Precision Information Environments


Researchers at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory are developing future work environments for the emergency management community called Precision Information Environments (or PIEs). PIEs will provide tailored access to information and decision support capabilities in a system that supports the multiple user roles, contexts, and phases of emergency management, planning, and response.

They have recently posted a future vision concept video demonstrating the five components of their R&D agenda:

  • Tailoring information feeds based on relevance to users
  • Supporting human and organizational work processes
  • Adaptive user interfaces
  • Predictive methods for simulation and decision making
  • Hardware and software architectures

The site contains background information on the project, including a discussion of the guiding principles for PIEs, and an outline of the current gaps and opportunities for their research. They have also posted a detailed annotated version of the video that details the underlying technology concepts. It’s a thoughtful and thorough presentation — something that doesn’t accompany projects like this nearly enough.

The vision is pretty hip — high-tech and information rich — full of life-size immersive displays and multi-touch mobile devices. But it suffers a little from a vague feeling of government/military bloat, sterility and lack of imagination. And while it is only a vision piece — not a blueprint of what to build — I hope the researchers are also considering how such an approach could benefit people where the technology infrastructure may not be as robust, or is downright messy. For example, how might such a system have be used in Haiti after their recent earthquake?

(Link via Information Aesthetics.)

Interactive display wall
Arm-mounted mobile device
In-vehicle heads-up display