GLOBAL DISASTER INFORMATION NETWORK
497 Seaport Court, Suite 102A Redwood City, CA 94063
Phone: 202-647-5070 Fax: 202-647-4628
GDIN Management intends
to Publish this once a month from now on, as well as post the newsletter
on the website, and also amend the webpages of the working groups,
All members of GDIN
are encouraged to send in information, and also to post information
on the website in between issues.
in this Issue
2001 a Great Success.
Web Site Being Refreshed.
Chosen for GDIN2002.
Being Considered for GDIN2003.
Plans and ByLaws being Developed.
Partners to be Expanded.
announces a National Disaster Information Network (GDIN
Facilitator Working Group takes off -- To Conduct Survey.
Working Group takes on New Leadership.
Working Group offers to play significant role in GDIN2002.
Disease Working Group About to Release Data.
Announces GDIN Work Shop in Algiers 8-10 October 2001.
NASA FireAngel Pilot Project Announced.
to CDC in May, 2001.
Communities Working Group Changes Name, begins to blossom.
Meeting on Systemic Risks to be held May 28, 2001 in Paris.
- GDIN 2001 a Great
GDIN2001, the fourth
international conference of the Global Disaster Information
Network, met in Canberra, Australia March 21-24 (with preconference
meetings of working groups held march 19 and 20. The conference
was a great success and the general view of the participants
was that the project, begun by the US Government in 1997, will
prosper. Details are covered on the GDIN web site, www.gdin.org.
GDIN members will
have a daunting task in 2001, as the goal for GDIN2002 in Rome
is to convert GDIN from an experimental body to a true working
body with services. A wide range of pilot projects have been
called for by various working groups, as well as studies on
funding, incorporation and related issues, a study of potential
services, etc., with all of GDIN having a key role.
The Conference agreed
that GDIN isn't being asked to actually develop maps or data;
rather to facilitate access to such products, especially when
they are publicly available, or to facilitate their development.
That will require services, but the conference also agreed that
a strength of GDIN is also its unique leadership ability to
bring together experts from different sectors into a single
- Business Plan Adopted:
A business plan for GDIN was agreed upon that sets out a set of
services and actions to be accomplished by GDIN2002 (or in some
cases to be studied), to include incorporation, perhaps as a formal
International Organization. Part of the business plan also tasks
the Fund Director, working with the government of Italy, to organize
a fund raising drive during 2001-2002. Though these options were
not controversial, GDIN management will need to be sure that services
developed do not appear to be in competition with existing disaster
information programs, especially as GDIN begins to lobby for funding.
- GDIN Web Site Being
Refreshed: The website will undergo significant revisions of content
and structure, all of which should be finished by the end of May
or early June. By then, we also hope to migrate over to GDIN.org
as a domain. We are also in need of a mirror image for the site,
especially given the brownouts going on in California. Is anyone
interested in volunteering to help with this?
- Elections: Larry Roeder
was reelected as Executive Director, the Chief Executive Officer
of the Project. Alan Hodges, former Director General of Emergency
Management, Australia, was elected Chair of the Executive Committee,
which acts as the Board of Directors. Karen Risa Robbins was reelected
as Fund Director and AMTECH was reelected as the Secretariat.
- GDIN2002: Italy was
chosen as host for GDIN2002. The conference will be held in late
June, 2002 and about 500 delegates from many nations and private
sector organizations. The agenda is now being discussed between
Italy, the Executive Committee and the chairs of the Working Groups.
We anticipate that an outline program will be posted by the end
of May or early June.
- GDIN2003: South Africa
and South America have been recommended as locations. GDIN management
requests your ideas. Please propose a country and a potential
host agency, as well as essential concept to be covered during
the conference. Suggestions should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Incorporation and
ByLaws Under Study: At the request of GDIN2001, Larry Roeder,
the Executive Director, has because a study of various incorporation
models. For presentation to the Executive Committee The aim is
to coordinate a choice or set of options through the Executive
Committee for consideration at GDIN2002 in Rome that will allow
all sectors to continue to operate on an equal basis; but also
allow GDIN to develop specific concrete services, protect GDIN
against liability problems and allow GDIN to hire, raise money
and manage itself more effectively. At the same time, Dr. Albert
Simard, Chairman of the Policy Committee, is developing a set
of Bylaws for the organization to be run by. Suggestions on models
and potential bylaws are encouraged.
