When an emergency occurs, citizens can be a helpful support for the operation centers involved in the response activities. As witnesses to a crisis, they initially can share updated and detailed information about what is going on. Moreover, thanks to the current technological evolution people are able to quickly and easily gather rich information and transmit it through different communication channels. Indeed, modern mobile devices embed several sensors such as GPS receivers, Wi-Fi, accelerometers or cameras that can transform users into well-equipped human sensors. For these reasons, emergency organizations and small and medium enterprises have demonstrated a growing interest in developing smart applications for reporting any exceptional circumstances. In this paper, we present a practical study about this kind of applications for identifying both limitations and common features.
emergency notification systems; human sensors; social software; mobile devices; communication; information