Improving Utilization of Mobile Device Technology For Distributed Emergency Response Teams

Open Access
Godbole, Anushree
Graduate Program:
Computer Science and Engineering
Master of Science
Document Type:
Master Thesis
Date of Defense:
June 27, 2013
Committee Members:
  • David J Hall, Thesis Advisor
  • Participatory Sensing
  • Emergency Management
  • Android
  • Participatory Action
With the increase in popularity of mobile devices and their increasing functionalities, participatory sensing has become one of the most researched areas. Applications of participatory sensing are spread across a wide array of fields such as transportation, health, emergency management, monitoring daily activities, and citizen science. Using the mobile devices, individuals (or group of individuals) can explore and report on their surroundings. Individuals can act as “mobile sensor platforms”, collecting information using mobile devices (images, audio/video files, location data, etc.) as well as providing their own human observations. The power of the data obtained can be increased by using web services to store this data and obtain meaningful information. Perhaps, a new term can be coined ‘Participatory Action’ which explains the process of decision-making (or taking actions) using participatory sensing and web services. In this thesis, a prototype has been developed that presents a proof of concept for the term ‘Participatory Action.’ The infrastructure presented in this work addresses the scenario of a forest fire where a trapped victim is rescued (and fire is extinguished) by using the information obtained from other users in the vicinity. Using the Android enabled devices users can upload their information to the web service running on a centralized data center. The dynamic log generated by the users is taken into consideration for the process of decision making. The algorithm calculates a measure of effectiveness for each user present at the scene and presents results to the data center operator. The operator then can make the tasking decision whether to ask the user to carry out the rescue or to extinguish the fire.