During an emergency, communication and coordination become both more vital and more difficult. In addition to the chaos of the event itself, many of the communication mechanisms that we normally depend on are likely to be degraded or unavailable.
The breakdown of critical infrastructure during an emergency has the potential to create large numbers of isolated groups. This fragmentation requires a bottom-up approach to coordination rather than the top-down approach typical of most current emergency management planning. Instead of developing and disseminating a common operational picture through a central control point, operational awareness must instead emerge through the collaboration of the various groups that reside beyond the reach of working infrastructure. This is the “last klick” problem.
For a while now my friends and I have been discussing these issues and brainstorming solutions. What we’ve come up with is the MCR (Modular Communications Relay). A communications and coordination toolkit that keeps itself up to date and ready to bridge the gaps that exist in that last klick.
Using an open-source model and readily available components we’re pretty sure we can build a package that solves a lot of critical problems in an affordable, sustainable way. We’re currently seeking funding to push the project forward more quickly. In the mean time we’ll be prototyping bits and pieces in the lab, war-gaming use cases, and testing concepts.
Here is a white-paper on MCR and the “last klick” problem: TheLastKlick.pdf