IEEE Conference on Technologies for Homeland Security, Greater Boston, MA (November 2013)
During a crisis, emergency responders must rapidly integrate information from many separate sources to satisfy their role-specific needs and to make time-sensitive decisions. Responders currently receive this information through numerous software applications and face the challenge of integrating this heterogeneous data into an all-encompassing picture. Individual responders with distinct roles, such as police, fire, and EMS, often have very different information needs, but existing tools do not provide individual tailoring of workspaces to support this need. As responders communicate using text, voice, or other multimodal collaboration systems, important details can also be lost or become stale over time. This paper describes our approach to developing a Precision Information Environment (PIE) that: (1) streamlines access to multiple information resources by fusing heterogeneous information for presentation through a single access point; (2) supports role-tailorable understanding of the unified data sources through a flexible workspace; and (3) supports collaboration between teams of local and distributed responders by providing a work environment that allows teams to share and manipulate dynamic data sources in real time. We also describe our initial results from a usability evaluation of the system with subject matter experts.
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