Local Tech Wire

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – NOAA’s National Weather Service (NWS) Office of Science and Technology will provide $400,000 to the (RENCI) to develop and evaluate technologies that will help the emergency management community prepare for and respond to weather events such as hurricanes, tornadoes, blizzards and floods.

The collaboration, called Weather for Emergency Management (WxEM), will examine how weather information is assimilated and used within the complex network of communications and decision making that occurs during emergencies.

A key goal of the project is to help the emergency management community more effectively use weather information in their planning and in real-time decision-making.

The project will take advantage of emerging technologies to improve information flow, such as GIS-enabled hand-held devices and smart phones, and Web-based social media, as well as RENCI’s expertise in information visualization, geo-referenced visualization, software development and device engineering.

The project launched in mid-July with a kickoff meeting at RENCI headquarters in Chapel Hill involving partners from NOAA, RENCI, and East Carolina University (ECU). ECU and RENCI researchers will study the culture of the emergency management community, how weather information flows and decisions are made, and which technical innovations are likely to improve communications and the overall effectiveness of emergency response.

This work will help researchers understand what kinds of technologies are likely to be effective emergency response decision support tools and give them ideas for improving existing tools.

The current NWS funding covers the fiscal year that started July 1. The NWS has an option to expand the project next year if this year is successful and if funding is available.

Get the latest news alerts: at Twitter.