Requirements Engineering

, Volume 20, Issue 4, pp 345–362 | Cite as

GDIA: Eliciting information requirements in emergency first response

Original Article


Good information is vital for first responders in an emergency. However, although information systems can provide vast amounts of data, the information requirements of emergency first responders in complex, dynamic, ad hoc, and stressful environments cannot be systematically captured by existing requirement engineering approaches. This paper outlines the unique features of emergency response operations first and then drives an emergency-response-specific method to suit those features. The method is named as goal-directed information analysis (GDIA), which is based on but easier to use than an approach, goal-directed task analysis. We argue that goals are implicit and thus difficult to be captured from first responders because of the features of the emergency operations. GDIA starts from scenarios and has seven clearly defined and repeatable steps, including task analysis, which then leads to a simpler and more accurate analysis of the goal structure, before the rest of the hierarchy, including decisions and information requirements, is completed. A case study is presented using this GDIA approach to retrieve information requirements for four types of key fire fighters responding to a fire in a high-risk building environment. This work led to several real applications in the emergency service area, indicating the success of the approach.


Information requirements elicitation Emergency response Goal-directed information analysis Situational awareness 



The work was financially supported by the Technology Strategy Board (TSB) in the UK through the SafetyNET Project (TP/3/PIT/6/I/16993). Appreciation also goes to the Derbyshire, Leicestershire, and Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue Services and the UK Fire Protection Association for their support of this research and allowing the authors to conduct interviews, field studies, and training observations with them. The authors would like to thank the two anonymous reviewers for their insightful comments and constructive suggestions that improved the quality of this paper significantly.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag London 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Business and EconomicsLoughborough UniversityLoughboroughUK
  2. 2.Joint Centre for Disaster ResearchMassey UniversityWellingtonNew Zealand

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