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News | Sept. 12, 2013

U.S. works with COPECO to test Web-based assistance software

By Staff Sgt. Jarrod R. Chavana Joint Task Force-Bravo Public Affairs Office

Members from U.S. Southern Command and Joint Task Force-Bravo partnered with the Permanent Contingency Commission of Honduras, COPECO (the Federal Emergency Management Agency equivalent), joint efforts here and in Tegucigalpa Sept 12-15, to demonstrate and assess a mapping tool, which will improve the governmental and non-governmental organizations' capability during complex humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations.

The Rapid Open Geospatial User-driven Enterprise or ROGUE tool is a Web-based application that allows information sharing of mapped data by geographically dispersed participants for the purpose of improved situational awareness and decision making.

"The requirement for this tool became apparent during disaster relief missions conducted by multiple governmental and non-governmental partners," said U.S. Army Lt. Col. John Ferrell, U.S. Southern Command's Joint Capability Technology Demonstration (JCTD) manager. "The 2011 earthquake in Haiti, for example, brought to light gaps in the collection and sharing of geospatial data with the host nation, other governmental, non-governmental agencies and organizations."

"ROGUE was built on open source, open standard software, which ensures utmost compatibility with other systems and facilitates data sharing among a wide array of potential users," he added.

The operational demonstration will allow COPECO to use ROGUE's information sharing and decision support capabilities to exercise its management and coordination of emergency response.

"This is an app-based program, which allows you to input information into items such as a phone or tablet and then share the data, which can contain pictures and comments as well as pinpoint locations," said U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Kore Schmidt, a Joint Operations Center controller. "The data can then be seen by both governmental agencies and non-governmental agencies, so the information can be assessed, appropriate decisions can be made and proper relief efforts can be conducted."

The operational demonstration taking place in Honduras is the first of two demonstrations planned as part of the ROGUE JCTD. The second operational demonstration is scheduled for July 2014.

Upon completion of the program, ROGUE will be integrated with the Pacific Disaster Center's DisasterAWARE platform, a web-based mapping tool that provides continuously updated hazard information worldwide and functions as a hub for accessing, updating and sharing information before, during and after a disaster.