Press Release

NASA Ames Co-sponsors Disaster Management Workshop

By SpaceRef Editor
May 17, 2011
Filed under , , ,
NASA Ames Co-sponsors Disaster Management Workshop

MOFFETT FIELD, Calif. – Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) Silicon Valley, in conjunction with the California Fire Chiefs Association, Communications Section and the California Emergency Management Agency, will host the second annual disaster management workshop and vehicle road rally to showcase new technologies for improving mobile emergency communication, May 22-23, 2011. The event is co-sponsored by NASA’s Ames Research Center and will be held at the NASA Research Park, Moffett Field, Calif., the location of CMU’s Silicon Valley campus.

“The workshop is designed to explore and unveil new technologies and processes for improving disaster communication worldwide,” said Martin Griss, director of Carnegie Mellon Silicon Valley. “Recent events, such as earthquakes, terrorist attacks, hurricanes and power outages have shown us that abrupt interruptions to our businesses and daily lives are not far away.”

“The California Emergency Management Agency (CalEMA) is excited to sponsor and support this year’s combined CMU Disaster Management Initiative Workshop and California Mobile Command Center Rally. CalEMA has always been at the forefront of disaster management and response, and our collaboration with Carnegie Mellon University truly integrates a full range of resources to serve the greater good,” said CalEMA Acting Secretary Michael Dayton.

“Following on last year’s very successful first disaster management workshop, I am very pleased to see the expansion of the number of emergency service organizations participating this year,” said Robert Dolci, chief of Protective Services Office at Ames. “Collaborative participation is the key to enhancing emergency management and disaster preparedness.”

Steve Jordan, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the National Disaster Resiliency Center (NDRC), emphasizes communications as being the most critical component in disaster response and recovery efforts. States Jordan, “The NDRC looks forward to partnering with CMU SV and the DMI in developing solutions to this important issue.”

More than one million people were displaced worldwide last year as a result of natural disasters and ill-equipped disaster management plans, according to recent global disaster management reports.

Carnegie Mellon researchers will join a cache of firefighters, rescue workers, police, military experts and other emergency service operators to showcase and study the best practices for building resilient mobile disaster communication plans and systems. Because 85 percent of the world now communicates with cell phones, or from other mobile devices and platforms, disaster managers are increasingly using social media to convey important emergency messages.

An array of sophisticated, self-powered satellite systems will be on display to show the importance of communication capabilities in remote areas where traditional communication infrastructure is unavailable. Specially-designed rescue and emergency vehicles also will be on display during the two-day event. Steve Ray, Distinguished Research Fellow at CMU, will be running a Plugfest designed to measure the degree of interoperability among the emergency communications vehicles and with emergency operations centers. Results of the information exchange attempts will be recorded to provide a baseline set of measurements, answering the question: “What can be done right now and where do we go next?”

Jeannie Stamberger, associate director of the Disaster Management Initiative (DMI) at CMU’s Silicon Valley campus, will discuss her work with various field agencies and first responders that spans several continents. From data-mining to mapping and translation, Stamberger’s team met the urgent needs of the Japan earthquake and tsunamis’ victims earlier this year. The DMI team’s work during the 9.0 Japan quake helped bridge the gap between unstructured social media and structured data.

“We’re also going to explore the importance of amateur radio emergency communicators during our workshop to study the business, organizational and technical issues related to mobility in managing systems found in cell phones, home appliances, building infrastructures and disaster scenarios,” said Griss, who directs both CMU’s CyLab Mobility Research Center and the Disaster Management Initiative.

Because handheld devices are so ubiquitous, the demand for the growth and adoption of new technologies to manage data and streamline disaster emergency communications will be an ongoing goal of this 2011 workshop and rally, according to Griss.

For more information about the DMI workshop and vehicle rally, visit:

For more information about the NASA Research Park, visit:

For more information about NASA’s Ames Research Center, visit:

SpaceRef staff editor.