Communication networks play a fundamental role in the response to a massive catastrophe, like an earthquake or a large-scale terrorist attack to a major urban area. In such situations, command centres must be able to rely on a fully operational communication network, for example to learn about on-going situations and allocate and guide the rescue teams. Communication is bidirectional: once in the field, these teams will feed the command centre with a more accurate view of the situation, contributing to the efficient allocation of the resources. Failures in this network, even if localised to some of the regions affected by the catastrophe, can have costs both monetary and in human lives. In this position paper, we propose the creation of a redundant, best-effort, emergency communication network that could serve to mitigate localised failures using off-the-shelf widespread technology. We give an overview of an architecture for a backup network, highlight the possible advantage of such an architecture to disaster management and discuss challenges that need to be overcome in realizing it.
ACM Copyright Notice: © ACM, 2009. This is the author's version of the work. It is posted here by permission of ACM for your personal use. Not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Proc. of the 2009 Int. Conf. on Wireless Communications and Mobile Computing: Connecting the World Wirelessly (Leipzig, Germany, June 21 - 24, 2009). IWCMC '09. ACM, New York, NY, p.613-617.complete documentdoi: http://doi.org/10.1145/1582379.1582512 (publisher's link)