S. Nittel, C. Dorr, and J.C. Whittier, 2012, LocalAlert: Simulating decentralized ad-hoc collaboration in emergency situations, in: N.Xioa, M.P. Kwan, M. Goodchild, and S. Shekhar (eds.), Geographic Information Science — Seventh International Conference, GIScience 2012, Columbus, OH, Lecture Notes in Computer Science, Vol. 7478, Springer, pp. 146-159.
Today, advances in short-range ad-hoc communication and mobile phone technologies allow people to engage in ad-hoc collaborations based solely on their spatial proximity. These technologies can also be useful to enable a form of timely, self-organizing emergency response. Information about emergency events such as a fire, an accident or a toxic spill is most relevant to the people located nearby, and these people are likely also the first ones to encounter such emergencies. In this paper we explore the concept of decentralized ad-hoc collaboration across a range of emergency scenarios, its feasibility, and potentially effective communication protocols. We introduce the LocalAlert framework, an open source agent simulation framework that we have developed to build and test various form s of decentralized ad-hoc collaboration in different emergency situations. Initial experiments identify a number of parameters that affect the likelihood of a successful response under such scenarios.