Wednesday, June 4, 2008

P2P CAP Broker for Communicating Cyclones/Hurricanes

A proposal was submitted for an NSF grant on Communicating Hurricane Warnings. This a two country research collaboration between the iSchool @ UMD and LSF @ UCSC. I will work with LSF as a Principle Investigator in the capacity of an OR Analyst/Project Manager in managing and conducting the Sri Lankan research component. Dave Yates from the iSchool will conduct the parallel research in USA.

The research will develop a Peer-to-Peer Common Alerting Protocol (CAP) Broker for exchanging hurricane/cyclone information with stakeholders such as the Met dept, Broadcasters, First-Responders, Citizens, and other associates. The P2P CAP Broker will be a FOSS application amalgamated in to the Sahana suite of Disaster Management software modules. The intent of the P2P CAP Broker is to provide a plat form for stakeholders to network in the same way as a "social network" to exchange cyclone/hurricane information before, during, and after an incident.

A major component will be testing the CAP interoperability structure for communicating information in multiple languages; Sinhala/Tamil in Sri Lanka and English/Spanish in USA. The software will be accessible via mobile handhelds and laptop/desktop computers via the internet. The alerting component will work on SMS too. The National Weather Bureau (Met dept) could issue alerts to first-responders downstream and receive acknowledgments from alert recipients up stream. Users who are part of the network could also send situational reports upstream to the central authorities. The figure above shows the schematics of the proposed system.

The P2P CAP Broker was a recommendation made in the HazInfo research technical report. As we had encountered in the real life experiences as well as in the HazInfo research, it is usually the people and protocols that fail and not the technologies. Therefore, the proposed research of evaluating the P2P exchange of cyclone/hurricane information intends to measure the uncertainties caused due to technological and organizational complexities of this system through evidential analysis.

If the grant is approved work should begin in January 2009 and end in 2011. The first year will be dedicated to research and development of the ICT system and the second year for evaluation through mock-drills and the use during the cyclone/hurricane seasons in Sri Lanka and USA.