An international think-tank established to develop information sharing for the emergency services community has appointed an Australian researcher to co-chair the group.
A researcher from NICTA, Australia's Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Research Centre of Excellence, will co-chair a new World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) group which will pave the way for the various organisations involved in managing disasters to share up-to-date information.
NICTA principal research Dr Renato Iannella, a former W3C Advisory Board Member, will co-chair the Emergency Interoperability Framework (EIIF) Incubator Group.
The EIIF aims to encourage the emergency management community to develop clearly defined definitions and a framework to enable collaborative information sharing and aggregation of information to assist in emergency functions.
The W3C EIIF Incubator Group will review and analyse the current state-of-the-art in vocabularies used in emergency management functions and investigate the path forward via an emergency management systems information interoperability framework.
It's activities will lay the groundwork for a more comprehensive approach to ontology management and semantic information interoperability leading to a proposal for future longer-term W3C Working Group activity.
The W3C group is sponsored by W3C members NICTA, Google, SICS and IBM.
The W3C is an international consortium which aims to lead the development of Web standards that will ensure the long-term growth and future directions of the Web.
Dr Iannella said the emergency management community encompasses a broad spectrum of local, national and international organisations with a role in emergency and disaster management.
"It is essential that information gathered by these organisations is stored and communicated in common formats to ensure that information can be easily exchanged and aggregated to support the decision-making process," Iannella said.
"A key component of this process is ensuring that consistent definitions [vocabulary] are used to support meaningful sharing of information."
Dr Iannella also co-chairs the W3C Policy Languages Interest Group (PLING) with Marco Casassa-Mont, a senior researcher from HP Laboratories, in the UK.
The EIIF Incubator Group will run until December 2008 and to learn more about the EIIF group go to