How the internet could save us all from disaster

Duncan Shaw
Professor Duncan Shaw, Director of The Aston Centre for Research into Safety & Security (CRISIS)
24 May 2011

Groundbreaking research into how smarter use of the internet and modern technologies could strengthen public resilience to disasters is about to begin by experts at Aston Business School, thanks to European Commission funding.

The two-year project, entitled Disaster 2.0, aims to discover how countries in Europe can use social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook, as well as YouTube, Ushahidi – a computerised real-time mapping service – and other web-based technologies during disasters.

The £950,000 project, co-funded by Aston University, aims to identify and share good practice across Europe in three key areas: (1) How Emergency Management Agencies, or EMAs, are using new technologies to communicate with the public (2) how EMAs are introducing innovation to improve impact of new technologies and (3) what next for EMAs, in terms of new technologies.

Disaster 2.0 aims to establish the role of Web 2.0 platforms in mitigating damage to Critical Infrastructure and building resilience in the public. It will attempt to achieve this by maximising the use of social networking sites as one of the most popular, efficient and effective methods of communication with people, irrespective of geographical distance. In addition, it will also establish the scope for semantic web (Web 3.0) technologies in emergency management.

Professor Duncan Shaw, Director of The Aston Centre for Research into Safety & Security (CRISIS), said:

“We are grateful to the European Commission for their financial support which will enable us to extend our research into how the internet and new technologies could further improve public resilience. We live in an era where communication is faster than ever before and we aim to create a model which will benefit us all, wherever we are in the world.”

Now in its ninth year, the Aston Centre for Research into Safety & Security (The Aston CRISIS Centre) at Aston Business School, provides evidence-based advice to safety and security-related organisations both at home and abroad.

The Aston CRISIS Centre emerged from a need in government and private organisations for high quality support in preparing their operations and their people for new global challenges. To find out more about The Aston CRISIS Centre visit www.astoncrisis.com or contact Tom Hart on 0121 204 4565 or email t.hart@aston.ac.uk

For all media enquiries please contact Dhiren Katwa, Press Officer at Aston Business School, on 0121 204 4954 or email d.katwa1@aston.ac.uk

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