In development: Web-based tool for disaster response

The U.S. Navy and Marine Corps will soon have access to technology that will chart the course of their international humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations.

The Office of Naval Research and the Center of Excellence in Disaster Management and Humanitarian Assistance is developing The Resiliency Assessment and Coordination System, a Web-based tool that provides a “big picture view” of assets on the ground during a crisis.

TRACS takes data from U.N.’s ReliefWeb and from the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. It displays gathered information on a map-based diagram showing the location of various resources, such as food, shelter, health services and transportation, and colors them according to status: green for good, yellow for fair and red for “needs help.”

“By having information about the whole system—health, food, economics, transportation, etc.—the first responders will know how to prepare and what to bring,” Rebecca Goolsby said. Goolsby is a program officer at ONR’s warfighter performance and protection department.

Future versions of the tool will show what needs to be fixed and will include a suite of social media analysis tools — now in development — to allow first responders to bring only items needed for a particular event and location. Developers hope to transition the technology into wider use at the U.S. Pacific Command.

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About the author

  • Jenny Lei Ravelo

    Jenny Lei Ravelo is a Devex Senior Reporter based in Manila. She covers global health, with a particular focus on the World Health Organization, and other development and humanitarian aid trends in Asia Pacific. Prior to Devex, she wrote for ABS-CBN, one of the largest broadcasting networks in the Philippines, and was a copy editor for various international scientific journals. She received her journalism degree from the University of Santo Tomas.