- Strategic Partners:
The conference also called on GDIN to quickly develop more strategic
partners. The UN and OECD have already been invaluable partners
as has been Italy, Russia, Mexico, Turkey, the European Commission,
and others. But GDIN also needs to develop tighter links to recognized
disaster information projects and through MOU's to connect to
commercial space firms and other commercial entities.
- Executive Committee
Action: At GDIN2001 the Executive Committee identified its major
activities through until GDIN2002 in Rome. These have now been
developed into a project plan with the following immediate tasks:
- Commence work
on the development of by-laws and on the legal status of GDIN.
- Develop promotional
material to assist in approaching potential donors.
- Work with the
Conference Committee in the development of the GDIN2002 program.
- Review and update
the GDIN web site.
Later in the year
work will need to commence on preparation of the GDIN budget
to be presented at GDIN2002.
In July it is planned
to conduct a virtual forum involving Working Group chairs, to
be followed by progress reports from all Working Groups being
posted on the GDIN web site.
- Israel announces a
National Disaster Information Network (GDIN Israel): Israel announced
that they are beginning to develop a national disaster information
network (NDIN) under the GDIN tent. This can be found at www.mapi.gov.il/isndin/isndin.html.
The site is on both Hebrew and English.
- Information Facilitator
Working Group takes off: Fund Director Karen Robbins and Executive
Director Larry Roeder met with Laurie Johnson, one of the co-chairs
of the Information Facilitator Working Group, in Redwood City,
California in early May, and later by phone with John Reitz, the
other co-chair, by phone. Details of proposed work by the Working
Group will shortly be on their home page. They agreed on a schedule
to examine various services discussed at GDIN2001 in Canberra
and to send out a user survey and to plan a demo for presentation
at GDIN2002 in Rome.
Facilitation Working Group, through the survey and its Internet
based meetings, will help formalize the information facilitation
architecture for GDIN. As strongly recommended by GDIN2001,
surveying user needs will be a major initiative for GDIN this
year. GDIN is special in its ability to cut across organizational
and national boundaries and barriers, and our membership is
quite diverse. The IFWG's mission is, in part, to create a consensus
for a lexicon and conceptual structural that organizes and relates
our membership. The user survey will aim to better define the
various information user, facilitator, and provider groups as
well as their information priorities and requirements at different
stages in the disaster cycle. The results of survey will be
analyzed and translated into a proposed information flow architecture
(i.e. strategic disaster communication plan). Part of the survey
isn't just what do you want for information facilitation, but
also what do you want out of GDIN?
The co-chairs are
exploring the applicability of emergency management processes,
such as the Incident Command System (ICS) or Standardized Emergency
Management System (SEMS), to help to define the information
facilitation functions and potential roles of GDIN community
members. Their goal is to develop prototype GDIN information
facilitator roles/functions, etc. in advance of Rome. In turn,
the GDIN executive committee will be looking at how these potential
roles and functions might be translated into prototype partner/participant
agreements for GDIN community members to help better define
how each member is contributing to or using GDIN services.
The Working Group's
planned schedule is as follows:
- draft user survey
questions in May (GDIN members should use the Working Group
forum to post ideas on the survey at www.gdin.org/wg/facilitator.html.
- define various
user groups and dissemination nodes for the survey by mid-June
(GDIN members should use the Working group forum to post suggestions
for survey groups and dissemination nodes as well).
- the entire survey
and list of user groups and nodes will be reviewed and approved
by the Executive Committee and the chairs of the Working Groups
in early July.
- conduct the survey
from mid-July through August (1.5 months).
- complete an analysis
of results by December in order to use results effectively
as part of advertisement for Rome conference for bigger audience
draw at GDIN2002 in Rome, Italy in June, 2002 (exact date
to be announced.
