Technologies Enabling Situational Awareness During Disaster Response: A Systematic Review.
Kedia T., Ratcliff J., O'Connor M., Oluic S., Rose M., Freeman J., Rainwater-Lovett K.
Situational awareness (SA) is critical to mobilizing a rapid, efficient, and effective response to disasters. Limited by time and resources, response agencies must make decisions about rapidly evolving situations, which requires the collection, analysis, and sharing of actionable information across a complex landscape. Emerging technologies, if appropriately applied, can enhance SA and enable responders to make quicker, more accurate decisions. The aim of this systematic review is to identify technologies that can improve SA and assist decision-making across the United States Government and the domestic and international agencies they support during disaster response operations. A total of 1459 articles and 36 after-action reports were identified during literature searches. Following the removal of duplicates and application of inclusion/exclusion criteria, 302 articles and after-action reports were included in the review. Our findings suggest SA is constrained primarily due to unreliable and significantly delayed communications, time-intensive data analysis and visualization, and a lack of interoperable sensor networks and other capabilities providing data to shared platforms. Many of these challenges could be addressed by existing technologies. Bridging the divide between research and development efforts and the operational needs of response agencies should be prioritized.