Inspiration

During September 11th, immediately after the first attack, the captains and crews of a large number of local boats steamed into the attack zone to assist in the evacuation efforts. The non-government assets could have been utilized in a more effective way if they were more planned with appropriate communication.

Problem

After a disaster, emergency forces are normally lacking a comprehensive list of available resources at hand. It makes the mobilization of different transportation assets a major challenge in the first 48 hours of an emergency.

Desired State

In large scale disasters that exceeds traditional capacity, knowing the capacity of non-traditional resources from private contractors and resources of different governmental organizations can be invaluable.

Solution

Mobilization Manager delivers a data fusion platform for transportation asset analysis, enabling emergency officers to have a comprehensive list of all available transportation resources in one system. Data of governmental resources, resources from private contractors, and potential, not-yet contracted resources are displayed in one overview.

What It Does

Mobilization Manager allows you to visualize and search through transportation assets crucial for the first disaster response. It allows analytics for evacuation coverage and enables a better first-response preparedness.

How We Built It

We propose a common data format for transportation assets. On an abstract way, the most relevant properties of a transportation assets are range, capacity and location. This abstraction allows us to plug in data from different systems, different assets, and of different entities. Next, this data can be accessed, enriched, and processed with a middleware data access service written in NodeJS. Our analytics front-end panel communicates with the data access service and allows:

  • Static evacuation capacity per evacuation zone with an arbitrary radius and epicenter.
  • Search and filtering for relevant transportation assets within a radius of a disaster epicenter.
  • Synchronization with relevant data periodically in local storage which enables continuous workflow without interruptions. It also comes as a Progressive Web Application that can be installed on a wide range of mobile and portable devices. The infrastructure is based in a Docker container that can be easily developed at low cost on-premise or cloud infrastructure.

Challenges We Ran Into

Our initial hypothesis was that organizing of volunteers in emergencies is not an a structured process and emergency managers do not have a comprehensive overview of the available volunteer resources during an emergency. As we spoke with the mentors, we realized that the lack extends to every asset that can be deployed to any kind of cloud infrastructure.

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