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Improving Disaster Management: The Role of IT in Mitigation, Preparedness, Response, and Recovery
deviations from those trends should they occur. The technology trends assumed are as follows:
Continued improvements in the cost and capabilities of all aspects of computing and data processing, including computer processing power (“popular” form of Moore’s law), storage capacity, energy efficiency, and network bandwidth;
Continuing increases in the capability in the existing commercial cellular network: more capacity for voice and data, as well as new classes of handsets with long-battery-lifetime data capability, and increasing functionality;
Continued progress toward transforming communication systems from vulnerable and unreliable direct links to more robust, distributed, and self-repairing grids using new approaches in mesh networking and adaptive radios;
Continued progress toward universal compatibility of all communication and computing technologies by basing them on the underlying Internet technology (i.e., “IP everywhere”);
Continued growth of open source software methodology to allow rapid creation of new, high-reliability applications built on the experience base of existing ones;
Increasing use of high-volume commercial technology components in specialized systems in order to spread component development costs over a much larger base, to build systems more rapidly by exploiting existing components, and to increase reliability through increased field experience;
Rapid spread in the availability of low-cost, ubiquitous public wireless data networking, especially at the municipal level;
Continued improvements in linking geographic information to existing and future data applications (e.g., Google maps), and all types of databases such as geographic, medical, building plan, toxicology, weather, and image databases; and
Continued rapid progress in biochemistry, electronics, micro-mechanics, and nanotechnology that can be expected to lead to cheaper, smaller, and better-performing sensors, actuators, and other devices.
Under each key IT-enabled capability, technologies are listed roughly in order of their current position in the technology pipeline. This is necessarily only an approximation, as many technologies consist of multiple iterations and incarnations that vary in their degree of readiness (and value) for application in the field. For each item listed, a brief description is provided, indicating both general and specific directions for potential advances and some example applications for disaster management.