Artificial Intelligence / Machine Learning / Predictive Analytics / Cognitive Computing




Machine Learning is a type of artificial intelligence (AI) that provides computers with the ability to learn -- when exposed to new data -- without being explicitly programmed. Predictive analytics is a process of using statistical and data mining techniques, including machine learning, to analyze historic and current data sets, create rules and predictive models and predict future events. The combination of these technologies and methods can be used to predict events and how those events will unfold. Predictive Alerts, powered by predictive analytics, give emergency-management officials notifications of impending problem in advance of actual occurrences, increasing lead times for proactive decision making and actions. For example, analyzing weather data with predictive analytics delivers 1.5 days extra lead time over publicly available hurricane forecasts and helps predict how a weather event will unfold. AI techniques are also being used to predict the extent of damage from earthquakes.

Data Analytics is the computational process of discovering patterns in large data sets with the overall goal being to extract information from a data set and transform it into an understandable structure for further use. In emergency management, mining and analyzing large amounts of diverse data from different sources can help provide situational awareness information and real-time threat assessment by identifying obscure patterns and risk signals. It can also produce crisis maps and damage estimates that help allocate scarce resources and direct responders to people and areas most in need. Data sources may include: satellites, smartphones, UAVs, social media, news, incident activity reports, announcements, emergency services, situational reports, damage assessment forms, mobile phone images, video, satellite and aerial images, crowdsourcing, open source, proprietary and specialty data providers. For example, analyzing information about concurrent fires, crimes and car accidents from varying sources such as Facebook and Twitter could help make informed decisions about where to allocate limited resources and get the information to responders in the field. 

Big Data / Data Analytics / Data Mining






Citizen Outreach Apps

Apps like that provide citizens with preparedness checklists and alerts on severe weather, road closures, power outages, etc.

Citizen Reporting Apps

Apps that enable citizens to report information about road obstructions, power outages, etc. to public safety organizations

Cloud Computing





The term Cloud refers to the use of large networks of computer servers, hosted offsite, that you access through the internet. Using "the cloud" enables agencies to share, store, and access information/data in the same place even though they may access the information/data using different technologies and applications. WebEOC is an example. Cloud provides on-demand, real-time, scalable computing power while enabling emergency management agencies to spend less on their IT infrastructure. The cloud democratizes compute, storage and networking. For exmaple, "disasters can knock out or overload local infrastructure, making access to data and communication systems nearly impossible. The cloud works around this challenge because data is stored and kept accessible far from the disaster zone. The cloud can also be quickly scaled depending on traffic and volume, so local agencies’ online presence after a disaster is secure from outages."

Computer Aided Dispatch

A method of dispatching public safety and emergency services via computer that can enable mapping, enahnced monitoring and tracking of responding resources, location history, remote data/information access, and 2 way communications.

COP Dashboards



An online display that enables distributed public safety officials to achieve a common operational picture (COP) by viewing the same emergency management data and information. COP tools support live operations monitoring, executive briefing, incident management and information sharing, sometimes with user-defined operating pictures (UDOP) and Common Operating Pictures (COP) that aggregate and visualize disparate applications and information sources in visual context.


Using location data from information the general public ("the crowd") provides (often through social media) to map out disaster areas, gather needs, and contribute to overall situational awareness



Utilizing the skills/expertise of the public ("crowd") to outsource certain emergency response and recovery related activities such as assessment and reporting. For exmaple, crowdsourcing platforms can tap into online networks of thousands of imagery analysts which make it possible to analyze 100,000 square kilometers of imagery in a single day, a task that might take a single analyst weeks.

Data Visualization


Visualizations that help people understand the significance of data by placing it in a visual context. Patterns, trends and correlations that might go undetected in text-based data can be exposed and recognized easier with data visualization software

Emergency / Mass Notification Systems

Emergency Notifications Systems provide the ability to broadcast messages with real-time information and instructions to one or many groups of people in specific locations, alerting them to a pending or existing emergency

Geographic Information Systems (GIS)





A system where geographic information is stored in layers and integrated with geographic software programs so that spatial information can be created, stored, manipulated, analyzed, and visualized (mapped). Imagery such as satellite photos or maps can include context about the location - damage to an area, size and makeup of population, etc. GIS software can be used in conjunction with software that extracts geocoordinates, place names, and image geotags within unstructured text and places it into geospatial platforms. For example, with a system like RAVEN 911 in the greater Cincinnatti area, "in the event of a chemical spill, an emergency response team can log into RAVEN911 from a computer or mobile device and enter the location of the leak, the chemical type, and the leaking device. The system adds information from live weather feeds and maps layered with residential and infrastructural data to determine the path of the chemical plume and potential population impacts."

Incident Management Software / Mobile Field Reporting

Software used by local, state and federal emergency management personnel to gain a single view of all incident related information and communicate in real-time. Typically includes the ability for responders to access the information from the field on mobile devices and submit reports / assessments. Examples include Adashi, Knowledge Center, and WebEOC.

Information Requirements Management Software

Software that enables people, organizations, and communities to define, share, and manage information needs

Internet of Things

The Internet of Things (IoT) refers to objects, people, machines, and sensors being able to "talk" to one another and share data via the internet without requiring human-to-human or human-to-computer interaction. Examples include "puncture-detection sensors woven into fabric of a police officer's shirt, so that if an officer is shot, a 911 call would go out automatically" or "if a citizen calls to request his or her block be plowed, when the plow clears it, a signal from the GPS sensor will remotely communicate with the city’s computer system to “close the call” and alert the resident through email that the street is clear."

