Webcams, traffic counters, closed-circuit TVs, smartphones, iBeacons… We are surrounded by sensors and information systems that are capturing and communicating live data about particular phenomena, events, and trends around them. Sometimes, data sensed for one purpose may be useful for another purpose, called “opportunistic” sensing.
In the case of an emergency, traditional and authoritative data sources may be disrupted. We may not know in advance what data will be available to help build situational awareness and support decision making. Hence, opportunistic sensing can potentially be a useful source of data to build resilient emergency information systems. This project, undertaken by the RISER team, aims to identify and showcase specific examples of using opportunistic sensing for emergency applications, with a focus on urban emergency environments.
In stage 1, the team will look to partner with an organisation that is gathering live data from different types of sensors across a number of environments and determine one or two specific scenarios in which opportunistic sensing might assist in an emergency situation, such as urban flash-flooding or a hazmat incident.
From this point, mechanisms through which data might be used to help in the scenario will be documented, the identification and assessment of techniques, and models to manipulate the data into workable emergency intelligence will be investigated.
The outline system design and summary scoping report generated from this first stage will be used as a basis for a prototype system implementation.