Citizen Participation To date, citizen science (or citizen information gathering) is being used for such activities as open mapping projects, but much of this type of activity has not been integrated with modeling work. Harnessing the energies and interests of citizen scientists has strong potential, both as a source of additional data and as an avenue for public participation and the legitimation of the modeling activity. Leveraging existing technology (such as mobile applications, cloud services, mapping and location services, microcommunications platforms, social media, and so on) offers numerous opportunities to improve approaches to emergency and disaster management.50
Some organizations are experimenting with gathering situational awareness from citizens, and in particular citizen use of social media.51 At the same time, there are significant challenges with regard to data quality, coverage, and institutional acceptance, among other things. Technical approaches here may include reputation systems that let staff at institutions build up confidence in particular observers, and ways to correlate data from multiple observers and to detect outliers.
During disasters, more attention should be paid to the information and resources held by the public because members of the public collectively have a richer view of a disaster situation, may possess increasingly sophisticated technology to capture and communicate information, and are an important source of volunteers, supplies, and equipment. Again, the information provided by the public will not always be correct; further, making full use of it may require considerable changes to existing practices. It is likely that the development of new, automated, and mixed-initiative techniques to manage and process the potential flood of information will be needed. Another important factor is how to engage the entire population, given the existence of groups with cultural and language differences and other special needs.
Indicators of Future Outcomes Simulations already produce indicators of such outcomes as GHG emissions, consumption of open space, and comparative measures of compact versus low-density development, all for multiple years and under different scenarios. However, as discussed above, it is also necessary to anticipate disruptions and potentially even disasters, due to climate change, mass movement of refugees, and other
50National Research Council, Public Response to Alerts and Warnings on Mobile Devices: Summary of a Workshop on Current Knowledge and Research Gaps, Washington, D.C.: The National Academies Press (2011).
51Sarah Vieweg, Amanda Hughes, Kate Starbird, and Leysia Palen, Microblogging during two natural hazards events: What Twitter may contribute to situational awareness, Proceedings of the 2010 ACM Conference on Computer Human Interaction, pp. 1079-1088.