ISCRAM2016 Highlights Day 1

For those of you interested in any form of disaster management ‘The International Conference for Crisis Response and Management’ is the place for you. This year it’s taking place in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on the gorgeous Copacabana beach.

This post will summarise a handful of paper presentations which I was able to attend on the first day of the conference proceedings, and provide you links to these papers.

The day began with a keynote talk from José Holguín-Veras, an academic who has spent his career advising organisations on how best to manage disasters. He discussed the top ten lessons from large disasters and catastrophes, and how these had implications for resiliency and the ISCRAM community.

The message that stuck from this presentation was that common sense should not be overlooked in disaster logistics. Buying and shipping bottled water to a population that had been struck by disaster is the least effective gesture, and instead charities and organisations need to be more realistic: sending the amount of money it cost to buy and ship that water could have bought nearly twice as much from a nearer region.

Following this the structure of the day was then broken up into three main sessions, interspersed with breaks.

monday programme

In the first session I attended a series of talks in the track ‘intelligent decision support in the networked society’ or IDSS. This began with the topic ‘Adoption of big data in crisis management toward a better support in decision-making‘ (Fertier et al., 2016; presented by Frederick Beneben). This took some well-used approaches for big data management and produced and improved methodology for processing, thus resulting in a system that allowed for more informed decisions.

A paper of particular interest to myself was entitled ‘Communication and Tracking Ontology Development for Civilians Disaster Assistance‘(Hassan & Chen-Berger, 2016). In this, the authors develop generalised use of the semantic Web to apply during disasters. Ontologies, it turned out, were very popular across the tracks at the conference this year.

In the later afternoon sessions there were several talks that I enjoyed.

Firstly ‘#geiger 2: Developing Guidelines for Radiation Measurements Sharing on Social Media‘ (Segault et al., 2016; presented by Frederico Tajario). This looked at using Twitter metadata to reduce risk from radiation incidents, which seemed very relevant to a developing world that has seen several nuclear disasters in the past few years such as Fukushima in 2011.

Finally,  ‘An Emotional Step Towards Automated Trust Detection in Crisis Social Media ‘ (Halse et al., 2016; Presented by Andrea Tapia) tackled with some really big issues of the trustworthiness of online information. An original and more sociological approach was taken in this paper, and instead Tweets were analysed and categorised by associated emotion rather than a measure of credibility.

Day 1 was diverse and thoroughly interesting. But, as ever, one cannot attend everything.