RELIEF 11-02 Camp Roberts East Report (February 2011)

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Dr. Linton Wells II, John Crowley, Samuel Bendett

From 22-25 February 2011, RELIEF convened its seventh session of field experiments for humanitarian information management and crisis mapping at the Virginia Tech/NPS Advanced Research Institute in Arlington, VA. The RELIEF experiments occurred within a partnership of the National Defense University’s Center for Technology and National Security Policy and the Naval Postgraduate School.

RELIEF 11-02 focused on three problems:

1. How to create a protocol by which volunteer and technical communities (e.g., OpenStreetMap and Crisis Mappers) can request imagery from lead US federal agencies. Volunteer and technical communities (V&TCs) generally lack access to the imagery that sparked the crowdsourcing activity seen after the Haiti earthquake. This experiment focused on building a protocol for the USG to publish imagery and other geospatial data to V&TCs in the event of a domestic or international emergency response operation.

2. How to quickly identify health facilities in a country after a sudden onset emergency. After the Haiti quake, one of the most pressing problems for SOUTHCOM and the United Nations was identifying the locations and status of health facilities. This experiment focused on techniques for aggregating and conflating existing data sets, with secondary focus on building methods for validating information and ensuring minimal duplicates in the data set.

3. How to enable field-deployed military units to support social media during crisis operations. With operations like Haiti and Libya, social media is a key method of interacting with the affected population. However, the military is poorly tooled to support social media; it cannot open communications channels to enable flows of SMS messages nor can it analyze the data for actionable information. This experiment explored how to build out a pre-alpha version of QuickNets, a Joint Staff project to support social media during HADR operations.

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