We are in a world of connected cars, people, cows, produce, homes, devices, cameras, and kids-- ultimately nearly every sensor with an IP address will be connected. The aggregate of the data the produce can be processe, revealing where where people live, work and play, what they do on their phones. This will change the way people do business and ultimately impact emergency management.


Mobility is a key enabler for improving situational awareness for emergency management officials, enabling them to be smarter about the decisions they make and the actions they take. Mobility enables officials to deliver real-time data to responders in the field so they can effectively plan for, respond to or recover from an emergency. It also makes past information needs and actions traceable, which facilitates improving information flow in the future. By 2020 we’ll have about 9B subscriptions to mobile data and 50B mobile devices (some say this will be more like 200B).

Modeling & Simulation



Modeling and simulation can refer to using computer models to simulate aspects of incidents such as the approach and devastation of a hurricane or the likely impacted areas in a forest fire. This enables public safety officials to better prepare for the incident and can provide citizens with valuable information such as the best evacuation routes or where a storm may hit in their neigborhood. It can also be used in training exercises to simulate incidents and situations that emergency management professionals may encounter.

NextGen or Smart 911 / NextGen Alerting / Reverse 911






The current 9-1-1 system was never intended to receive calls and data from these new and emerging wireless technologies and IP-based communications devices with capabilities such as text and video messaging. An overhaul of the nation’s 9-1-1 systems -- NG9-1-1 / NG112 and text-to-9-1-1 -- represent a major shift in how Public Safety Answering Points (PSAP) operate. NG9-1-1 will enable people to submit text, images, video, and data to 911 centers in an emergency and enables public safety officials to send alerts/notifications to individuals and groups in defined geographic areas when an emergency occurs. NextGen 911 call centers have modernized multimedia communication tools and can pull in text, picture and video messaging, so dispatchers and first responders get a more accurate picture of each situation they encounter. The use analytics of call volumes/times by 911 call centers enables them to make more precise decisions, for example about where to staff first responders and call center staffing. New platforms let dispatchers operate from multiple remote locations and streamlines the call-taking process.

NextGen SitReps

Customizable Situation Reports that are digitally updated in real-time with relevant information and data

Open Data

Open data is the idea that governments and the private sector should share their data with each other and the public for the public good. In the event of preparing for or responding to an earthquake, accessing open data from the private and public sectors could allow emergency managers to see age/condition of public and private infrastructure, where transportation systems, water lines, gas lines and energy systems are located, etc.

Personalized Intelligence Streams

Feeds that provide real-time, high-quality, and relevant information on topics that you specify, from sources including news and social media.

Process Mapping Software

Enables people and organizations to clarify the processes, tasks, and roles involved in responding to events

Public Emergency Management Website

Public facing websites that enable citizens to see disaster-related information, and sign up for emergency alerts

Semantic Data Integration / Information Discovery

Semantic Technology is an encoding process whereby meaning is stored separately from data and content; this separation provides a fluidity to searches and systems operations that is not found in standard IT. Often, data is stored in graph databases, which, as opposed to traditional relational databases, allow for the storage and retrieval of large volumes of unstructured data and observations as well as linkages associated with those observations. Graph databases make it easier to quickly perform analytics on the data and their links without the computationally difficult manipulations necessary in relational databases. Semantic technology can help turn data into actionable intelligence by integrating multiple sources of information, resolving ambiguities, and providing a common taxonomy and context in order to make the information relevant to the situation and people's needs. This capability is critical in supporting coordinated efforts across multiple organizations in response to incidents.The Semantic Web is an extension of the Web through standards by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). The standards promote common data formats and exchange protocols on the Web, most fundamentally the Resource Description Framework (RDF).

Situational Awareness Dashboards

An online display that incorporates various types of real-time information such as areas damaged, areas secured, resources deployed, maps, weather data, etc.

Smart Cities

A city that has integrated the information and communication technology systems of all of its departments, schools, transportation systems, hospitals, law enforecment, and community services

Social Media

Enables public safety organizations to directly communicate with citizens through applications such as Facebook and Twitter and receive information from the public that helps in response and recovery. In certain emergency situations, it is easier for people in need to send out a call for help via social media rather than a phone. See "crowdmapping" for other interesting ways social media can be used in emergency management. Social media network content can be aggregated from services such as Instagram, Tumblr, Flickr, LinkedIn, YouTube, etc. into one unified presentation.

Social Media Exercise Simulation Software

Social media simulation, training and evaluation software simulates feeds from services such as Twitter, Facebook and popular news organizations to train public safety officials how to manage social media communications and public information during an incident. Examples include SimDeck and Social Simulator.

UAVs / RPA / Drones

Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (aka Remote Piloted Aircraft and Drones) provide an “eye in the sky” to monitor disasters, assess damage, and deliver resources/supplies. In scenarios such as mudslides, floods and earthquakes UAV cameras with infrared capability can enable survivors to be quickly found and saved.

Virtual Reality

Virtual Reality (VR) is a computer technology that replicates an environment, real or imagined, and simulates a user's physical presence and environment to allow for user interaction. VR's artificially create sensory experience, which can include sight, touch, hearing, and smell. The immersive and participatory nature of VR training offers a unique realistic quality that is not generally present in classroom-based or web-based training.