Session: Modelling and Monitoring Disaster Response

Human Security and Disasters Stream


Day 2, Parallel Session 2A: 11:00am – 12:30pm

Location: Storey Hall (Building 16), Seminar Room 3, Level 7, Room 3

Chair: Dr Robin Cameron (RMIT University)


Raj Prasanna Human Computer Interaction for Supporting Fire Emergency First Responders

  • Presenter and main author: Dr Raj Prasanna (Joint Centre for Disaster Management)
  • Abstract: Good information is vital for fire fighters during their response to an emergency to save lives and reduce economic loss. Although technology is capable of providing vast amount of data, the human computer interaction requirements of fire fighters in complex, dynamic, ad-hoc and stressful environments are never well understood. Information system designers and developers face enormous challenge in designing appropriate human computer interaction for fire emergency responders since they are driven by naturalistic decision making with limited time span and they also operate in worst imaginable working conditions. Despite many previous efforts, there is hardly any information system which is user friendly and trusted by the fire fighters to be used in actual practice. Research contributions found in the literature failed due to the ignorance of uniqueness of the decision making model and inability to capture and validate comprehensive requirements of fire fighters during a fire. To fill such an important and timely gap in the emergency management literature, this presentaion presents several novel human computer interfaces and interaction techniques capable of exclusively supporting fire emergency responders during a fire emergency. These outcomes are reached by capturing comprehensive information requirements with the use of a purpose built cognitive task analysis tool: Goal Directed Information Analysis (GDIA) and user centered design and validation of human computer interfaces conducted on a grounded theory data gathering and analysis platform. Importantly, this presentation will make a vital contribution to the understanding of human computer interaction requirements and thereby to the rigorous design of usable fire emergency information systems.
  • Co:authors: Dr Lili Yang (Loughborough University) and Professor Malcolm King (Loughborough University)
  • About the presenter: Raj Prasanna is a Lecturer in Emergency Management and Information Systems.  Raj pursued his doctoral studies at the Loughborough University, UK and completed his PhD on Information Systems Supporting Fire Emergency in 2010. Raj obtained a MSc in IT in 2005 and won the best student gold medal awarded by the Japanese International Corporation Agency.  He also completed a MBA in 2000. Raj graduated as an Electronics and Telecommunications Engineer in 1995 and is a Chartered Engineer in IT since 2007. Raj’s current research interests include Application IoT for Disaster Management, HCI supporting Emergencies and Cognitive Requirements Capturing Techniques for Emergencies.
Dhirendra Singh Exploring Responses to Urban Flooding Using Agent-based Modelling and Simulation

  • Presenter and main author: Dr Dhirendra Singh (RMIT University)
  • Abstract: Policies and decisions for emergency management must consider a range of complexities and interactions that can occur during extreme weather events. Often prior history and data are insufficient in building a thorough understanding of the kinds of things that can happen in these situations. Increasingly, it is becoming clear that planning for such events cannot be done in retrospect. A promising approach to building understanding of complex unfolding situations is using agent-based modelling and simulation technology. Work on a completed project involving a local council and the emergency services, where this technology was employed in the context of climate change adaptation, to look at sandbagging responses to flash-flooding in an urban city region will be described.
  • Co-author: Professor Lin Padgham (RMIT University)
  • About the presenter: Dhirendra is a Research Fellow at the School of Computer Science & Information Technology at RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia. His current research focus is on the use of agent-based modelling for emergency management, in collaboration with the City of Port Phillip and the Victoria State Emergency Service (SES). Prior to this, he worked on improving the adaptability of BDI agent systems in dynamic environments through the integration of learning capabilities. Even before that, he was developing high end simulators for Digital Signal Processors at Freescale Semiconductor (formerly part of Motorola).
Siti Nazahiyah The Challenges of Drought Monitoring and Early Warning

  • Presenter and main author: Siti Nazahiyah (RMIT University)
  • Abstract: Monitoring and forecasting droughts are real and unique challenges in water resources management. However, it is essential as droughts become more common and more severe due to climate change impacts. In recent times, short-term drought adaptation mechanisms have improved, but extended periods of drought are now the main concern for human welfare and food security. One of the many ways in preparing for drought is to carry out a drought risk assessment by characterisation of the frequency, severity and duration of a drought. Frequency analysis and determination of return periods of droughts with certain severity is a very useful statistical tool for characterizing droughts and could provide useful information in water resources management under dry conditions. In this study, Standardised Precipitation Index (SPI) was assessed to investigate how well this index is able to reflect drought conditions in Victoria, Australia. The study used more than 60 years of monthly precipitation data for 5 selected meteorological stations. The SPI were computed with 3 month and 12 month cumulative rainfall volumes to determine the effect of precipitation deficits in both the short-term and medium-term (impacting industry through water restrictions). The SPI obtained good results in defining the initiation and the end of droughts.
  • Co-author: Dr Niranjali Jayasuriya (RMIT University)
  • About the presenter: Siti Nazahiyah is a lecturer at Tun Hussein Onn University of Malaysia (UTHM). She is currently pursuing her PhD at the School of Civil, Environmental and Chemical Engineering at RMIT University.  She received a B.Eng. degree in Civil Engineering and a M.Eng. in Water Resources from the University of Technology, Malaysia (UTM). Her research involves study of drought management and forecasting.