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Open-source mobile application development

Application Development for Emergency Data Collection This Master degree project identified disasters and emergencies as a global humanitarian and technological challenge. Emergency management organizations’ need for access to accurate and up-to-date information about the emergency situation, to help respond to, recover from and mitigate the effects of disasters and emergencies, present a challenge to the field of Genomics.

Today the use of remote sensing technologies presents an Increasing number of lotions.

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There are types of spatial data, however, e. G. Submerged, invasions or otherwise hidden features that still require emergency field personnel and volunteers to interpret and record. By utilizing the increasing ubiquity and computational power of modern smoothness, in order to reach a large number of potential users and volunteers, a mobile application for emergency field data collection was developed.

It was developed as a component of a system that, In order to be as collaborative, adaptable and accessible as possible, also to resource-poor organizations, was, with a minor exception, completely open-source licensed. Field trials were held that, due to low participation, could not conclusively evaluate the application and its general applicability to emergency field data collection. They did, however, provide an adequate proof-of-concept and showed that it was possible to apply the application and the Implemented system to a specific emergency field data collection task.

The system has great collaborative potential, achieved through openness, mobility, standards compliance, multi-source capability and adaptability. Its administrators re given a high degree of control that lets them adapt the system to suit the current users and situation and its flexibility make it widely applicable, not only for emergency management. From literature, the field trials and the experience gained while developing and using the application, some Ideas for Improving the application and the system were discussed and some future research topics were suggested.

Acknowledgements The author would like to express gratitude to: his supervisors – for helpful read-through, comments and suggestions and for their positive attitude which helped him believe In the project throughout its velveteen, his family and friends – for their interest and curiosity, Sandra Person, for her support, understanding and valuable comments, and to all the participants of the Field Trials: Thank You!

Appendix 3 – Field Trials Instructions and 63 Appendix 4 – Application User Guide (non-final version)… Dictionary and Abbreviations API Application Programming Interface; can be described as a group of pre- constructed software components that developers can combine and use for creating new software. A collection of algorithms, classes and/or data structures for e. G. Performing specific tasks or communicating with other software. Disreputableness request A type of request standard published by COG (2013) and used by WFM clients to retrieve information about a specific layer offered by the WEST.

DECADE The Android application developed as a case study during this thesis project; “the Emergency Data Collector for Android””. EEOC Emergency Operation Centre, a location where emergency management leadership can gather to receive and analyses information, including spatial data, and coordinate rescue and relief efforts (Cutter 2003). Excitability’s A type of request standard published by COG (2013) and that is sent to WHAMS or WFM services to query the service for available layers, options and capabilities in general. Gadget request A type of request standard by COG (2013) that is used for requesting map images from a WHAMS.

GIS Geographic Information System; a system capable of managing and using spatial data, aiding in activities such as data collection and storage, viewing, map creation, manipulation and analysis. GEM Geography Markup Language, a spatial data standard published by COG (2013). For further description see Table 3. GAPS The Global Positioning System; a system of satellites that broadcast signals which allow devices with GAPS receivers to calculate their position on the Earth. Layer A layer is a digital representation of a collection of physical features, such as roads, buildings, lakes etc.

Each layer consists off specific geometric type such as a Point, Line or Polygon and has common attributes, such as road length, building use category or lake area. A layer can be displayed on a map e. G. By querying a geopolitical server. COG Open Geopolitical Consortium; a consortium of government agencies, universities and companies that develop common open standards promoting geographic information accessibility and interoperability (COG 2013). Open-source Refers to computer software for which the license includes a number of access and use rights to its source code, defined by the Open Source Initiative (OSI 2013).

That is, users may for example look under-the-hood of the program, modify it or any purpose and forward it to other users directly. SO Operating System; a basic device software that manages platform for managing and interacting with all other applications on the device. Server Refers too geopolitical server, see Figure 3, whose address can be stored in DECADE. It is a computer software system which can be sent queries over the Internet, in this case for geographic information to display on top of Google Maps, and to which data can be uploaded.

