An efficient information-sharing system can go a long way to speed up relief efforts at the time of emergencies. A recent industry-government initiative demonstrated how open cloud can facilitate collaboration and mission success during these times.
The initiative involved the simulation of the 2010 Haitian earthquake environment. The Network Centric Operations Industry Consortium (NCOIC) and National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) worked collaboratively to demonstrate how cloud computing can be leveraged for an international disaster-relief effort. The demonstration was carried out in McLean, Va., in front of a 150-strong audience consisting of government and business leaders.
As the simulation of the 2010 Haitian earthquake was staged, a federated cloud infrastructure was quickly activated to connect a diverse group of response organizations based in different parts of the world. In addition to their geographical distances from each other, all of these organizations were using different technologies and applications. Despite these differences, they were able to supply and retrieve critical geospatial information through cloud. This helped the emergency response teams meet a range of needs quickly and achieve mission success.
In the simulation, the NCOIC members portrayed government and civilian response units from several different countries. In the role of search-and-rescue teams, they played their part with perfection, assisting the injured and civil engineers inspecting damaged roads and bridges as they dealt with aftershocks and physical hazards.
“An interoperable cloud computing environment gives the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency the capability to effectively collaborate with international mission partners and share non-classified information, while maintaining U.S. security and protecting access to sensitive data. This technology can help us to deliver humanitarian assistance and save lives around the world,” director of NGA Information Technology Services David Bottom noted in a statement.
Six NCOIC members participated in the Geospatial Community Cloud (GCC) concept demonstration. The Aerospace Corporation, Boeing (News - Alert), NJVC, Raytheon Company, Telos Corporation and Winthrop Management Services provided technical services and applications for emergency responders in the field and for mission managers sitting thousands of miles away from the action.
The success of the demonstration paves the way for a new, open process, known as NRRC (NCOIC Rapid Response Capability), which will be made available to international, federal, state and local governments as well as non-governmental organizations and businesses that need to build a federated cloud environment.