On the 11th and 12th August, Allison, Kevin, and Matt traveled to San Diego for a RISER research summit hosted by our RISER partners at UCSD. The summit aimed to plan closer collaboration between the Melbourne and UCSD teams, as well as coordination between the RISER and WIFIRE projects.
The first day of the summit was focused on reviewing current activities across Melbourne and San Diego. Matt gave an update and led the discussion on the RISER project activities, and Kevin led a discussion ab
out Phoenix RapidFire. Ilkay Altintas summarized activities in the WIFIRE project from the UCSD side, and gave a demonstration of the Kepler workflow software being developed and used for managing fire modelling workflows.
Other UCSD contributors to the day included Jessica Block, Raymond DeCallafon, Michael Gollner, HansWerner Braun, Monika Braun, Jeff Sale, and Jurgen Schulze. The discussion also covered a WIFIRE Calit2 highschool student project to develop FireTracker: a prototype social media system for fire information.
On the second day discussions focused primarily on concrete collaboration activities. In amongst a range of exciting ideas that came out of the day, two of the primary areas of concrete collaboration were identified as 1. computing performance bounds for environmental sensor networks; and 2. using Kepler as a common platform for workflow and stream processing for dynamic geospatial data. Our objective is to hold a second joint summit in Melbourne in the first half of 2014, with the focus then on disseminating the results of these and other RISER activities to the broader stakeholder community.
In the RISERnet project, Simon has now sourced suitable connectors to implement our plan of powering sensor motes by external batteries. James and Peter have rewired one mote and tested the new external battery system. Further connectors are on order and rewiring of all the motes should begin in the next fortnight.
Azedeh has been investigating how the spatial and temporal characteristics of the RISERnet vary over the field. By studying the temporal variation of observed weather conditions (like humidity, solar radiation, and temperature, pictured) the project is better understanding the spatial variation in these parameters, as the basis for subsequent fine fuel moisture content modelling and estimation. In parallel, Peter has begun implementation of key algorithms and models on the IBM Infosphere Stream Computing platform that will form the basis of MoistuRISER.
Peter and James implemented a communication tunnel between the stream server and RISERview (the RISERnet user interface) using the MQTT protocol. The stream server is now able to trigger cache invalidation and automatically rebuild data graphics for RISERview. The updates also enable direct transfer of sensor data (and in future analysis results) from the stream server to RISERview for real time visualisation (see high-level architecture below).
Kevin gave a series of short talks to local Creswick residents interested in the background to our RISER experiments on decision-making under uncertainty. In addition to discussing the importance of better understanding of human decision-making, Kevin’s talks gave an introduction to the technology used to predict bushfire risk and impacts, such as the Phoenix RapidFire system. The talk highlighted several different ways in which we deal with uncertainty in our bushfire predictions.
James and Jasmin have now completed development of the basic user-interface to the RISERnet sensor data, the focus of the RISERview subproject. The interface is able to display in detail sensor data from individual nodes, as well as in summary from across the entire monitored area. The interface is designed to operate on the full range of devices (smart phones, tablet computers, personal computers, …). From this basis, a range of refinements are under development, including better interface interaction and symbology; and the integration of the platform with other analysis functions, such as MoistuRISER.
Matt, Allison, and Kevin have had an abstract accepted for oral presentation at the Australian and New Zealand Disaster Management Conference (ANZDMC). The abstract is in connection with the RISERnet project, discussion the development and uses of a wireless sensor network for environmental monitoring of sensitive natural environments, like the forest. The paper title is:
Duckham, M., Kealy, A., Tolhurst, K. (2014) RISERnet: Situational awareness using environmental sensor networks. In: Australian and New Zealand Disaster and Emergency Management Conference.
joins RISER from the beginning of March as an IBM Research Intern. Azadeh brings expertise in PGMs (probabilistic graphical models) for mining sensor data. She will work specifically in connection with the MoistuRISER
project, using the data from RISERnet to estimate fuel moisture content.
Matt, Allison, and Peter joined Kevin in Creswick on 6th February to work on several related tasks. In particular, the mini-workshop focused on fuel moisture computations, laying the groundwork for the design of a system to use RISERnet data to compute fine-grained fuel moisture measures.
Allison was successful in being awarded funding from MERIT (Melbourne School of Engineering) to support Francisco Escobar to work at the University of Melbourne as a visiting scholar in November 2014. Francisco is a world expert in cartography and spatial information systems, and plans to collaborate with the RISER team on the ongoing development of innovative user interfaces for emergency information systems.