- PeaceWing Pilot Project:
PeaceWing Prototype Project (PPP): A proposal by NOAA for the
initial demonstration of the solar-powered PeaceWing aircraft
for disaster management, severe weather forecasting, and environmental
monitoring was submitted to the NASA UAV Science-based demonstration
program in March, 2001. Due to unanticipated funding shortfalls,
NASA could not afford to fund the NOAA PeaceWing demonstration,
but instead funded two smaller UAV efforts to study harvesting
of coffee and lightning around storms. PPP would have provided
an initial and critical demonstration of hyperspectral and infrared
imaging of fires, standing water, infrastructure, and coral reefs,
along with microwave imagery of precipitation. It would also have
provided a demonstration of a sky-based Internet telecommunication
system that would provide immediate distribution of the PeaceWing
aerial imagery to ground personnel. Funding for the PPP is currently
being sought from other sources.
For further information
on the PeaceWing Prototype Project, contact Dr. Albin J. Gasiewski,
NOAA Environmental Technology Laboratory, (303) 497-7275, email@example.com.
- NGO Working Group
takes on New Leadership. The NGO Working Group has a new co-Chair.
One co-chair is internationally recognized former Ambassador James
Bishop of Interaction. In addition, Brooke Courtney of the American
Red Cross will represent her organization on both the Executive
Committee and as co-chair of the NGO Working Group. A key goal
will be use the Red Cross's world wide network to broaden NGO
participation in GDIN, as well as to help spread a user survey
being developed by the Information Facilitator Working Group.
- Academic Working Group
offers to play significant role in GDIN2002: Al Austin, Chair
of the Academic Working Group plans to use his group to garner
support for significant academic papers to be presented at GDIN2002
in Rome, as well as to broaden participation by academics in the
field of disaster management.
- Infectious Disease
Working Group about to release data. The working group, under
the leadership of Robert Coullehan of SAIC, has convinced the
US Government to release data on endemic diseases in disaster
prone nations. Release is expected very soon. GDIN proposes posting
the data on ReliefWeb or on GDIN's website with a link from ReliefWeb.
The data is expected to be of great value to disaster managers
about to enter disasters, and hopefully will encourage other governments,
as well as medical NGO's to release the same kind of information.
- Algeria Announces
GDIN Work Shop in Algiers 8-10 October 2001 Dr. Benouar Djillali
Eng.BSc, M.Sc, Ph.D, DIC, Maître de Conférences, Associate
Member of the Third World Academy of Science Expert to the International
Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) announces that a symposium will be
hosted October 8-10 in conjunction with MEDIN. (See the MEDIN
Forum Page). Rinaldo Genevois strongly encourages GDIN folks to
participate. As he puts it, "the proposal of Dr. Djillali Benouar
to meet in Algiers in occasion of the seminar organized by the
Built Environment Research Lab. should be accepted. As I said
during the last Brussels meeting, I have already involved, and
Dr. Devine too, in a EuMed-Civil Protection project regarding
the town of Constantine. This project could be the basis for a
fruitful discussion on GDIN and MEDIN purposes and organization,
guidelines for disaster mitigation and loss prevention and also
for establishing links and supporting community based disaster
mitigation and emergency response projects."
- GDIN NASA FIRE and
Fire Angel Experiment Announced: Over the last two GDIN conferences,
NASA and GDIN have been discussing the feasibility of using UAVs
(uninhabited aerial vehicles) for disaster monitoring. Under the
name FiRE (First Response Experiment), we plan to conduct a proof
of concept flight, set in late May, demonstrating the ability
to provide near real time, over the horizon, geo-registered thermal
imagery on the web for disaster managers. See http://geo.arc.nasa.gov/sge/uavfire
for schedule information and a discussion of the technology.
FiRE is a perfect
example of GDIN's motto of getting the right information
to the right people at the right time. Using the Altus
UAV as a platform, the plane will fly over a controlled burn
in southern California. Within 30 minutes of taking a shot,
a geo-registered thermal infrared image, draped over topography,
will be posted on the web, accessible to fire fighters!