SF Simple Features Specification; a spatial data standard published by COG (2013). SLD Styled Layer Descriptor, an COG (2013) web map styling standard. For further description see Table 3. Smartened A hand-held device for mobile voice-, text- and data communication that has a fast Internet connection multiple sensors, including camera and GAPS receiver. Its hardware is powerful enough to browse web pages and run advanced computer programs (mobile applications). Often uses large (for hand-held phones) touch-screens.

Spatial data Data with a spatial component, I. E. Coordinates, that are defined by an SIRS and that bind the data to physical locations or geometric features. SIRS Spatial Reference System; a system defining how coordinates relate to locations on Earth. WFM Web Feature Service, an COG (2013) web mapping interface standard for serving geographic features. For further description see Table 3. WHAMS Web Map Service, an COG (2013) web mapping interface standard for serving map images. For further description see Table 3. 1. Introduction Since 1980, 2. Million people have lost their lives in the 21 000 events recorded in “the most comprehensive source of natural catastrophe data in the world” (Munich Re AAA, p. 49). Total global material value lost due to natural disasters during the period is estimated at 3800 thousand million IIS$, with a distinctly rising trend both n the annual rate of loss (Maureen and Breathe 2011) and the annual frequency of reported natural disasters. In addition, technological disasters (e. G. Industrial or transport accidents) contributed with on average 9000 deaths per year during the last decade, 2002-2011 (FRI. 2012).

One tool for improving emergency management is quick access to accurate and updated information about the emergency situation or disaster. Such information can be of vital importance for emergency management to enable distribution of the right resources to the right places at the right times and for proportioning the efforts which have the greatest benefit. Much of this essential information has a spatial component, such as extents and locations of damaged areas, the locations of spatial data, are useful in all phases of emergency management (Cutter 2003; Al- Shuddery 2010).

There are, however, challenges to overcome in the utilization of spatial data and geographic information systems (GIS) in the context of emergency management, as recognized by e. G. Geezer and Smith (2003) and Manicurist (2005). One such challenge is providing decision makers and field workers with access to data that are accurate and sufficiently up-to-date for their specific purpose. For data that cannot be captured with remote sensing techniques, such as satellite data and aerial photos, or stationary monitoring networks (see e. G. Liana et al. 005), emergency management organizations have to rely on field data collection by employees and/or volunteers. As pointed out by EL-Gamely et al. (2010), recent improvements in software and hardware technology have enabled real-time access to and collection of spatial data in the field. Many groups have utilized the increasing ubiquity and capabilities of modern smoothness for developing field data collection systems (e. G. Enhances et al. 009; Clark et al. 2010; xx et al. 2010; White et al. 2011; Chem. et al. 2012; Decant et al. 2012; Went et al. 2012).

Several of these groups have developed such systems as open- source projects, which can potentially benefit society in terms of supporting collaboration between developers, allowing derivative work to build upon previous achievements and allowing less resource-strong communities access to these useful data collection tools. This project builds on these notions of open access and collaboration in creating a free and open mobile GIS and field data collection system. A system that is tailored award emergency management and has a high degree of scalability and adaptability to organization-specific needs.

It makes use of existing open-source technologies for the server-side architecture and for the development of a mobile application, henceforth known as DECADE (the Emergency Data Collector for It only requires distribution of DECADE and the server address to those devices. 1. 1. Aim The main aim of this thesis project is to develop a mobile application as a component of a complete open-source system for emergency field data collection. A secondary aim is to evaluate the mobile application to discern whether it is applicable to emergency field data collection and how it can be improved for that purpose. 2.

Background This chapter describes the context in which DECADE may operate* and why it is useful. By defining and describing disasters, emergencies and emergency management, and by outlining the role of spatial data in emergency management, the rationale behind its development is illustrated. Undertaken and examples of the technology, standards and open-source licenses available to it are presented. This will provide background for discussion about and aid in the development of the proposed system architecture and the implementation f DECADE that is presented in the System Design and Case Study chapters.