Matt has joined the WIFIRE Advisory Board, which provides strategic advice to the WIFIRE project based at UCSD in San Diego. WIFIRE is a sister-project to RISER investigating wildfire predictions and simulations, and led by UCSD researcher Ilkay Altintas. WIFIRE was awarded $2.65M USD funding from the NSF and is building strong links to the RISER project, on which UCSD is a partner organization.
The first RISER Project Management Committee meeting was held on 20 December 2013 at the Office of the Fire Services Commissioner in the Melbourne CBD. The RISER PMC provide strategic guidance to the RISER project, reviewing progress and providing strategic advice on the research direction. At the meeting were PMC members Jessica Block, Matt Duckham, Juerg von Kaenel, Kim Lowell, and John Schauble. In addition to providing the opportunity to review early progress in the project, the PMC discussed a RISER white paper setting out the plans for progress in the three key RISER research areas: new data streams, novel methods for data integration, and innovative interfaces for user interaction.
The RISER team was involved in four presentations at MODSIM, the 20th International Congress on Modelling and Simulation. MODSIM was held this year in Adelaide, December 1-6. PhD student Lisa Cheong presented her work on evaluating interfaces for decision making under uncertainty in a bushfire context. Her abstract was entitled:
Cheong, L.M., Bleisch, S., Duckham, M., Kealy, A., Tolhurst, K. and Wilkening, T. (2013) A methodology for evaluating the impact of visualization on decision-making under uncertainty for PHOENIX Rapidfire. Proc. MODSIM 2013, p50.
Kevin Tolhurst was also an author on three papers connected with advances in fire-spread modeling.
Matt and Allison attended a Dagstuhl Seminar on Geosensor Networks. The Schloss Dagstuhl Leibniz Center for Informatics in Germany is one of the leading centers for informatics in the world, with a long waiting list to host seminars. Matt was one of the organizers of the seminar, entitled: Geosensor Networks: Bridging Algorithms and Applications. The week-long seminar brought together researchers from around the world with expertise in the theory, design, and deployment of geosensor networks for an intensive collaboration. The aim of the seminar was to foster better knowledge transfer from theoretical approaches to geosensor networks through to practical applications, such as that being attempted in the RISER project.
Our work on designing improved interfaces for interacting with uncertain mapped information about hazardous areas continues. Another round of human subject tests ran this week, testing the performance of human subjects when presented with different maps and textual information about the level of certainly of fire at a location. The stimuli for the experiments is based on output from the Phoenix RapidFire model.
Sensor node in Olinda
RISERnet continues it’s full field deployment. Matt and Peter joined Simon and James in Olinda to advise on aspects of the deployment. A problem with the connection at the gateway (Meshlium) unfortunately led to one being returned to the lab for further configuration. Unfortunately, this will delay the full deployment start by a week or two.
The RISER Project Management Committee, responsible for general oversight of the project and providing guidance on the content, conduct, and scope of the project, has been constituted from the project partners along with expertise from outside the project. The current PMC members are: Matt Duckham (Chair), Juerg von Kaenel, Kim Lowell, John Schauble, and Kevin Tolhurst.
On 21 October, Allison and Matt attended an AFAC collaboration event entitled Exploring a ‘Mountain of Data’. The participants included providers and recipients of emergency management information from across the country, and Matt gave a short presentation on the RISER project.
We are seeking an outstanding early career academic (post-doc) with a strong grounding in geographic information science and a specialization in geovisualization or geovisual analytics to work on the RISER project. For more information, see the official position advertisement.
Matt Duckham gave a talk introducing RISER and previous NDRGS and MSE Iconic projects to the joint NDMRI/ADMP seminar at the University of Melbourne on 8 October 2013. The slides for the presentation can be viewed via Prezi.
Guy Sharon and Carlos Queiroz from IBM
A first RISER group meeting was held at the University of Melbourne on Friday 4th October. The meeting focused specifically on interaction with IBM partners, with Christian Vecchiola, Andrew Rawlinson, Guy Sharon, and Carlos Queiroz all contributing from IBM, with Matt Duckham, Allison Kealy, Bill Moran, and Susanne Bleisch from University of Melbourne.
Congratulations to WIFIRE, a major research project on wildfire predictions and simulations led by UCSD researcher Ilkay Altintas, which was awarded $2.65M USD funding from the NSF. The project further strengthens the RISER project’s strong link to UCSD in the area of information systems for emergency management. UCSD and RISER researcher Jessica Block is also collaborator on the WIFIRE project, and the RISER team supported the WIFIRE funding proposal.
The RISER project officially started on 16th September 2013. Our sincere thanks to everyone who helped and worked with us in achieving this first milestone.