Category Archives: New Techniques

Communications Management during the BP Oil Spill Response – a report

Gulf Oil Spill

Posted by Claire B. Rubin

This long paper  (60 pp.) re communications used during the Oil Spill via the PIER system may be of interest to readers, since it discusses the use of the Internet and new media. Usually in our blogs we quote primary sources or use traditional media sources for our postings. In this case the paper was written by a principal at a commercial firm, which owns the software. I cannot fully assess either its content (out of my league) or its veracity. Nevertheless, I thought it was worth calling attention to it and inviting readers to analyze and discuss it. Details follow:

Gerald Baron, Pier Founder and Exec. VP, O’Briens Response Management. Unending Flow; Case Study on Communications in Gulf Oil Spill, Oct. 6, 2010. 60 pp. You will have to sign in and request a copy from the O’Brien’s website .  See especially, Section I: Internet Use, Section 2:Media Management, and Coverage and the final Conclusion: Major Lessons Learned.

Among his concluding comments are the topics:  The nature of media and social media revealed, an uncertain future for the concept of a ‘single voice’ in multi-agency response, and unnecessary erosion of public trust.”

We welcome feedback from users on these topics.

Relevant Research – articles from ISCRAM 2010

Posted by Claire

The Proceedings are now available from the 7th International Conference on Information Systems for Crisis Response and Management (ISCRAM).  The conference theme was Defining Crisis Management 3.0 and featured topics such as: Collaboration and Social Networking; Geo-Information Support, and Humanitarian Challenges. These research papers are a significant contribution, in my view, in that may become the foundation of new efforts in the coming years.

The Proceedings (45 pp.)  include both abstracts and full text of papers delivered), May 2010. The  proceedings are available here ISCRAM2010 -Proceedings or can be downloaded from

Red Cross Features Use of Social Media for Disasters

As people in distress turn to Twitter, the Red Cross seeks the most efficient ways to respond, Wash Post August 12.

On Thursday, the Red Cross will lead a discussion at its headquarters in downtown Washington with emergency-response leaders, technology experts and at least one social media swami to try to sort through the challenges of coordinating response to floods of real-time information. “We’ll have 100 people live-blogging in the [Hall of Service], in the same place where people were rolling bandages during the first world war,” said Gail McGovern, president and chief executive of the Red Cross.

Some 70 percent of those responding to the Red Cross survey said emergency agencies should be monitoring social media.

Prior to the conference, the Red Cross conducted a major survey, the full results of which are available here. There are some significant findings here for the emergency management community, and we recommend that readers access the full report.

The two divas who write this blog attended the conference.  This “summit” conference was in fact was a major gathering of key persons engaged in cutting edge social media projects.  A video stream of the conference and copies of the papers provided will be on their conference blog site noted here.

Social Media applications for emergency management

This  new effort is intended to identify, share, and comment on the use of  new social media, technology, and communications media in emergency management. We plan to cover applications in the practice of emergency management in the U.S., in other countries, and globally.  We hope the site is of  interest to practitioners, academics, and others.

We will cover  Web 2.0 applications, which include  interactive information sharing, interoperability, user-centered design, and collaboration on the World Wide Web. A Web 2.0 site allows its users to interact with each other as contributors to the website’s content, in contrast to websites where users are limited to the passive viewing of information that is provided to them. Examples include web-based communities, web applications, social-networking sites, video-sharing sites, wikis, and blogs.