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Exploring Future Work Practices for Information Sharing and Achieving Common Situational Understanding in Disasters Passed

Tuesday September 21, 2021 15:00 - 17:00 F

Workshop leaders: Bjørn Erik Munkvold, Jaziar Radianti, Nadia Saad Noori
Presenters: Bjørn Erik Munkvold, Elisa Schröter, Luc Rombout, Tomasz Opach, Virga Popovaitė

  • New perspectives for emergency response – Lessons learned on crisis mapping from trials and exercises, Elisa Schröter, Konstanze Lechner, Monika Gähler
  • Your COP? - I see it differently. - Sharing experience of working with practitioners on COP, Luc Rombout
  • Balancing levels of operational support of map-based tools for facilitating a common operational picture, Tomasz Opach, Jan Ketil Rød, Kristine Steen-Tveit
  • Maps and mapping practices in search and rescue operations in northern Norway, Virga Popovaitė
  • Adoption and use of standard operating procedures for emergency response, Bjørn Erik Munkvold, Kjetil Rustenberg, Kristine Steen-Tveit

Panel description

The COVID-19 pandemic, an ongoing global crisis that set humanity back on its heels. Nations had realized that disasters are complex and unpredictable, let alone the complexity of managing such situations. During the COVID-19 crisis, it became evident that timely information sharing, having a common understanding, and a common operational picture is a critical factor in the failure and success of handling a crisis of that scale.

Generally, in emergency management (EM), both practitioners and scholars agree that sharing situation information is a prerequisite for achieving a common operational picture (COP) and common understanding of threats and incidents. Eventually, achieving a COP is key for effective disaster response.

Today, information and communication technologies develop rapidly, offering numerous capabilities that were unimaginable before. During the pandemic, nations had to work rapidly to employ every mean (technology and otherwise) possible to acquire critical information to achieve a common understanding and situational awareness among the various stakeholders involved in responding to the crisis. The current crisis provided many examples of technology integration and new workflows are needed in in the field to address the ever changing landscape of disasters.

Integration of new technologies for emergency and disaster management are continuously explored. Better command-and-control rooms equipped with smart technologies are becoming more common. Deployments of IoT, and robotics (YAVs, UGVs etc.) for in-situ data acquisition and situational awareness applications (e.g. SPOT the dog robot helping NYPD). Utilization of hi-tech sensor technologies to provide remote detection and inspection of incident scenes (CBRN and hazardous elements). Use of smart phones and other smart devices are increasingly being used as additional emergency network channels. With increasing access for real-time communication and information sharing between Control Room and in-situ (COP). Exploring applications decision support systems and artificial intelligence for risk assessment, impact prediction of different scenarios based on real-time updates. Digital mapping and further integration with AI/DL and other model-based applications supporting establishment of COP.

There is an increasing demand for faster information acquisition and use, and smarter crisis responses. The EM organizations work in a fast-changing environment. These developments also affect the ways the emergency management stakeholders share information in inter-agency operations.

However, when introducing new products or technologies to any task force (including emergency responders), there is always a need for integration processes and training. These processes cover further development behavior adaptation and technology acceptance in cognitive and “soft” skills. For example, this includes the mental process of individuals to adapt to new technologies, organizational workflows adapting from existing protocols for communicating and responding with new technologies, heterogenous use of technology among different EM organizations resulting from different disciplinary orientations, work culture, and internal politics. Working together in real-time, sharing information and maps in the same virtual space, requires a standard set of terminology and map symbols for each agency to understand the situation in the same way. Hence, a socio-technical approach is required. What is required for future practice to take advantage of the new technological capabilities for information sharing and achieving COP?

This panel is intended as a venue for presenting and discussing research work focusing on new methods for examining disaster and emergency management practices, and research work introducing innovative ways for designing integrated disaster management systems.

Panel topics:

  • Interdisciplinary research tackling topics related to existing and future information technology use in disaster management.
  • Harmonization of terminologies, map usage and map symbols for disaster management
  • Technology innovation and data exploitation supporting the design of effective communication, coordination and decisionmaking platforms for emergency preparedness and response management (e.g., intelligent devices, GIS technologies, big data analysis, complex systems, situational awareness platforms, decision support systems, crisis communication, technology for supporting terminology harmonization)
  • Research studies on novel use of first responder technologies, interorganizational collaboration and information sharing, command and control centers
  • Development of procedure support and automation for realtime information collection and sharing in inter-agency operations.
  • Future digital exercise design and implementation.


Profile image for Bjørn Erik Munkvold

Bjørn Erik Munkvold Workshop leader

Professor in Information Systems / Director of CIEM
CIEM, University of Agder

Profile image for Jaziar Radianti

Jaziar Radianti Workshop leader

CIEM, University of Agder

Profile image for Nadia Saad Noori

Nadia Saad Noori Workshop leader

Associate Professor
University of Agder

Profile image for Bjørn Erik Munkvold

Bjørn Erik Munkvold Presenter

Professor in Information Systems / Director of CIEM
CIEM, University of Agder

Profile image for Elisa Schröter

Elisa Schröter Presenter

German Aerospace Center

Profile image for Luc Rombout

Luc Rombout Presenter

PhD researcher / Practitioner
Antwerp University

My career in Crisis Management started in 1990 in the field of international geo-political crisis management and disaster response.
For several years this involved a combination of academic, commercial and operational work as Emergency Planning & Operations Coordinator of Ghent University (Belgium).
I was involved in crisis management projects from Norway to Northern Africa and in diverse domains ranging from anti-terrorism over floods, pandemics, CBRN incidents to business continuity.
In 2020 I returned to academics to do PhD research in the field of optimisation of crisis management decision making.
My primary field of research interest is into the transdisciplinary complementary interaction of man, group, decision making technique, information, incident and scenario to determine critical factors in crisis management quality.
I am currently also Head of Disaster Relief & Crisis Management for Rotary BeLux (Belgium-Luxemburg) in response to the massive floods that hit Belgium in July 2021.

Profile image for Tomasz Opach

Tomasz Opach Presenter

Norwegian University of Science and Technology

Researcher at Norwegian University of Science and Technology, GIScience specialist, developer and designer of visualization tools

Profile image for Virga Popovaitė

Virga Popovaitė Presenter

Nord University