Amazing students designing mobile technology to support eduction i emergency contexts

Amazing students designing mobile technology to support eduction i emergency contexts

Since January, twelve brilliant bachelor students have been working on two projects that address how to improve the possibilities of providing eduction in emergencies. Their case has been forced migration and more specifically the challenges caused by the refugee situation in Jordan. The project started based on the experiences of my work with Jamiya in delivering a programming course in a refugee context.

The students has been working in two teams focusing on different aspects of technology support for eduction in a refugee situation. The teams have based their work on Design Thinking and employed Human-Centered Design Methodology in order to ground their designs on the stories and perspectives of people that live as refugees in Amman and in Zaatari. In this work Jesuit Refugee Services in Amman, Jamiya.org and other domain experts have provided valuable input to the teams. Data collection for the inspiration- and evaluation phases has been achieved by interview sessions with individuals in the Swedish asylum system, remote collaboration with individuals in Jordan as well as during field visits in Jordan.

Today the two teams made their final presentations and proved that they are skilled designers and developers able to approach, explore, design and implement solutions that has the potential to make a difference.RemoteClassroomTeamPhotoWide

Each team consists of fantastic individuals with a background in the industrial design programs and computer science. This mix enabled the teams to not only explore innovative design ideas but also to construct clever mechanisms and materialize working solutions.

Team 1: Herman Carlström Erik Jansson Alice Johansson Filip Larsson Magdalena Lindén Oskar Samuelsson

Team 2: Carl Albertsson, Axel Aringskog, Nils Arvidsson, Billy Astorsson, Ajla Cano, Matilda Wikström

The results from the two design studies will be used as input and starting points for follow up interventions and in future development work on a mobile platform for eduction in emergencies.

It has been a pleasure to be the supervisor of these brilliant individuals.

Reports:

Herman Carlström Erik Jansson Alice Johansson Filip Larsson Magdalena Lindén Oskar Samuelsson (2017) Education in Emergencies – Designing a mobile solution to improve access to tertiary education in Jordan. Bachelor thesis, Chalmers University of Technology [pdf]

Carl Albertsson, Axel Aringskog, Nils Arvidsson, Billy Astorsson, Ajla Cano, Matilda Wikström (2017) Remote Classroom : A Mobile Learning Platform for Education in Emergencies. Bachelor thesis, Chalmers University of Technology [pdf]

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Visualisering av samverkan blir allt viktigare

I samband med större händelser försöker de professionella aktörerna att som en del av hantera en rad omedelbara operativa problem också skapa bilder av vilka andra aktörer som är engagerade med den aktuella händelsen. Att hålla koll på samverkande organisationer är i den lilla händelsen relativt enkelt. Men när händelsen är mer komplex blir bilden av involverade organisationer svårare att hålla aktuell.

Kanske är det dags att skapa nya funktioner i existerande systemstöd som krishanteringsaktörerna förväntas att använda som också snabbt och kontinuerligt ger olika former av visualisering av samverkande samt mer indirekt involverade parter. Detta kan enklast ske genom två följande metoder:

1. Extrahera användningsstatistik i de vanligt förekommande loggningsystemen såsom WIS, LUPP-applikationen och Samverkanswebben
Skapa nätverksmodeller där relationer mellan aktörerna baseras utifrån hur information delas, vilken information som aktörerna läser.

2. Extrahera samtalsloggar från mobiltelefonerna som aktörerna använder samt kommunikationsloggar från Rakel. Skapa nätverksmodeller baserat på vilka roller och vilka organisationers som varit i kontakt med vem.

Bilden nedan visar en enkel visualisering baserat på en begränsad mängd användningstatistik från WIS i samband med Stormen Dagmar i december 2011. Vad som är intressant med bilden är hur informativa visualiseringar kan skapas med ganska enkla medel baserat på ytterst begränsad användningsstatistik.

Det är rimligt att anta att spännande och informativa visualiseringar för krishantering är möjliga på sikt när tillgången till större volymer och mer detaljerad användningsdata blir tillgängliga myndigheternas centrala systemstöd.
Svenska krishanteringsaktörer har mycket att vinna på att börja utnyttja den data som skapas som en bieffekt av att deras personal använder de centrala systemstöden. Syftet med sådana visualiseringar är att underlätta för krishanteringsaktörerna att tolka komplexa och svårgreppbara fenomen och händelseförlopp.

Särskilt intressant är att se hur loggar från sociala medier, mobiltrafikloggar, användningsloggar från WIS, loggar från biljettsystem i kollektivtrafik samt loggar från entrésystem i byggnader kan kombineras och ligga till grund för nyskapande visualiseringar.

Viktigt att nämna i detta sammanhang är att dessa loggar inte behöver kunna identifiera individer utan istället visa flödesvolymer där de enskilda data elementen alltså inte identifierar personer.

Enhanced Situational Awareness

I have previously mentioned the Wiper system as an interesting prototype in the area of emergency and crises response. The following paper is a very nice presentation on how WIPER could enhance situational awareness. Download the paper here.

