Kicking Off RELIEF Experiments at Camp Roberts

07 May 2013 by Coleman McCormick

This week Tony and I are out in California at Camp Roberts, working with a group of folks from all over the country, experimenting with tools and methodologies for disaster recovery scenarios.

The RELIEF event series is intended to provide an environment for civilian agencies, academic researchers, technologists, and military personnel to get together and collaborate, working in concert to improve the processes and tech used when first responders arrive on the scene post-disaster to triage and assist affected communities. During the trip, the objective is to experiment with new technologies for FEMA’s “survivor-centric” approach to crisis management and response.

Camp Roberts

We were invited to participate in the exercises, specifically to field trial the Fulcrum platform as a suite of tools for field data collection capabilities for first responders in assessing the on-the-ground environment, with assistance staff and FEMA Corps volunteers using electronic survey applications to replace older style paper survey methods.

Fulcrum will be a great all-around tool for this sort of field survey work, particularly given its capabilities as a fully disconnected, offline platform, and thanks to its foundation on consumer-grade devices. This means that in the low- or no-connectivity environment post-disaster, volunteers can still get the job done, with resilient ability to get to the network for data upload whenever it’s available, rather than being permanently tethered to maintain the data uplink back to the central office. Because Fulcrum runs on iOS and Android consumer hardware, there’s no expensive device acquisition process, and coordinators can support truly “bring your own device” models for volunteer participation.

We’re excited to be part of this effort to improve response agency processes, but also to have the opportunity to put Fulcrum into the “proving ground” for true field testing scenarios. Stay tuned for more later in the week.

Coleman McCormick

About the author

Coleman is a geographer and VP at Spatial Networks, working with users to bring Fulcrum’s field data capability into their organizations.