ISCRAM is Conducting Survey for Masters Degree on EM Information Systems

ISCRAM is Conducting Survey for Masters Degree on EM Information Systems

ISCRAM, the international academic-practitioner group focused on Information Systems for Crisis Response and Management is conducting a survey that may be of interest to many people. The survey is looking for input on a Master's level degree in EM with a concentration in information systems.  

I like ISCRAM's approach because it is not just about a particular type of technology such as GIS. Information systems for EM is sorely underrepresented in higher education and something I believe should be in included in every degree program.  This topic is also near and dear to my heart as I have not only written about information and technology in EM, but is also the subject of my research and future work. 

You need not be an expert in information systems, information, or technology to respond to this survey.  In fact a non-technical EM expert may provide some great feedback! 

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NYU's GovLab is Crowdsourcing Innovation for the Cotopaxi Volcano Eruption

NYU's GovLab is Crowdsourcing Innovation for the Cotopaxi Volcano Eruption

NYU's Governance Lab (GovLab) is looking for some experts to participate in a series of virtual roundtable problem-solving discussions to help the Ecuador government and its local cities prepare for an increasingly likely eruption of the Cotopaxi Volcano. The volcano has recently become very active. If it erupts, some communities will have less than 30 minutes to evacuate.  

For some background, GovLab is an NYU Wagner School of Public Service lab that helps institutions work more openly and collaboratively by harnessing the power of the crowd in problem solving. GovLab also harnesses the latest practices and innovations in data and technology to support its mission.  

If you believe you can offer expertise or support for one of the sessions below...

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Jetblue is Hiring for a BC/EM Tech Strategy and Management Position

Jetblue is Hiring for a BC/EM Tech Strategy and Management Position

I do not come across technology strategy and management positions in emergency management very often. Positions like these signal a commitment to the responsible use of technology by dedicating someone knowledgeable to think through how technology can better support the organization's mission. This is vital to ensuring you maximize the value of the technology that you license and have at your disposal.  

If you are interested in this type of position, Jetblue is hiring a Senior Analyst for Business Continuity and Emergency Response Systems. This role was specially created a few years ago and I believe there are some awesome travel benefits!

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National Survey on R&D Priorities related to EOC Technology

National Survey on R&D Priorities related to EOC Technology

I just came across this national survey on EOC technology.  The goal of the researcher is to establish research and development priorities.  I think this is a great idea and am glad to see it sponsored by some big names such as Harvard, AMTRAK, City of Los Angeles and the Department of Homeland Security.  The survey takes about 10 minutes.  Respond to the survey by clicking the button below or clicking this link.

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Are We Really Better Off with NY Offering a Free Common Disaster Platform?

One of the glaring oversights in the pursuit of better interoperability and technology is the impact on market economics and innovation. NY just secured a contract with Buffalo Computer Graphics for its software to be freely available to NY counties in addition to it being used by NY State. But "free" isn't always best.  

When this occurs, companies like Buffalo Computer Graphics lack market incentive to continuously innovate because NY essentially "owns" or "runs" the market. As such, they do what NY tells them to do because the NY is their largest customer in the State. Additionally, NY State is now in a position to dominate user feedback to serve their own interests rather than locals. Simply said, incentives...

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Are Disaster Infographics Still Cool? Useful?

Are Disaster Infographics Still Cool? Useful?

It seems like every week or month, I get "the latest" disaster infographic in my inbox. Inforgraphics have become popular in recent years to communicate complicated topics and data. There are infographics on social media, types of hazards, impact to businesses, emergency management careers, etc. I keep a Pinterest board for these types of graphics (see below).  

Because I am largely a curator of this information, not a consumer, I am not clear how infographics have helped the industry. Are disaster infographics useful? How have they helped? Are they effective? Have you used any in your work? If so, how?

Check out of a few of the infographics below and let me know what you think.

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Exercising Social Media - Review of and Q&A with EMSocialSimulation

Exercising Social Media - Review of and Q&A with EMSocialSimulation

I was recently able to talk with both Corey Mulryan and Kyle McPhee from Hagerty Consulting, a well-known and fast growing emergency management consulting firm. Corey and Kyle have been leading an effort at Hagerty to develop a new social media exercise tool called EMSocialSimulation. This blog post contains a review of the tool as well as Hagerty's Q&A responses that provide additional information.  

EMSocialSimulation is a great social media simulation tool geared toward organizations and jurisdictions looking to train and exercise on beginner to intermediate social media capabilities at an affordable price. I was impressed...

