Research directions

Here are some informal sketches of possible Sahana functionality that can help guide future research.

  • Connector architecture: Systems should always try to inter-operate with other systems to deliver a rich experince to the end user. Sahana should improve in its ways of talking to other systems. Its not only Sahana to Sahana to communication but even systems that are non web and developed using a different paradigm, programming language,ect. This area would include research in middle-ware, polling and pushing algorithms and is strongly connected to the next research item “data synchronization “
  • Data synchronization: Data for a Sahana system can come from many sources. It could be another Sahana system or even a spread sheet. In any case Sahana should be able to synchronize data properly. Challenges here would be to identify proper data merging, co-relation algorithms,use or generate a ontology suitable for disaster management and adhere to accepted data exchange standards (e.g. soap,EDXL). In terms of implementation we wish to see a data synchronization module and a data import and export module based on the existing modules.
  • Sahana messaging: It should be possible for Sahana to communicate with various devices including mobile phones,pagers, email clients.Ideally communication should be either way.
  • Test-bed: Researchers would love a website or an application which they can easily setup that can be used to test their ideas in disaster management. The challenge would be to setup a flexible testing environment that can cater various disasters ,algorithms,ect. How ever the API to hook the new algorithm or a simulation should be simple enough for a non IT savvy humanitarian domain researcher to grasp easily.
  • GIS research: This entails research on GIS protocols, algorithms and to enable location awareness for any entity in Sahana ,be it an organization , camp or a person.

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