information framework for emergency management. This will provide a reference model for information interoperability across the functions and stakeholders.
- Final XG Report with recommendations for future activities. This may include recommendations to develop formal Working Groups to address identified standardization efforts, as listed in the Scope section.
While the XG will not have any direct dependencies, there are a number of related efforts with which it intends to maintain close communications. The XG will form a strong liaison to the OASIS Emergency Management Technical Committee, via the Chair, who is a member of that group.
The XG intends to collect and categorize numerous emergency management related vocabularies and in the process will gain a comprehensive picture of the key stakeholders. This will include other standards groups, national and international emergency management groups, and international resilience and relief organisations. The XG will solicit and welcome input from these and other efforts of which we become aware during the duration of the XG.
It is envisioned that the XG will teleconference fortnightly at a time that provides an adequate compromise over the various time zones of the interested participants. Extensive discussion will also be carried out on the XG mailing list. Additionally, it may be useful to have one or two face-to-face meetings at a venue for which a significant number of XG participants are likely to attend.
As explained in the Process Document (section 3.3), this group will seek to make decisions when there is consensus. When the Chair puts a question and observes dissent, after due consideration of different opinions, the Chair should record a decision (possibly after a formal vote) and any objections, and move on.
When deciding on a substantive technical issue, the Chair may put a question before the group. The Chair must only do so during a group meeting, and at least two-thirds of participants in Good Standing must be in attendance. When the Chair conducts a formal vote to reach a decision on a substantive technical issue, eligible voters may vote on a proposal in one of three ways: for a proposal, against a proposal, or abstain. For the proposal to pass there must be more votes for the proposal than against. In case of a tie, the Chair will decide the outcome of the proposal.
The Incubator Group charter is written in accordance with Section 3.4, Votes of the W3C Process Document and includes no voting procedures beyond what the Process Document requires.
Participants [in the Incubator Group] agree to offer patent licenses according to the W3C Royalty-Free licensing requirements described in Section 5 of the W3C Patent Policy for any portions of the XG Reports produced by this XG that are subsequently incorporated into a W3C Recommendation produced by a Working Group which is chartered to take the XG Report as an input. This licensing commitment may not be revoked but may be modified through the Exclusion process defined in Section 4 of the Patent Policy.
Participants in this Incubator Group wishing to exclude essential patent claims from the licensing commitment must join the Working Group created to work on the XG Report and follow the normal exclusion procedures defined by the Patent Policy. The W3C Team is responsible for notifying all Participants in this Incubator Group in the event that a new Working Group is proposed to develop a Recommendation that takes the XG Report as an input...
The W3C Incubator Activity fosters rapid development, on a time scale of a year or less, of new Web-related concepts. Target concepts include innovative ideas for specifications, guidelines, and applications that are not (or not yet) clear candidates as Web standards developed through the more thorough process afforded by the W3C Recommendation Track. Advantages of the Incubator Activity include:
- Rapid start of work in an Incubator Group (XG)
- Lightweight process, initiated by W3C Members
- Rapid finish to produce an XG Report in under one year
- Smooth transition to the W3C Recommendation Track, if desired and approved
- Use of W3C infrastructure (mailing lists, communications tools, Web site) and consensus-building within W3C culture
Three or more W3C Members draft an XG charter. Use the online charter generator to create an initial charter, then edit the resulting HTML document. The Advisory Committee Representative of one of the charter authors must send the charter proposal by email.. AC Representatives from the other initiating W3C Members must confirm their support of the XG proposal in a reply-all to the initial email...
See XML and Emergency Management for a description of several standards efforts related to Emergency Management. Here are three examples; others are listed in the paper by Eli Rohn:
OASIS Emergency Management TC. Chartered in 2003, the OASIS Emergency Management Technical Committee was chartered to enhance the use of data standards in emergencies, which increases the speed and accuracy of warnings, reduces the cost and complexity of systems, and allows seamless communication between sensors and alerting technologies, emergency management organizations, and the general public. The TC supports development and adoption of several standards relating to public safety and emergency management, including (1) alerting, warning, and informing responders and the public (2) incident reporting and tracking; (3) resource identification, tasking and tracking. This OASIS TC is associated with the OASIS Emergency Interoperability (EI) Member Section, which "accelerates the development, adoption, application, and implementation of emergency interoperability and communications standards and related work. EI endeavors to represent and serve the needs of all constituents, from practitioners to technology providers and national, international and multinational oversight agencies."
The Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) has announced a Core Services Initiative: "COMCARE Emergency Response Alliance, the Open Geospatial Consortium, Inc. (OGC), the National Emergency Number Association (NENA) and the National Association of State Fire Marshals (NASFM) jointly announced they will conduct a Core Services Initiative to significantly improve interoperable, inter-organizational communications and information sharing for emergency preparedness, response and recovery. The initiative will leverage requirements and technical designs developed by COMCARE, OGC processes and standards-based technologies, and the skills, expertise and best practices of NENA and NASFM to advance this effort. The Initiative will leverage the developed Core Services along with OGC's open standards to demonstrate the ability of authorized agencies to send warnings and alerts to the appropriate public, to send and receive emergency messages (data) to and from other authorized organizations, and to more easily link radio, cellular, and land-line voice systems together."
Sahana is a Free and Open Source Disaster Management system. It is a web based collaboration tool that addresses the common coordination problems during a disaster from finding missing people, managing aid, managing volunteers, tracking camps effectively between Government groups, the civil society (NGOs) and the victims themselves... The Sahana Free and Open Source Disaster Management System was conceived during the 2004 Sri Lanka tsunami. The system was developed to help manage the scale of the disaster and was deployed by a government's Center of National Operations (CNO), which included the Center of Humanitarian Agencies (CHA). Based on the success of this initial application and the dire need for good disaster management solutions, particularly to handle large-scale disasters, Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA) funded a second phase through LSF (Lanka Software Foundation) to generalize the application for global use and to help in any large-scale disaster.
- W3C Emergency Information Interoperability Framework Incubator Group
- Emergency Information Interoperability Framework Incubator Group Charter. 2007-12-03 or later. Charter latest version: http://www.w3.org/2005/Incubator/eiif/charter.
- W3C News item: "Emergency Information Interoperability Framework" Focus of Incubator Group
- Mailing list archive of the Public Discussion Forum email@example.com. Also with RSS Feed. Members of the public may subscribe; post email to firstname.lastname@example.org. The W3C Emergency Information Interoperability Framework Incubator Group will primarily conduct its work on this public mailing list.
- Blog: Semantic Web Activity News. By Ivan Herman.
- W3C Disaster Management Wiki
- Emergency management definitions
- W3C Public mailing list 'public-disaster-management-ont'. Used in planning for the creation of an Incubator Group for Disaster Management Ontologies.
- Photos by Chamindra de Silva, Disaster Management Ontology/Interop BoF held after ISCRAM 2007.
- Contacts: EIIF Incubator Group co-Chairs Renato Iannella and Chamindra de Silva
- W3C Contact: Ivan Herman, W3C Semantic Web Activity Lead
- Papers and other resources:
- XML and Emergency Management. Description of several standards efforts related to Emergency Management.
- [Rohn 2007]. Eli Rohn (New Jersey Institute of Technology), "A Survey of Schema Standards and Portals for Emergency Management and Collaboration," In: Proceedings of the 4th International Conference on Information Systems for Crisis Response and Management ISCRAM 2007 (Eds. B. Van de Walle, P. Burghardt and C. Nieuwenhuis), 2007, pp. 263-269. Presented at ISCRAM 2007: Intelligent Human Computer Systems for Crisis Response and Management (Delft, the Netherlands, May 13-16 2007). From the listing of ISCRAM 2007 Academic Proceedings Papers. See the full legal text for this CC License. [source[
- "Disaster Management, Ontology and the Semantic Web." By Quentin Halliday. June 14, 2007.
- Semantic Wikis and Disaster Relief Operations By Soenke Ziesche. December 13, 2006.
- Disaster and Emergency Management terminology. By Gavin Treadgold. See the Terms
- NOAA Experimental XML Feeds and Web Displays of Watches, Warnings, and Advisories
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