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15 May 2012

First workshop on Mobile Interoperability for International Field Deployment

The first workshop on Mobile Interoperability for International Field Deployment took place in the European Crisis Management Laboratory (ECML) of the Joint Research Centre in Ispra, Italy, from 12 to 13 March 2012. 37 participants coming from 11 EU countries and Norway, Brazil and US, 3 UN agencies (Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), World Food Programme (WFP) and Development Programme (UNDP) and 2 NGOs (MapAction, Technology Sans Frontières) attended the workshop.

The workshop’s purpose was to measure the added value of mobile assessment technology for rapid situation assessment in international emergency operations. Seven mobile assessment systems were deployed among the participants and needed to provide, in an interoperable way, real-time data to a single On-Site Operations Coordination Centre (OSOCC). The performance of the systems was benchmarked against a traditional paper-based assessment that was conducted simultaneously.

The outcomes - published in the final report - showed that both paper and electronic OSOCCs reached a similar situation awareness in the same time, identifying similar needs and locations for prioritization, but only the electronic OSOCC had products available as sharable electronic maps and documents. Mobile technology is mature and can be deployed in an interoperable way. However, processing tools and training is still lacking. “It’s a dream to work with real-time data”, a representative of World Food Programme said, “but more tools are needed to exploit the information.” The participants encouraged a follow-up workshop after such tools are developed.

The workshop was co-organised with ACRIMAS, an FP7 project preparing a Demonstration Project in crisis management. This ACRIMAS Pilot Case demonstrated that controlled experiments are a useful way to assess and advance crisis management technology.

Barroso at the Crisis Room
7 mobile systems worked in an interoperable way, sending real-time information to the JRC Crisis Laboratory

Workshop website