Consolidating methodologies for user-centred design
Managing risks and emergencies caused by natural and technological hazards is a complex task for local authorities, emergency services, and their partners in risk management. When making risk-related decisions, processing available data and information can be arduous. In that context, information and communication technologies (IT) can help. This has been demonstrated in several research projects funded under the FP6/IST framework and programmes. Several risk and emergency management tasks appear particularly demanding. These are: monitoring risk levels in a multi-hazard context; organising emergency response at municipality level; disseminating warning messages to the population; communicating risk-related information to the public. ERMA (Electronic Risk Management Architecture), an FP6/IST project, aims at developing a system and a set of tools that will help authorities conduct these tasks. Building ERMA relies on a user-centred methodology that capitalises upon participatory approaches developed in the field of Information Technology (IT) and Risk Management (RM). This paper describes the rationale of the ERMA project; the methodology followed; the functions and modules of the ERMA architecture.