Articles | Volume 15, issue 7
Research article
18 Jul 2015
Research article |  | 18 Jul 2015

Data interoperability software solution for emergency reaction in the Europe Union

R. Casado, E. Rubiera, M. Sacristan, F. Schütte, and R. Peters

Abstract. Emergency management becomes more challenging in international crisis episodes because of cultural, semantic and linguistic differences between all stakeholders, especially first responders. Misunderstandings between first responders makes decision making slower and more difficult. However, spread and development of networks and IT-based emergency management systems (EMSs) have improved emergency responses, which have become more coordinated. Despite improvements made in recent years, EMSs have not still solved problems related to cultural, semantic and linguistic differences which are the real cause of slower decision making. In addition, from a technical perspective, the consolidation of current EMSs and the different formats used to exchange information offers another problem to be solved in any solution proposed for information interoperability between heterogeneous EMSs in different contexts. To overcome these problems, we present a software solution based on semantic and mediation technologies. EMERGency ELements (EMERGEL) (Fundacion CTIC and AntwortING Ingenieurbüro PartG, 2013), a common and modular ontology shared by all the stakeholders, has been defined. It offers the best solution to gather all stakeholders' knowledge in a unique and flexible data model, taking into account different countries' cultural and linguistic issues. To deal with the diversity of data protocols and formats, we have designed a service-oriented architecture for data interoperability (named DISASTER: Data Interoperability Solution At STakeholders Emergency Reaction) providing a flexible extensible solution to solve the mediation issues. Web services have been adopted as specific technology to implement this paradigm that has the most significant academic and industrial visibility and attraction. Contributions of this work have been validated through the design and development of a cross-border realistic prototype scenario, actively involving both emergency managers and emergency-first responders: the Netherlands–Germany border fire.

Final-revised paper