Examples

C3Fire is a highly configurative system. The researchers configure the system to meet their research goal. The appearance and function of C3Fire differ between projects.


Bridging Cultural Barriers

GIS effects on
command and control


Alfa05

Network Warfare




GIS effects on command and control

This research aims at increasing understanding about the mechanisms behind learning and the usage of spatial decision support systems (in this case, geographical information systems, GIS) in emergency management.

The study will have two conditions: (a) teams using GIS, and (b) teams using paper-based maps.
The participants in the teams using GIS faces two learning tasks, the GIS and the handling of the forest fire simulated in C3Fire. The task of the participants in the teams using paper-based maps is to handle the forest fire, but their decision support is less sophisticated since they lack the GIS.
The difference between the two conditions is the type of support the commanders get in terms of geographical representation and data sources. The teams in both conditions face the same scenarios.



Each team consists of six participants;
three working as commander and staff (C, S1, S2), and three working as firebrigade chiefs (X, Y, Z).

The firebrigade chiefs control three fire-fighting-units each. The fire-fighting-units exist in the C3Fire simulation.


11 teams was tested in each condition, meaning a total of 22 teams consisting of 6 persons, summing up to 132 participants.

Every team performs five trials, lasting 20 min each. They are also given an introduction to the system. An earlier study by Svenmarck & Brehmer (1991), using a preceding forest-fire simulation called D3Fire , has shown that the learning curve stabilizes between the third and the fifth trial. Therefore we have chosen to limit the study to five trials, partly for practical reasons, but also because the above mentioned indication that learning stabilizes at that level. To engage the participants in the experiments for more than three-four hours may also lead to undesired fatigue, which could have unwanted effects on the outcome.
UI Examples















The GIS condition
In this condition both comander, C, and friebrigade chiefs, X, Y and Z, have precise and accurate real-time data available from the simulation via the GIS module.
The staff, (the commander, S1 and S2) are located in the same room and can communicate verbally. S1 and S2 can communicate with X, Y and Z via e-mail. X, Y and Z canít communicate with each other.

The GIS module recieve information from the C3Fire simulation about the exact position of the fire-fighting-units and all events that are in eyesight of the fire-fighting-units. This information is shared in real time with the commander and the firebrigade chief in charge of the particular fire-fighting-unit.
The commander have access to various forms of maps containing different type of information. The firebrigade chief have access to one map layer.


The commander and staff use three terminals.
The userinterface of the commanders terminal is equipped with GIS-functionality, providing access to four different digital map layers, red, green, blue and white.
The userinterface of the commander,
with two different maplayers exposed.

The userinterface of the other two terminals, for staff member S1 and S2, look the same and are designed for communication purposes between the staff and firebrigade chiefs.
The userinterface of staff member S1,
it look the same for S2.

The firebrigade chiefs have access to only one digital map layer, the green map layer. The firebrigade chiefs userinterface also contain a communication tool.
The userinterface of firebrigade chief X,
it look the same for Y and Z.



The paper map condition
In this condition the comander, C, have a paper map on the area of the simulation, but lack information from the GIS module. The friebrigade chiefs, X, Y and Z recieve data from the C3Fire simulation via the GIS module in the same manner as in the GIS condition.
The commander can access to the state of the simulation from the e-mails the staff, S1 and S2, gets from the firebrigade chiefs, X, Y, Z.

The GIS module recieve information from the simulation about the exact position of the fire-fighting-units and all events that are in eyesight of the fire-fighting-units. This information is shared in real time with the firebrigade chief in charge of the particular fire-fighting-unit.
The information about events in the simulation must be communicated to the commander through e-mail exchanged between staff members and firebrigade chiefs.
The commander have access to a paper map covering the whole C3Fire simulation area. The commander is free to make notes on the map.


The commander and staff use three terminals.
The userinterface of the commanders terminal is in this condition only an e-mail tool for communicating with staff members, wich prbably is without point as commander and staff are allowed to talk free during the sessions.
The commander have access to a paper-based map covering the whole C3Fire simulation area during the sessions
The paper-based map that the commander have access to during a session.
It cover the whole C3Fire simulation area.

The userinterface of the other two terminals, for staff member S1 and S2, look the same and are designed for communication purposes between the staff and firebrigade chiefs.
The userinterface of staff member S1,
it look the same for S2.

The firebrigade chiefs have access to only one digital map layer, the green map layer. The firebrigade chiefs userinterface also contain a communication tool.
The userinterface of firebrigade chief X,
it look the same for Y and Z.



Research outline
This study is primarily designed to investigate whether the use of GIS really improves performance in EM. We compare a scenario with GIS to a scenario with paper-maps.
Currently, many organisations working with emergency management (EM) invest in information and communication technologies, such as GIS, hoping to increase performance and control in their everyday work and in critical situations.
There are results from organisational research (Buckley, 1998) that suggest that there is a somewhat unusual learning curve related to GIS-tools. It indicates that GIS may in some stages hamper the performance in EM.

The development of powerful, easy to use and understandable computer based decision support and information management systems means to assist EM participants in achieving a higher level of sophistication in information assessment, integration and manipulation in emergency response (Iakovou and Douligeris, 2001; Fedra, 1998).
However, fields like computer supported cooperative work (Schmidt & Bannon, 1992), distributed cognition (Hutchins, 1995) and cognitive systems engineering (Hollangel and Woods, 2005) have all emphasized the importance of studying the actual use of new systems in practice, rather than to draw conclusions from hypothetical gains of new technology.

C3Fire can be used as a microworld, and can be seen as a tool that can bridge traditional laboratory research and field studies, since it allows the researcher to confront the participants with the dynamics, stress and complexities of real-world situations at the same time as the researcher is in control of the environment. Microworlds can be a way of investigating new ideas concerning information technology in a controlled manner (Johansson, Granlund and Waern, 2000 & 2005).

This research utilizes microworlds together with physical artefacts, in this case paper maps, and aim to improve our understanding about the mechanisms behind learning and the usage of GIS in EM.


Research aim
The aim of this research is traditional hypothesis testing. The hypotheses are set as:
- Different learning curves will be observed when the emergency organization uses GIS or paper based map;
- GIS teams roughly will follow the productivity curve;
- Type of orders sent from the staff (mission-type orders or direct control) will correlate with the performance of the teams;
- GIS teams to use more direct control tactics in the first trials than the teams using paper-based maps;


We will investigate if the introduction of GIS will affect the command style used by the commanders in the experiments, as well as possible connections between command styles and performance.
It has been indicated by earlier studies (Johansson et al., 2003), but it has never been explicitly stated in form of a hypothesis in an experiment earlier.