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The Different Types of Technology for Disaster

The Different Types of Technology for Disaster

A couple weeks ago I presented yet again on technology trends for disaster management. There seems to be a great demand to understand the technology landscape, namely what is out there.  I am glad to see this interest and want to share the work I have done.  

This week, I decided to create a dedicated webpage that will highlight the different technologies available.  I will continue to add new technologies as I come across them!  Feel free to send any leads you may have!

Also, check out the webinar I gave a couple weeks ago on Technology Trends in Disaster Management. Due to a technical glitch, the recording started a few minutes in...

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Disaster Technology is Built All Wrong

Disaster Technology is Built All Wrong

Technology is a great asset for organizations. It facilitates communications and helps simplify complex tasks. This is great when you have complete or majority control of your operating environment, which is common in business and day-to-day operations.  

The problem in disaster response, though, is that unique and temporary organizational structures (e.g., ICS, JFO, ESF, etc.) form during a disaster that differ significantly from day-to-day operational structures. And roles within these temporary structures are filled by various people at different times, some professional and some volunteer.

For example,

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Talking Tech, #SMEM & Nepal with the Dukes of Hazards

Talking Tech, #SMEM & Nepal with the Dukes of Hazards

On Tuesday, May 5th, I had the pleasure of being interviewed by Mitch and Andrew on their Dukes of Hazards Podcast. We talked about technology, social media, and the recent Nepal earthquake.  You can listen to the full Podcast here:

The Dukes of Hazards Podcast is put on by two very funny guys, Mitch Stripling and Andrew McMahan. Mitch is the Assistant Commissioner for Agency Preparedness & Response at the New York City Department of Mental Health and Hygiene. Andrew is the Deputy Director of Emergency Operations Support for the NYC MTA (Metropolitan Transportation Authority).

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How Disaster "Mesh" Networks Provide Critical Value in Disasters [A Primer]

How Disaster "Mesh" Networks Provide Critical Value in Disasters [A Primer]

Mesh networks have been around since the Department of Defense starting playing around with the idea of exchanging data and information in remote and infrastructure-compromised locations.  In recent years, mesh networks have been applied to disaster operations to enable the exchange of data and information regardless of Internet access.  

However, mesh networks are quite technical to setup and use.  A non-profit and open source technology called LDLN makes this a lot less technical so nearly anyone with some basic tech skills can set up and use a mesh network. Before I dive into how LDLN does this, I want to provide a primer on mesh networks, how they work, and the problems they solve.  

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Public Health Emergency Canvassing Operations Planner [Job]

Public Health Emergency Canvassing Operations Planner [Job]

A friend just forwarded me a great job opportunity in emergency health planning with the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. They are looking for Post-Emergency Canvassing Operation (PECO) Planner that has both health planning, management and data/tech skills. 

This job is at the forefront public health emergency preparedness and I would encourage anyone who wants to be at the cutting edge of data in public health to apply for this position.

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Developing Accurate, Complete and Current Information is a BAD Idea

Developing Accurate, Complete and Current Information is a BAD Idea

This quote comes from a seasoned emergency manager in a recent Emergency Management Magazine article.  Simply said, I don't agree with this key point.  This kind of thinking leads us down a very dangerous path as it builds up false expectations and breads unrealistic thinking.  

"Accurate, complete, and current" information is a nice goal, but entirely impractical and unrealistic in reality.  In a recent email listserv conversation, a number of very experienced information managers discussed the difficulty in simply keeping up with the flow of information during a disaster.  Perhaps this can be better achieved 

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Academic Research on Disaster Communications Technology [Survey]

Academic Research on Disaster Communications Technology [Survey]

Two great universities, the MIT Lincoln Laboratory and the Pennsylvania State University’s College of Engineering,  are coming together to do some much needed research on disaster communications technology.  I am very pleased to see this type of research taking place and hope you can participate by completing this survey.

The researchers are looking for all levels of practitioners involved in emergencies or disasters (e.g., DoD, DHS, Public Safety, private industry, etc.).  The survey has 25 questions and should take about 15 minutes.  

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Data and Info Sharing with No Power or Internet? - Meet LDLN

Data and Info Sharing with No Power or Internet? - Meet LDLN

There is an organization that I have wanted to introduce people to for a while.  It is a game changer, provided it can be applied more and baked into operations and various technologies. 

In disaster operations, the Internet is the predominate way to share data and information across people, organizations, and geographies--when it is available.  It is a critical failure point to inter-organizational and region-wide operations that need to share across wireless networks.  When access to the Internet is compromised, cascading effects occur such as having to reconcile what the latest data and information is. In fact, data and information sharing is often reduced to files on USB sticks that are physically traded.  Version control becomes essential, but hard to maintain.

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