All Slándáil partners met at the second plenary meeting in the University of Padua on Friday, April 17th 2015. The plenary meeting was an opportunity for partners to meet face-to-face and discuss the current progress of the Slándáil project. This followed on from the previous plenary meeting in Belfast.
The timetable included individual partner presentations from all twelve partners, plus an introduction from Protezione Civile de Veneto, who joined the project as a collaborator in January 2015, having assisted voluntarily in End User research in 2014. Each partner outlined how they felt progress had gone on the project, what they are currently doing, and where they hoped to bring the project in future. The feedback was positive after a particularly busy six-month period that saw five documents delivered and two milestones reached.
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Work undertaken over the past few months on linguistic analysis was discussed in more detail, and STAM, the Slándáil Text Analytic Module, was explained to all partners in order to develop a better understanding of how academic text analyses will benefit the project. The use of more integrated text analysis that will target flood terms and words in social media text is the main benefit of this. The module will be used in the development of prototypes for testing over the next eighteen months.
The development of an ethical framework was also presented, and the benefit of this to the project will be a conscious effort to understand how different people hold different values during a natural disaster. The methods for declaring an emergency (i.e. ‘state of exception’) were covered in the ethical framework, and the possible advantages and disadvantages of this were discussed in detail in this document.
In March the initial guidelines for harvesting data were drawn up and delivered as part of the project. These guidelines focussed on legal and ethical issues regarding the collection of data, and were formed through an ongoing process of understanding and developing theory on data collection and confidentiality. Other issues discussed at the meeting included the management of the project, the upcoming project report, and risks.
Further to this, the plenary meeting was used as an opportunity for the three sub-committees of Slándáil to convene (Usability, Societal Impact and Technology sub-committees). The sub-committee meetings are seen as a ground for open discussion where partners outline where they want to push the project in order to achieve goals over the coming months.
Finally the day ended with a test demonstration of Prototype 0, the coupled emergency management system. This prototype demonstrated both technology partner systems (Topic Analyst by CID and SIGE by DataPiano) running alongside one another on two monitors. The emergency managers in the consortium were shown how the emergency management software works, and were invited to give feedback to the demonstration for future development.