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911.gov: Community Response Grids, E-government, and Emergencies

Project Description

The 911.gov system would rely on the Internet and the mobile communication devices to allow citizens to receive and submit information about significant homeland security community problems. Based on lessons from recent natural catastrophes and the terror attacks of 9/11, telephone, radio, and television-based emergency response systems cannot meet all of the emergency response needs of communities. The combination of mobile telecommunications devices and the Internet in 911.gov, however, has the potential to provide higher capacity and more effective service, as well as create interactive communication mechanisms that can reach many more citizens and government officials simultaneously.

A 911.gov system would bring users to a helpful, user-centered Community Response Grid with local information and clear choices about what to do next. The Community Response Grid would enable residents to report and receive information about emergent events such as fires, floods, tornados, hurricanes, community health concerns, and terrorist attacks. These disasters could vary in scale from events that affect sections of one community to those that influence thousands or millions. Residents could use Web-enabled computers and mobile devices, as well as cell phones providing text messages, photos, or videos. These inputs would be shared with not only with community officials, but also with other citizens.


This figure is an example of how a 911.gov interface might look
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These papers and projects explore the viability and initial design of using mobile communication technologies and the Web, specifically through e-government, to develop response systems that would aid communities before, during, and after an emergency, providing channels for contacting authorities, uploading information, distributing information, coordinating the responses of social networks, and facilitating resident-to-resident assistance.

Participants

Ben Shneiderman, Professor, Department of Computer Science

Jennifer Preece, Dean and Professor, College of Information Studies

Ken Fleischmann, Assistant Professor, College of Information Studies

Paul T. Jaeger, Assistant Professor, College of Information Studies

Yan Qu, Assistant Professor, College of Information Studies

Philip Fei Wu, Doctoral Candidate, College of Information Studies

Publications and Proposals

- 911.gov: Community Response Grids. Science, 315, 944. (2007). Authors: Shneiderman, & Preece. Available: http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/summary/315/5814/944

- 911.gov: Harnessing E-government, Mobile Communication Technologies, and Social Networks to Promote Community Participation in Emergency Response (article under review).Authors: Jaeger, Shneiderman, Fleischmann, Preece, Qu, & Wu

Abstract: This paper explores the concept of developing a 911.gov emergency response system for communities and the policy implications of such a system. Built as a community response grid, the 911.gov system would rely on the Internet and the mobile communication devices to allow citizens to receive and submit information about significant homeland security community problems, such as floods, wildfires, hurricanes, or terrorist attacks. This paper explores the viability of using mobile communication technologies and the Web, specifically through e-government, to develop response systems that would aid communities before, during, and after an emergency, providing channels for contacting authorities, uploading information, distributing information, coordinating the responses of social networks, and facilitating resident-to-resident assistance. The paper elaborates on the concept of a 911.gov system, examines related current efforts that can inform the development of 911.gov, articulates how research about community networks can be used to instill a social dimension in a 911.gov system, and examines the issues of public policy, telecommunications, and e-government related to such a system.

-Community Response Grids for Older Adults: Motivations, Usability, and Sociability (Pdf File), Authors: Wu, P. F., Preece, J., Shneiderman, B., Jaeger, P. T., & Qu, Y, (2007). Paper to be presented at the 13th Americas Conference on Information Systems, (AMCIS'07), Keystone, Colorado, USA.

Abstract: This paper discusses the motivation for a Community Response Grid (CRG) to help older adults improve their capability for coping with emergency situations. We define and discuss the concept of a CRG, briefly review the limits of current emergency response systems, and identify usability and sociability guidelines for CRGs for older adults based on existing research. The paper ends with a call to action and suggestions for future research directions.

- A Community Response Grid (CRG) to Promote Effective Community Response to Emergencies (grant proposal under review). Authors: Qu, Preece, Jaeger, Wu

Jaeger, P. T., Shneiderman, B., Fleischmann, K. R., Preece, J., Qu, Y., and Wu, F. P., Community response grids: E-government, social networks, and effective emergency response, Telecommunications Policy 31 (2007), 592-604.

Jaeger, P. T., Fleischmann, K. R., Preece, J., Shneiderman, B., Wu, F. P., and Qu, Y., Community response grids: Facilitating community response to biosecurity and bioterror emergencies through information and communication technologies, Biosecurity and Bioterrorism 5, 4 (2007), 1-12.

Philip Fei Wu, Yan Qu, Jenny Preece, Ken Fleischmann, Jennifer Golbeck, Paul Jaeger, & Ben Shneiderman (2008). Community Response Grid (CRG) for a University Campus: Design Requirements and Implications. Proceedings of the 5th International Conference on Information Systems for Crisis Response and Management (ISCRAM 2008), Washington, DC, USA.

New Scientist, May 2, 2008, Jason Palmer Emergency 2.0 is coming to a website near you  


Selected Media Coverage of 911.gov

Science

BBC

New Scientist

MIT Technology Review

Discovery Channel

Nature

World Changing

Online Spin

PC World

Ars Technica: The Art of Technology

ZD-NET Government

Computerworld

Newsweek International

WUSA – TV9