Sustainable Technologies Acceleration Research - Transportable Infrastructures for Development and Emergency Support
Information Sharing for Stabilization, Reconstruction, Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief
The TIDES project (formerly called Expedient Infrastructure for Transient Populations Ð EITP) will identify, test, refine, and document sets of rapidly deployable, cheap, and environmentally friendly infrastructures (basic shelter, water, power, hygiene, communications, etc.). These sustainable infrastructures should be deployable quickly to meet human needs where available services are inadequate, such as in refugee camps or for disaster victims. It is a voluntary effort, with non-government, government, and diverse other participants, and in no way is an endorsement of any particular solution by the government. TIDES also will develop assembly instructions and operational procedures for these infrastructures. The goal is to share information to help organizations and individuals apply solutions effectively in real-world conditions. Collaborative, cross-domain methods and new technologies, along with whole systems thinking and engineering are encouraged.
STAR-TIDES at National Defense University
A powerpoint presentation explaining much of the background of TIDES is available.
Photos from the demonstration are available at: http://metadata.solers.com. These pictures have been metadata tagged using the Defense Discovery Metadata Standard (DDMS). To see all pictures, enter TIDES. Try other search terms like "hexayurt," "cooking," Linda, etc.
The project seeks to educate and train those who could use TIDES-like solutions for economic development and emergency response activities such as humanitarian assistance, disaster relief, and refugee support. It also aims to inform interested members of the general public. TIDES is pursuing partnerships with educational institutions at the graduate, undergraduate and high school levels to encourage student involvement.
Activities of the Volunteer TIDES Teams
The TIDES project is building long-term, multi-sector, collaborative relationships among citizens, businesses, academia and government. The project welcomes broad participation, questions, and comments by interested parties. Several teams are forming, made up of individuals who want to make sustained contributions. The TIDES Teams will:
- Coordinate efforts to understand the needs of stressed populations in various situations
- Propose and communicate potential solution sets and approaches to meet these needs.
- Improve solutions sets and approaches through continuous process improvement techniques, demonstrations, field evaluations, experiments, and workshops.
- Develop educational tools (online and paper field manuals, training materials, draft policies and procedures) and a mentoring network, using open source development methods.
Updated information is available at http://www.appropedia.org/STAR-TIDES (the capitals are important)
Points of Contact
The initial points of contact for TIDES are:
- Lin Wells, wellsL3@ndu.edu, (202) 436-6354
- Lynn Crabb, American Red Cross
- Jim Craft, United States Marine Corps
- Vinay Gupta, Hexayurt Project, firstname.lastname@example.org, (775) 743-1851
- Tim Lo, email@example.com, (202) 685-3046
The first phase of the TIDES demonstration was held at the National Defense University (Oct 5-19):
- Low cost, portable, commercial generators were assembled on a bare field. The first satellite networks were up in less than two hours, operating "off the power grid," which is critical for stressed environments, both domestic and international. Within hours, phone calls could be made both globally and from shelter-to-shelter, and bridges were set up among diverse radio nets. Subject matter experts from domestic and international remote sites used video-teleconferencing to help solve emerging problems ("knowledge on demand for capacity building").
- Inexperienced work crews erected seven shelters of four different types--none took more than three hours, and the least expensive cost about $200. Solar panels and generators rapidly recharged AA batteries for low power personal cooling and lighting systems, and well as communications equipment. High efficiency stoves and several kinds of solar cookers were integrated to provide coordinated approaches to cooking and purifying water that minimize fuel use. "Census-takers" experimented with credentials that could be produced quickly in austere situations.
- Visitors included representatives from the American Red Cross, several federal departments, foreign militaries, combatant commanders and DoD agencies. Faculty from the Thomas Jefferson High School considered ways to incorporate TIDES activities into their curricula. General "Kip" Ward spent more than an hour discussing how TIDES might apply to AFRICOM. Over 300 visi-tors taught the TIDES team much and took away ideas for future collaboration. Less than $20,000 in US government investment generated more than $800,000 in private sector engagement.
Experiences thus far have reinforced three key lessons:
- Problems of stressed populations must be addressed through broad coalitions. Some situations will be domestic, some foreign. Some will have long term needs (the average stay in a refugee camp exceeds 7 years), some short term. The military may or may not be involved. No one agency, public or private, has responsibility for all, or expertise in all. The US government, in particular, must do better at sharing UNCLASSIFIED information with public and private partners outside the boundaries of "official" environments. "Whole government" approaches are key.
- Information and communications technologies (ICT) are not "techie" adjuncts to the major muscle movements of delivering food, water and shelter. They are the critical enablers of everything else that happens. Networks need to be formed early and be independent of the power grid.
- Cross-infrastructure and "whole systems" thinking is essential. For example, efficient cooking and water purification can help reduce deforestation rates and smoke-related diseases, while making women less vulnerable while gathering fuel, and freeing up their energies for other purposes.
The week suggested many additional research topics. Cross-disciplinary, cultural and infrastructure skills will be particularly valuable. There are important policy issues, such as information sharing and how to get needed services in place faster. TIDES also offers strategic communication opportunities.
Following the demonstration, the TIDES network supported firefighting efforts in Southern California and linked operational commanders with early information about several new capabilities.
Drawing on these demonstrations and team interactions, the project will develop:
- Guiding principles and strategies for infrastructures for refugee and other stressed populations (to be compared with existing guidance from established agencies),
- An integrated and continuously improving set of best practices for such communities,
- Targeted training resources in various formats,
- A sustainable, collaborating community of practice,
- Best practices for moving information about field performance rapidly back to design teams and forward again as improved solutions.
Having completed the first pat of Phase I, the next steps in TIDES are to:
- Solidify the core teams and encourage more volunteers for follow-on activities.
- Revise the TIDES project charter.
- Identify education and training opportunities and enlist partners.
- Develop draft multi-format documentation of potential solution sets and operating procedures (a wiki is available to support collaborative editing and lessons learned at: STAR-TIDES Field Manual
- Develop test plans for future work.
- Document the group's efforts to facilitate training, extend the user base, and help other groups learn to operate in open source-style collaborative networks with diverse participants from a mixed team of institutions, individuals, companies and projects.
- Develop the policies, procedures, and logistic support chains to apply TIDES-like solutions to real world needs. Materials to help other groups learn
STAR-TIDES Field Manual
Media:TIDES BOARDS FIRST DRAFT SMALL.pdf - Display boards and pictures from the STAR-TIDES demonstration. A very useful starting point for understanding the systems on display and how they fit together.
STAR-TIDES Notes Awaiting Wikification - post text here that needs to be tidied and integrated.