Scenario B: Ad Hoc Participation in Mobile Collaboration (TOCHI)
Emergencies are characterized by high complexity and unpredictability. In order to assess and manage them successfully, improvisation work and informal communication, even beyond local and organizational boundaries, is needed. Such informal practices can facilitate ad hoc participation of units in situation assessment, but this may lack overall situation awareness. This paper presents a study on how emergent ‘collaboration needs’ in current work of response teams, who are located on-site and in the control center, could be supported by mobile geo-collaboration systems. First, we present the results of an empirical study about informal work and mobile collaboration practices of emergency services. Then we describe the concept of a mobile geo-collaboration system that addresses the aspects detected in the empirical study and that was implemented as an Android application using web sockets, a technology enabling full-duplex ad hoc communication. Finally we outline the findings of its evaluation in practice and its implications.
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