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Designing a new system for disaster management

One year on from the storm that devastated New York, researchers at the University of Melbourne and IBM were in the city to discuss the latest breakthroughs in disaster management and introduce a new disaster management platform.

The Next Generation Public Safety symposium, held at the New York Academy of Sciences on November 19, took a closer look at how major natural disasters have been managed.  It also provided the first public demonstration of the Australia Disaster Management Platform (ADMP), a new system for collating and distributing information during a crisis.

The Association of Public Safety Communications Officials used the event to formally sign on as the first collaborator to the University of Melbourne-IBM led platform that is in its first year of development.

Among others speaking at the event were Dr John E. Kelly III (Director, IBM Research), Greg Scott (UN Inter-Regional Advisor Global Geospatial Information Management) and Keith Bell (World Bank, Sustainable Development Department).

Over the past decade alone, the world has experienced a deluge of natural and man-made disasters impacting millions and costing trillions of dollars in property and infrastructure damage. The ADMP is one response to this, an integrated platform that utilises cutting-edge analytic and computational capabilities in a bid to transform our ability to plan, predict, manage and recover from disasters. It will be a next generation, open standards-based IT system that is aimed at improving disaster management, protecting communities and potentially saving lives not just in Australia but around the world.

Professor Jim McCluskey, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) from the University said continued collaboration with IBM as well as other multinational partners would be essential in ensuring the platform is a comprehensive success.

“The Australia Disaster Management Platform is a very big undertaking which only becomes possible through collaboration.  While University and IBM researchers are conducting the R&D that will underpin the Platform’s first stage development, it is important to have global perspectives involved in its final form,” he said.

“Disasters seem to be increasing in intensity and frequency, likewise their impact on human life and their economic costs. A truly global collaborative approach is important to ensure adequate data sharing and universal standards are applied across the board.”

“We’re aiming for a platform that will enable people at all levels, from communities to command centres to make timely and effective decisions by accessing comprehensive, real-time information,” said Glenn Wightwick, Director, IBM Research – Australia.

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