The United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISON) is developing a body of terminology for use by the emergency and disaster management communities. It is intended to improve the work to reduce disaster risk by making the use and understanding of common vocabulary consistent throughout the community (UNISON 2009). To help promote this common understanding this report will, where applicable, use the definitions proposed by the UNISON. 2. 1 . Disasters & Emergencies To understand the importance of emergency management and the environment in which DECADE and the proposed system (see section 3. . ) could be utilized, the nature and frequency of disasters needs some attention. The following definition of “disaster” is proposed by the UNISON: “A serious disruption of the functioning of a community or a society involving widespread human, material, economic or environmental losses and impacts, which exceeds the ability of the affected community or society to cope using its own resources. ” – UNISON 2009, p. 9 To study disasters, there are several database projects that record disasters and related information. Some of these databases are created and managed by re- insurance companies (e. . Munich-Re and Swiss-Re). Since these companies provide insurances for other insurance providers, when disastrous events cause widespread damage, they are often paying a significant part of the recovery costs. Thus, in addition to e. G. Universities and governmental organizations, these re-insurance companies have a natural interest in studying disasters and emergency management. Table 1 : Catastrophe categorization developed Jointly by Munich Re, CREED, Swiss Re, the United Nations Development Programmer (UNDO), the Asian Disaster Reduction

Centre (DARK) and the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISON) in 2007. Source: FRI. 2012, p. 251-252. Natural disasters Biological Insect infestations, epidemics and animal attacks. Geophysical Earthquakes and tsunamis, volcanic eruptions and dry mass movements (avalanches, landslides, recalls and Climatologically Droughts (with associated food insecurities), extreme temperatures and wildfires. Hydrological Floods (including waves and surges) and wet mass movements (avalanches, landslides, recalls and subsidence of hydrological origin).

Meteorological Storms (divided into nine sub-categories). Technological Industrial accidents Chemical spills, collapse of industrial infrastructure, explosions, fires, gas leaks, poisoning and radiation. Transportation Transportation by air, rail, road or water. Miscellaneous Collapse of domestic or non-industrial structures, explosions and fires. Natural catastrophes are by far the most common and the most costly type of event, both in human and economic losses.

According to the ME-DATA database, during 2002-2011 (not counting non-natural, non-accidental events), natural catastrophes caused almost 13 times as many deaths as technological causes and in excess of 37 times as much economic damage (FRI. 2012). Among the types of natural catastrophes, in all parts of the world meteorological and hydrological catastrophes are the most numerous (Munich Re AAA). When it comes to fatalities, however, most are caused by geophysical events or, as in Europe and Africa, climatologically events.

Asia, being the largest and most populated region, suffers the largest number of catastrophes, the most fatalities and the highest amount of overall economic losses, while North America alone has 65 % of the world’s insured losses (Munich Re AAA). In recent years, current and future changes in the global climate have been projected o cause meteorological, hydrological and climatologically extreme events to become more frequent or more intense in many areas (Parry et al. 2007) and an increase in the number of, as well as losses from, weather-related disasters have been identified (Bower et al. 007; Maureen and Breathe 2011). However, as the work by Maureen increase in losses. It may be, as argued by Bower et al. (2007), that it’s mainly the increased susceptibility of human societies that is causing current increases in losses, due to expansion of settlements into sensitive areas and further arbitration leading to a concentration of population and wealth at risk. In any case, the need for better resilience to catastrophic events in human societies is increasing, and significant efforts to improve emergency management before, during and after an emergency event are being made. . 2. Emergency Management DECADE and the proposed system for which it is designed are intended to be used for emergency management, which incorporates all aspects of how communities handle emergency situations. It involves risk assessments as well as planning and education for improved preparedness. It involves policies, guidelines and routines for how to organize participants and resources available, to best respond to the events homeless and for recovering efficiently in the hours, days, months and perhaps years after an event.

It also involves how communities learn from mistakes and take steps to reduce future susceptibility to similar events. More succinctly put emergency management is: “The organization and management of resources and responsibilities for addressing all aspects of emergencies, in particular preparedness, response and initial recovery steps. ” – UNINSPIRED, p. 13 In what form emergency management is used depends on the type of emergency that is being considered, but different strategies may be more or less general in their applicability to different types of events (see Table 1).

