Inside INdiana Business

IU, Disaster Tech create emergency dashboard

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) – In a partnership with Washington, D.C.-based Disaster Technologies Inc., Indiana University has created a free data-science tool it says can help emergency managers keep communities safe. The DICE dashboard, which stands for Data-science Integrated Collaboration Environment, provides at-a-glance information and resources to emergency managers during a crisis situation.

IU says faculty, students and staff from its Crisis Technologies Innovation Lab are helping build the public dashboard that will provide immediate and easily-accessible data to help quicken responses and save lives.

“Every time an emergency manager needs to look at a different dataset, that costs them time, and time is not a luxury that anybody has in a situation like this,” said William Liao, project coordinator in the CTIL. “We’re trying to put all of these disparate data sources into one view.”

IU says DICE aggregates huge amounts of information on crucial aspects of a community’s infrastructure, including fire, police, and health and medical.

“Many emergency managers are working with decades-old tools and they often don’t have the means to answer basic questions quickly,” says David Wild, associate professor of informatics at IU and a founding member of CTIL. “The lab and its partners were already working on a public dashboard for emergency managers, but COVID-19 sped everything up.”

Wild says the the lab conducted a survey of emergency managers and utilized a user experience expert to work with survey participants to understand what information, insights and data were most necessary.

IU says Disaster Tech utilized Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) for engineering and a Virginia-based disaster response company, Kinetica DB Inc., for software and data engineers. Computer game company NVIDIA Corp. was also used for its graphical processing units to conduct high performance computing operations.

“With these partners on board, we had all the right resources together to build a really scalable, fast, useful dashboard organized around community lifelines,” Wild said.

IU says the dashboard also allows emergency managers to upload public data.

The university says CTIL’s COVID-19 work is largely done by volunteers, and the lab is pursuing potential grant funding and other resources to continue its work on the pandemic.