Gregory R. Madey, Albert-László Barabási, Nitesh V. Chawla,
Marta Gonzalez, David Hachen, Brett Lantz, Alec Pawling,
Timothy Schoenharl, Gábor Szabó, Pu Wang, and Ping Yan
Enhanced Situational Awareness: Application of DDDAS
Concepts to Emergency and Disaster Management
Y. Shi et al. (Eds.): ICCS 2007, Part I, LNCS 4487, pp. 1090 – 1097, 2007.
© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2007

WIPER is designed for real-time monitoring of normal social and geographical communication and activity patterns of millions of cell phone users, recognizing unusual human agglomerations, potential emergencies and traffic jams. WIPER uses streams of high-resolution data in the physical vicinity of a communication or traffic anomaly, and dynamically injects them into agent-based simulation systems to classify and predict the unfolding of the emergency in real time. The agent-based simulation systems dynamically steer local data collection in the vicinity of the anomaly. Distributed data collection, monitoring, analysis, simulation and decision support modules are integrated to generate traffic forecasts and emergency alerts for engineering, public safety and emergency response personnel for improved situational awareness.

The paper is from 2007 and still relevant and highly valuable when discussing future directions of systems to provide common operating pictures and improved situational awareness.

How the past might help us when facing rapidly evolving situations.

Today we started a new project where we will try to make use of historical data in order to provide queues for sensemaking in rapidly evolving situations. The whole concept is a result of an in-depth discussion with a senior commanders at the local fire and rescue services. Many organizations have tons of data describing past events/incidents. Many of the really useful information is hidden within poorly exploited free-text fields in a database that was designed for storing data but not for exploring insights.

We are aiming to make use of that data and look for what we call particulars in historical data in order to transform these bits and pieces into specifics. The specifics are small pieces of info that might say something really important in a situation that is currently evolving. We do understand that what we are aiming for here is not new as a concept. But we do believe that the design of this type of systems could be vastly improved in order to better fit a time-critical work practice. Our intention is not to flood a commander with a tsunami of data but to provide a gentle drizzle of info to trigger new ways of exploring complex situation.

JOIN US
We would like to invite and involve anyone of you to work with us on this project. So please let us know how you would like to contribute. We are looking for both industrial, academical and professional responders to become part of this network-based projects.

Please email us at: jonas.landgren@gu.se or fredrik.bergstrand@gu.se

Mobile Crisis Response App-store

Today, I had an excellent talk with Aida and Negar at the Software Engineering & Management Program at the Department of Applied IT at the Gothenburg University. Aida and Negar has started to work on a project where they will explore the idea of a work-domain specific app-store for crisis response. Such type of an App-store is to some extent i sharp contrast to the platform specific App-stores developed by Apple. Google, RIM, Nokia, SonyEricsson, and LG. Aida and Negar presented their results from an initial survey of the different platforms and it was evident in the discussion that followed, that Iphone and S60/Nokia platforms are to underlying complexity and the need to have a “certified/signed” application.
In their work, they will instead focus on the Android platform and Windows Mobile. Android feels very fresh, but Windows Mobile is from my perspective not the hottest platform for innovative design. But there are many many Windows Mobile devices out there, especially among higher ranking managers in organisations dealing with crisis management. The installed base should always be considered.
Aida and Negar is now moving forward with their project and the next step will be to learn more about Android and Android Market. Insights from the platform and the App-store( or market) will provide valuable input for requirement specification and design. During the autumn, the perhaps provoking plan is to open up a small but working App-store for the Swedish Crisis Response Community. Anyone that would like to contribute in this work are welcome to join in this exciting effort.

Crisis Response App-store?

In the last few weeks, I have started to become more and more interested in how the whole App-store phenomena might be used in the emergency and crisis response domain. Would it be possible for a consumer oriented business model work in our domain? What are the key issues that must be solved in order to provide a US or European Crisis Response App-store?
Or if we shift perspective, Why would it fail? I would be more that happy to hear your insights on this topic.

A conceptual illustration with some of the current and future applications in Swedish Emergency and Crisis Response:


The concept of social objects: a new perspective when designing for crisis response


A lot of exciting work is going on in the social media community that could have radical implications on how we design information systems for crisis response. Inspired by the book Designing For The Social Web by Joshua Porter. It is a neat little book presenting the core issues when designing social web applications. A key concept in the book is that it is of out most importance to identify the primary activity of the application and the social objects related to this actitivity. Social objects could be viewed as boundary objects. Social objects are the “things” we interact with and talked about when using the application. From my perspective, social objects add a new flaviour to information and data modelling. In comparision with data and information modelling that basically is focused on “business terms and business objects”, social objects are more focus on the users experience of what is or will become important. I find the term social objects very liberating concept that open up for new perspectives. When objects in an application is understood as social, then the application design must conform to the fact that it deals with social objects and necessary features in order to manifest that they are used in social interaction. I wonder what would happen if someone would redesign a classical Command and Control System and tranform it from something hierarchical and closed into something more network-oriented and open. I can imagine that when we start to design for what people talk about instead of designing based on “a need to know basis” or based on “formal task descriptions” , we will end up with system designs that in this work domain will radically change how we understand command and control.

If you would like to learn more about the work by Joshua Porter, visit his blog at: http://bokardo.com/