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Fulcrum Community at NPS JIFX

March 14, 2018

Recently, Spatial Networks attended NPS JIFX 18-2 at Camp Roberts, CA and provided an experiment demonstrating Fulcrum Community “for Mobile Data Collection during Disaster Response Operations.”

a building used for field scenarios

This isn’t the first time that Spatial Networks has showcased Fulcrum at JIFX. Coleman, Tony, and Zac participated in experiments 5 years ago – working on disaster relief experiments with FEMA, testing Fulcrum for disaster recovery operations, and other ad-hoc experimentation. This is however the first time that Fulcrum Community has been featured at a JIFX event and we were excited to present our capabilities to the various stakeholders in attendance, specifically hoping to create an awareness for Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) projects.

About NPS FX

JIFX is a fantastic event which provides an inclusive opportunity for collaborators from varying backgrounds (government R&D organizations, academia, private industry, and non-government/non-profit organizations) to “experiment with emerging technology in harsh field environments, exploring the technologies potential to address challenges.”

You can read more about the Naval Postgraduate School (NPS) Field Experimentation (FX) Program, here: What is JIFX? In summary, it exists to:

  1. Provide an opportunity for NPS faculty and students to develop and test new technologies related to their research in an operational field environment, and
  2. Provide the operational community the opportunity to utilize and experiment with these technologies.

The venue, culture, and guidelines that the NPS team provides at JIFX are unique and unlike other field experimentation environments. Their fundamental tenets are:

  • Austere by Design
  • Collaboration is Expected
  • Bounded, Not Controlled
  • Inclusive by Default
  • Develop. Now.

Fulcrum Community

The primary capability that our experiment proposed to explore was: for local government emergency response/emergency service agencies to field test their damage assessment data collection processes prior to an actual event. These could be pre-planned response procedures, or ad hoc. If no mobile data collection tool existed in the participants’ plans, then Fulcrum Community was provided (BYOD, bring-your-own-device).

The experiment went well, but with some unplanned hiccups. Thankfully this is embraced at JIFX, as it serves as a place for you to learn about your technology and to experiment. The implications of a planned response in a real disaster are much more significant, but experiments and drills provide the opportunity for responders to become familiar with the tools and processes they’ll be expected to conduct.

Community experiment data from the CACTF training facility

During the event, ad hoc collaboration and experimentation is heavily emphasized. Fittingly, the Fulcrum platform shines in its ability to rapidly integrate, iterate, and deploy changes to data collection forms. On Day 1, we were able to deploy an app used for evaluating the 18-2 experiments and iterated on its design throughout the week. On Days 3 & 4, we were able to integrate our Data Shares feature to get our experiment data into Simtable, co-experimenters whose platform was serving as the Common Operational Picture (COP) for the JIFX integrated scenario.

a stakeholder using Fulcrum for evaluating experiments

Fulcrum Community was 1 of 2 humanitarian experiments attending this session. Many of the other experiments were focused on the theme UAS’s in support of wildland fire/emergency response operations. And there were other interesting topics being explored as well, such as: Paramotor UAS, Swarm Multi-Rotor Drones, rapid terrain generation, and RF UAS Detection to name a few.

If any of this sounds intriguing and you haven’t been to a JIFX event before, then you really should check it out. If you have any questions or will be going to a future JIFX session, then reach out and let us know! Feel free to ping me on Twitter – perhaps we can meet out at McMillan Airfield or in downtown Paso Robles, CA.

Want to see if Fulcrum is right for your emergency response organization? Try it FREE!