The different phases of emergency management are commonly described as forming a cycle (Figure 1; Cutter 2003; Manicurist 2005; EL-Gamely et al. 2010) with some form of categorization of the relevant emergency management activities. Figure 1 depicts one such interpretation using three phases based on the definitions below. Response: “The provision of emergency services and public assistance during or immediately after a disaster in order to save lives, reduce health impacts, ensure public safety and meet the basic subsistence needs of the people affected. ” – UNISON 2009, p. Recovery “The restoration, and improvement where appropriate, of facilities, livelihoods and living conditions of disaster-affected communities, including efforts to reduce disaster risk factors. ” – UNISON 2009, p. 23 Mitigation “The lessening or limitation of the adverse impacts of hazards and related disasters. ” Preparedness “The knowledge and capacities developed by governments, professional response and recovery organizations, communities and individuals to effectively anticipate, respond to, and recover from, the impacts of likely, imminent or current hazard events or conditions. – UNISON 2009, p. 21 Preparedness can accordingly be thought of as part of the mitigation phase, although it’s sometimes defined as a separate fourth management phase (e. G. Abdullah and Lie 2010). The duration of the phases shown in Figure 1 can, according to the definitions above and those mentioned by Cutter (2003) be approximated to hours to weeks for the response phase and months to years for the recovery phase. The mitigation phase lasts indefinitely or until a new emergency event occurs.

As explained by Manicurist (2005); each emergency management phase should ideally be conducted in a way that facilitates success in the next phase, but in the ease of rebuilding societies in the recovery phase this is often overlooked in favor of quickly restoring societies to their previous states. Emergency events can occur in many different ways, as shown in Figure 1 by the three arrows representing the emergency event. They can strike with full intensity immediately and then slowly subside, like an earthquake which is followed by smaller after-shakes.

They can slowly increase in intensity until they abruptly end, like a drought becoming increasingly severe until rain comes and quickly rejuvenates vegetation and fills rivers and lakes with water again. They can strengthen and weaken gradually, eke a flooding disaster during which the water level slowly reaches its peak and then slowly retreats again. Events can also be singular surprise events, as the figure in Cutter (2003, p. 440) might indicate, which are over before any sort of response can be organized. Such events might be e. . Sudden landslides or singular earthquakes. In line with the above definitions, the overlapping of the phases depicted in Figure 1 illustrates, first, that the response phase can begin while the emergency event is still ongoing. Second, restoration of facilities in the recovery phase can start (and might even be necessary) revived. Thirdly, it illustrates that mitigation concerns should be addressed already in the recovery phase so that the recovering society will be more resilient to future emergency events.

Regarding societies’ resilience to catastrophes, it can be defined as: “The ability of a system, community or society exposed to hazards to resist, absorb, accommodate to and recover from the effects of a hazard in a timely and efficient manner, including through the preservation and restoration of its essential basic structures and functions. ” Building resilience in a society includes many kinds of activities both aimed at reverting catastrophes from occurring or reducing their impact and at improving how the society can respond to and recover from them (Table 2).

A notable prevention strategy used in many countries is using land-use planning to restrict development in hazardous areas, albeit with different approaches to assessing risks and what actions to take (e. G. Contain et al. 2006; Galvanic et al. 2010). Other mitigation strategies include e. G. Construction regulations, warning systems, protective structures such as flood barriers (Godchild 2003; De la Cruz-Arena and Tilling 2008; Galvanic et al. 2010) and evacuation plans (Chatterer’s et al. 009).

While many such strategies may be effective, there is also a need to ensure that plans and regulations are properly enforced. This is not always the case, especially in poorer countries, as discussed by Kenny (2012). Table 2: Examples of strategies for mitigating catastrophe effects and for improving response and recovery after catastrophes. The division indicates whether they aim to prevent or reduce damage or to improve handling of damage after the event. Mitigation Response and Recovery Land-use planning Insurance against losses Construction regulation Education and Awareness Warning system development Response plans

Protective structures Improvement of tools for emergency management Plan and regulation enforcement SAID development for improved decision making With regard to coping with (responding to and recovering from) catastrophic events, building economic buffers to ensure the availability of resources, I. E. Insurances, is a common strategy. Munich Re (AAA) estimate that approximately a quarter of the financial losses that occurred due to natural catastrophes 1980-2012 were insured. Of these insured losses, 81 % occurred in North America and Europe (Munich Re AAA). Kenny (2012) also notes that the victims themselves still pay most of the cost