DistressNet: A disaster response system providing constant availability cloud-like services Academic Article uri icon


  • Large scale disasters like the earthquake and tsunami in Japan (2011) cripple the local infrastructure. Proprietary systems and protocols used today for disaster response still lack data at the high spatial and temporal resolution needed to quickly save lives and to support disaster recovery efforts. Victims are rescued after days, if not weeks; digital coordination interfaces among responders are lacking, or are based on archaic methods (pencil, paper, paint on walls); the delay in receiving vast amounts of information from the field is bounded by the time used to physically transport tapes or hard drives. In this paper we present the design, implementation and evaluation of DistressNet, a system that provides services for emergency response applications. DistressNet integrates a variety of rapidly deployable, battery powered COTS devices into a secure framework. An optimal placement of networked components allows users to quickly and reliably store and retrieve data, in a "cloud"-like manner, from a local intermittently connected "fog". High volumes of field data are available for emergency response personnel to view on interfaces like smartphones and tablets. DistressNet is a large academic effort, proposing open systems, instead of proprietary solutions. It has been developed in collaboration with Texas Task Force 1 and its components have been evaluated for over one year in outdoor deployments that required over 1500 man hours. 2013 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

published proceedings


author list (cited authors)

  • Chenji, H., Zhang, W., Stoleru, R., & Arnett, C.

citation count

  • 31

complete list of authors

  • Chenji, Harsha||Zhang, Wei||Stoleru, Radu||Arnett, Clint

publication date

  • November 2013