Disaster Preparedness Training Online Gaming Demonstration

Researchers: Alejandro Borsani, Andrew Johnson, Jason Leigh, Michael Lewis, Muxuan Wang, Sangyoon Lee, Patricia Rushing (IGPA / UIUC PI), Tom Ruiz, Mike Woodley (UIUC / Dept of Computer Science, Music)

URL: http://www.iema.illinois.gov/EarthquakeGame

Funding: IL Law Enforcement Alarm System (ILEAS)

UIC, UIUC and Center for Technology and Public Policy Working on Earthquake Preparedness Simulation for Middle School Students

Computer science researchers at University of Illinois at Chicago’s (UIC) Electronic Visualization Laboratory (EVL) are working with colleagues at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign’s (UIUC) computer science department and Center for Technology and Public Policy (CTPP) on a one-year demonstration project to design an online interactive computer simulation for emergency preparedness training for middle school students.

This project, commissioned by the Illinois Terrorism Task Force (ITTF) and Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA), will design, develop, deploy, and host a single-user application that demonstrates an educational approach for children to learn effective disaster response strategies. The first simulation will focus on preparing for an earthquake such as the one along the New Madrid Fault in southern Illinois.

EVL has over a decade of experience in the design and implementation of virtual reality and educational environments for students. For the ITTF project, EVL staff and research assistants are storyboarding and designing a multi-scene simulation wherein an animated character, a twelve-year-old child, must navigate a series of obstacles in a house before, during, and immediately following an earthquake.

The goal is to teach preparedness for a natural disaster: how to identify and avoid potential hazards, and how to assemble and use tools in their survival kit in order to survive the event. The students then are encouraged to talk to their parents about what they’ve learned and assemble a survival kit to keep in the home.

The first year’s demonstration will be based on a robust and scalable architecture, and designed for a multi-user application that allows users to choose from a variety of disaster scenarios and access a variety of levels of complexity for each scenario. In successive years, the application can be further developed and enhanced as new scenarios are designed and developed. The current plan is that the demonstration system will be hosted at CTPP in the University of Illinois Research Park, located in Champaign, Illinois.

Email: aej@evl.uic.edu

Date: May 1, 2009 - April 30, 2010
Simulation Still - A. Borsani, EVL

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