NASA, the US Forest
Service and GDIN are planning a follow-on science demonstration
project for August 2002. The larger General Atomics Altair aircraft,
equipped with the FiRE sensor, SAR and sky-ball vis-near IR
system, will image multiple (20-40) fires and perhaps other
disaster (tornadoes, floods, pollution, etc) events over the
western US, providing near real time geo-registered imagery
to the National Interagency Fire Center over the web (Quick
look imagery, perhaps sized for Palm Pilot available sooner).
Altair and an imaging payload, with 24+ hour duration and satellite
communications, have the potential to be a powerful regional
disaster assessment and management tool.
Assuming this test
works and funding is developed, we want to extend the concept
Internationally. A FireAngel project, as an around the world
demonstration concept in 2003, is designed to show the value
of the new aerospace and information technologies, and showcase
GDIN's ability to embrace relevant of new tools in disaster
information management. For questions on FireAngel, email Steve
Wegener, Physical Scientist, Earth Science Division, Ames Research
Center, NASA at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Assistance to CDC:
In May, CDC's National Immunization Program/CDC in the Polio Eradication
Branch asked for recent high resolution images (1 meter) for several
cities in Somalia, most importantly Mogadishu, to be used in planning
and preparing for national immunization days throughout these
cities (Mogadishu, Baidoa, Hargeisa, Bosasso, Galkayo, and Garoway)
as part of the polio eradication efforts in Somalia. GDIN has
been working with RADARSAT, ESA, SPOT Image and Space Imaging
to see if anything was available in the commercial world, and
has also contacted government sources. Current products have not
been found so far. If you have relevant information, or think
you might, please contact Dr. Jalaa' A. Abdelwahab, CDC, at Joa4@cdc.gov.
We did get the following
index of potential imagery from RADARSAT. For details on the
underlying data, see Jay Timmerman at JTimmerman@rsi.ca.
- Small Communities
Working Group Changes Name, begins 2001 with a bang: Communities
Working Group (formerly the Small Communities WG) reports a very
successful series of meetings at GDIN2001 in Canberra, with nearly
40 taking part, including representatives from the South Pacific
- SOPAC, the Cook Islands, PNG and the Solomons - from the U.S.,
India, SE Asia, and other regions, and also from a number of NGOs.
A network of active people for future discussions and information
flow has been set-up, and email discussions will begin soon.
centre on the concepts of "needs and means" - the disaster information
needs of small communities, and the means of providing information
to such groups, or as the GDIN2001 Canberra statement called
it - "to more closely identify and serve user needs". A GDIN
Pilot Project: "Strengthening Community Resilience" will collect,
compile and analyze data on the information needs of communities,
The full report
of the Working Group is posted at: www.ema.gov.au/gdin/communities_working_group.htm
and the new chair is Bernie Joyce, at email@example.com
- OECD Meeting on Systemic
Risks to be Held May 28 in Paris, France.: The GDIN Executive
Director will attend a meeting of the Steering Group of The OECD
Futures Project on Emerging Systemic Risks. The Steering Group
currently consists of 32 members originating from various government
departments, the private sector and NGO's. Mr. Roeder is a member.
During the meeting, the Steering Group will review and discuss
the concept and scope of the Project, terms of reference, work
plan, and consultative process with the NGO community. See www.oecd.org/sge/au/risks.html.
For questions, please write to Pierre-Alain Schieb at Pierre.firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Emergency Telecommunications:
Mr. Zimmermann met with the Executive Director, Mr. Roeder, on
May 15th and plans to hold the 2002 WGET meeting as a pre-conference
event of GDIN2002, which was very good news. Message from Hans
Zimmermann, Chairman. I was glad to hear that there was an interesting
meeting, but I do not understand one issue: Why should reference
to "telecommunications" be changed into "communications" ? This
would definitely lead to confusion, as the latter term is used
in a far broader sense (except by the military, which calls telecoms
"coms"). Communications includes a lot of things, which at least
the WGET (but also the Tampere Convention) does not cover, such
as broadcasting and even "corporate communications". We have distributed
the report of the Canberra Working Group Meeting as an input document
for the 11th WGET Plenary meeting. It's on the WGET web pages
on ReliefWeb. If you want the WGET to consider any specific issue,
please let me know, so that I can add it to the agenda.