The prevention and correct management of natural disaster event sequences play a key role in saving human lives. The availability of embedded and mobile smart computing systems opens new roads for the management of land and infrastructures by civil protection operators. To date, research has explored the use of social networks for the management of disasters connected to meteorological/hydrogeological events or earthquakes, but without emphasis on the importance of an integrated system. The main feature of the Whistland system proposed in this paper is to make synergistic use of augmented reality (AR), crowd-mapping (CM), social networks, the Internet of Things (IoT) and wireless sensor networks (WSN) by exploiting technologies and frameworks of Web 2.0 and GIS 2.0 to make informed decisions about the chain of events.

The Whistland system is composed of a geo-server, a mobile application with AR and an analytics dashboard. The geo-server acts as the hub of the sensor and social networks. The abstracted concept in this sense is the transformation of the user domain into “intelligent sensors” for the whole scope of crisis management. The social network integration is made through an efficient pointer-like mechanism that keeps the storage requirement low through a mobile application based on an augmented reality engine and provides qualitative information that sensors are unable to capture. Real-time analyses, geo-searches and the capability to examine event histories with an augmented reality engine all help the stakeholders to understand better the state of the resources under observation/monitoring. The system has been extensively tested in the programmed maintenance of river basins, where it is necessary to log maintenance activities in order to keep the riverbank clean: a significant use-case in many countries affected by hydro-geological instability. Read More