The Interactive, Intelligent, Spatial Information System (IISIS) is a prototype decision support system designed in collaboration with practicing emergency managers.  The goal of IISIS is to improve interactive communication, coordination, and collective action among organizations in communities exposed to shared risk. These risks include natural disasters, such as hurricanes, floods, earthquakes, wildland fires; technological disasters such as bridge collapses, transportation accidents, and deliberate disaster, such as cyber attacks, terrorism, or malicious disruption of lifeline systems. It offers an interdisciplinary, interorganizational, and international approach to disaster risk reduction.

The research builds on insights gained from direct observation of disaster preparedness, response operations, and recovery in communities exposed to risk. It focuses on enhancing the capacity of a community to respond to shared risk by integrating innovative information technologies into organizational operations. It views the community’s capacity for response as a dynamic inter-organizational system that is characterized by four primary decision arenas: 1) detection of risk; 2) recognition and interpretation of risk for the immediate context; 3) communication of risk to multiple organizations in a wider region; and 4) self organization and mobilization of a collective, community response system to reduce risk and respond to danger. These arenas of action move from individual to organizational to system levels of aggregation. Communication of information among these arenas is essential to create a “common knowledge base” to support collective action to reduce risk. By enhancing the capacity of individuals, organizations, and systems to seek and exchange information, the JIISIS prototype fosters a continuous process of learning to support disaster risk reduction and management.

Center for Disaster Management
3807 Wesley W. Posvar Hall, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15260