Disasters are affecting more and more people world wide. As the number of anthropogenic and geogenic disasters is raising, a new challenge arises, calling for innovative and effective disaster management approaches. In order to provide fast recovery in disaster situations, relief workers depend on accurate and detailed information from various sources, such as access routes, building types, location of hazardous facilities/material etc. Receiving this information in form of maps, emergency routes or images and other form of geographic information can be crucial for saving lives. During emergency situations much of the most important logistical information is often not available. Due to destruction and damage to local buildings, computers and suppliers of power and communication, information may not be accessible.
For example during the 9/11 terrorist attack most of the logistic data and geographic information systems were based in one of the towers struck by the plane. Hence, emergency map making was tedious and took longer than expected.
With the growing possibilities, to access information and processing services through the internet, emergency managers are no longer entirely dependent on local technical capacities, which are often destroyed or unaccessible during disaster situations. If the processing services used, are spread world-wide, they are far less vulnerable to destruction. Since the information and processing services can be accessed from anywhere, the data and its processing can be carried out by any computer without having to first obtain and install the specialized software.
Also if a platform exists, where the data and processing sources are listed, valuable time can be saved because the data does not have to be searched for and long lasting data rights discussions can be settled before hand.
This means, that emergency map making and information provision can be carried out faster and independent of location and software related resources, giving rescue workers and decision makers the information needed to direct relief effort a lot sooner.
Relief workers at location of destruction/ Coordination from Emergency Control outside of disater area