Disaster Management Interactive Visualization

Emergency Responder’s Resource Management Tool


Figure 1. Simulated delivery routes in Google Earth.

Figure 1. Simulated delivery routes in Google Earth.

In the event of natural disasters such as large-scale flooding, normal transportation routes may be cut off. Since time is critical in these situations, efficient placement of supply distribution sites, and up-to-date route planning is critical.

A system is needed to help emergency response personnel manage relief package delivery to affected households. A means to visualize disaster affected areas, package delivery points, optimized routes for package delivery, and a secondary system for calculating optimized routes on a supercomputing cluster and a method of transferring data sets to and from the visualization component is needed.


Figure 2. A portion of the system management interface.

Figure 2. A portion of the system management interface.

The prototype solution developed used Google Earth as the visualization component; this was updated remotely via a PostgreSQL database backed PHP web site. A raster color map algorithm processing GIS survey data files was developed and utilized in the calculation of optimized routes; data transfer between the web server and the supercomputing cluster occurred via HTTP POST transactions in conjunction with the common ‘wget’ executable available on the Linux-based supercomputing cluster. 


Geo-located photographs from portable devices

Fig. 3. Geo-located photographs from portable devices

Utilization of freely available software packages proved effective as a low-cost solution to the problem. External evaluation of the system was favorable; an effort is being made to expand the prototype to a fully functional tool for use by emergency responders. The completed system is expected to be useful for incident commanders to help coordinate resources during disaster events.

Sponsor: Barbara Nicolai, Ge Jin, Chuck Winer, School of Technology


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