Year

2012

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Department

Faculty of Informatics

Abstract

Disaster Management (DM) is a multidisciplinary endeavour and a very difficult knowledge domain to model. It is a diffused area of knowledge that is continuously evolving and informally represented. The domain has many complex features interconnecting the physical and the social views of the world and uncertain ones representing unpredictable events. Many international and national bodies create knowledge models to allow knowledge sharing and effective disaster management activities. These models are often narrow in focus and deal with specific disaster types. Analysis of these models uncover that many disaster management activities are actually common even when the events vary. This research creates a unified view of disaster management in the form of a metamodel that can be seen as a language for this domain. A metamodelling process is applied to ensure that the outcome metamodel is complete and consistent. The metamodel is validated and refined to serve as a representational layer to unify, facilitate and expedite access to DM expertise. This aims to facilitate knowledge sharing, combining and matching different DM activities as different situations arise. This is demonstrated by applying the metamodel as a semantic modeling standard of DM to describe data models independently from the language of the domain itself. A prototype of a Disaster Management Knowledge Repository (DMKR) is developed to demonstrate the applicability of this approach in real world scenarios of disaster management. The generation of new metadata (user model) is facilitated by instantiation and conformance mapping resulting from the semantic agreement between models and metamodel rules. This research synthesises and validates a methodical metamodelling process applicable to domains represented in a diffused and informal manner such as disaster management. By focussing on the validation and the metamodelling process on disaster management, it makes a significant contribution to this important domain unifying key concepts into a metamodel that can be used as knowledge sharing platform.

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