Special Issue on ICT Based Disaster Resilient Society
Haruo Hayashi and Mitsuhiro Higashida
This special issue on ICT Based Disaster Resilient Society features ten articles resulting from a collaborative research project on natural disaster management conducted by the Kyoto University Disaster Prevention Research Institute (DPRI) researchers and information and communication technology (ICT) experts from Nippon Telegram and Telegraph Co. Ltd (NTT). For the last two years, they have been studying on how to make society more disaster resilient through proper ICT use focusing on cloud computing, the 20th century’s greatest invention.
In part of a formal research partnership agreement signed in 2005, Kyoto University and NTT have been promoting new research in disaster management. The first two years showed with little concrete achievement beyond implementing one small research project – not exactly what the agreement envisioned.
In 2008, volunteers from Kyoto University and NTT meeting to determine the reason found a tactical mistake – starting by picking projects collaboratively assuming that DPRI and NTT’s disaster management research section shared the same vision and understanding of disaster management. Fundamental differences in research focus also raised problems in finding suitable collaborative research activities.
Briefly, at least three tiers existed for promoting ICT based disaster resilient society: 1) the ICT system infrastructure, 2) the operating system, and 3) individual applications in making society more disaster resilient. NTT was focusing on the first two tiers and DPRI on the last top tier. With this common understanding clarified, collaborative research was set in 2008 on ICT Based Disaster Resilient Society to formulate common ground between the two groups of researchers sharing a common operational picture. One result was a 2009 book from Nikkei BP Publications disseminating to the general public what disaster resilient society looks like, what can be done, and how to do it.
This special issue goes one step further by delivering these research efforts to a worldwide audience.
The first three articles, from the NTT group, describe the ICT basis for making society more disaster resilient, focusing on recent cloud computing advances as the projected venue for disaster management information systems. In article 1, Iwatsuki et al. introduce the autonomous, scattered, but coordinated network concept in a brief history of “Realization of Resilient Society with Information Technology Revolution.” Article 2 has Maeda et al. explained how the ICT system infrastructure, the next-generation network (NGN), provides better disaster management services in “Next Generation ICT Services Underlying the Resilient Society.” In article 3, Higashida et al. detail how organizational structures and information processing systems operate and are improved continuously through the NGN-based ICT infrastructure in “Risk Management and Intelligence Management During Emergency.”
Six articles, from the DPRI group, deal with how ICT based information systems help calculate different damage due to different natural hazards, help strategically in compiling disaster management planning, and help implement effective emergency response and recovery. Kamai proposes how local communities can use land-slide databases offered through cloud computing in “Neural Network-Based Risk Assessment of Artificial Fill Slope in Residential Urban Region.” Fukuoka introduces an attempt to set up worldwide landslide databases in “Application of ICT to Contribution to Resilient Society Against Landslides.” Kobayashi et al. analyze the relationship between flooding and economic loss using detailed numerical simulation in “Development of a Framework for the Flood Economic Risk Assessment Using Vector GIS Data.” Chen et al. estimate possible impact of the Tokai-Tonakai-Nankai earthquake predicted in the 2030s taking into account Japan’s dwindling population from a disaster planning perspective in “Adapting the Demographic Transition in Preparation for the Tokai-Tonankai-Nankai Earthquake.”
One objective of ICT based information infrastructures is to help society recover quickly from disaster impact through minimal damage and loss. Hatayama et al. introduce two risk-adaptive regional management information system (RARMIS) concept applications in “Implementation Technology for a Disaster Response Support System for Local Government.” Urakawa et al. introduce elaborated ICT based life recovery for disaster victims implemented in Kashiwazaki City, devastated by the 2007 Niigata Chuetsu-oki earthquake, in “Building Comprehensive Disaster Victim Support System.”
The last article, “Risk Management for Hospitals Using the Incident Report,” reports wider collaborative research covering risk areas outside of natural hazards and the formulation of a research group going beyond DPRI. Takeda et al. introduce an ICT based system to help risk managers at Kyoto University Hospital by automatically analyzing medical incident reports.
We editors would like to sincerely thank the Kyoto University and NTT collaborative researchers on ICT Based Disaster Resilient Society for their contribution and support. We would like to note with sincere appreciation that this publication is made possible in part by the support from “Special Project for Metropolitan Earthquake Disaster Mitigation in Tokyo Metropolitan Area (2007-2011)” by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology of Japan (MEXT). We also thank Wakai of Fuji Technology Press Ltd. for his dedicated compilation of this special issue.