Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)
Information and communication technologies might empower emergency communities of volunteers by assisting community participation and improving their capacity to respond to unexpected events. However, designing technology for such purpose places unique visualization challenges that go beyond the current state of research on public participation tools and related technologies. Empowering these communities requires developing representations that enable collaborative reflection, promote mutual visibility of volunteers' efforts and sustain a shared view of the community. Similarly, it is necessary to envision visualizations that facilitate sense making of large, simultaneous and distributed pieces of heterogeneous information with different levels of credibility and priority. Accordingly, this paper identifies and characterizes these challenges to propose a multi-view and multi-abstraction-level visualization approach for emergency communities of volunteers. In particular, it combines time-oriented visualizations, space-filling visualization techniques, interaction mechanisms and coordinated maps to support community participation as well as collaborative and individual sense making. The application of these visualization techniques is discussed through the development of a set of design prototypes. (C) 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.