ERiC Emergency Response and information Center

Situation awareness is essential to the decision making process in the emergency response and control setting. Incorrect, distorted or incomplete situation awareness can lead to erroneous decisions with catastrophic consequences. Situation maps used for planning and decision making are fundamental to correct and complete situation awareness, and the maps have to fulfill requirements of various emergency cases. Moreover, operators often need to coordinate rescue squads from different organizational units on varying levels of detail. Based on these requirements, a highly flexible and dynamic situation map that provides both overview and enough level of detail is needed. However, the analog or static situation maps, that are currently prevalent, do not support these requirements well. Therefore, a new interactive situation map needs to be established. With new design metaphors (space and furniture design) and interaction techniques (Natural User Interface), the work efficiency and situation awareness within emergency control centers would be improved. Moreover, the new digital situation maps are capable of seamlessly integrating the rising amount of existing digital data. Since operators in emergency control centers will be under extremely stressful circumstances due to large cases of crisis, the design has to be intuitive and user-friendly to provide a smooth transition from the current technology to the new emergency center.


The major goal of the project ERiC is the optimization of the crisis management and a higher level of work efficiency in emergency control centers. Moreover, the communication between operators in the emergency control center and rescue squads in the field should be enhanced. These goals should be provided with following methods:

  • Development of a multi-user situation map based on large interactive displays
  • Exploration and evaluation of novel user interfaces regarding parallel work and efficient interaction techniques on the situation map
  • Seamless integration of traditional analog media (e.g. Pen and Paper) and existing digital data
  • Integration into existing security solutions
  • Space and furniture design to enhance the communication and efficiency within the control center
  • Installation, test and evaluation of the overall system in an existing emergency control center

From the goals and methods following results can be derived:

  • Fully applicable and integrated research prototype
  • Results regarding the impact of interactive situation maps on work efficiency
  • Guidelines for the design of modern interactive emergency control centers
  • Enhancement on the Austrian security level and crime reduction