Springer Nature is making SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 research free. View research | View latest news | Sign up for updates

Creating a family of collaborative applications for emergency management in the firefighting sub-domain

  • 321 Accesses

  • 4 Citations


Software Product Lines allow creating a set of applications that share a set of common features. This makes software product lines appropriate for implementing a family of software products when each stakeholder has different needs and requirements evolve constantly. In the case of emergency management, firefighters have begun using their own smartphones to collaborate and access information during emergencies. However, each firefighter role requires different information and the firefighters’ requirements are constantly evolving. We propose a well-defined process to help stakeholders in this domain specify the products they require, showing that it is possible to apply this software engineering process to extract collaborative requirements common to a set of applications. To confirm whether it was useful for real software implementation, we defined and implemented two applications for this domain. This paper presents the process used to systematically define the domain model and determine the domain scope, which may be used for other domains. We found the process to be appropriate for identifying features related to the domain and its collaborative aspects. The results are promising; the process allowed us to create two working applications which were positively received by two types of stakeholders.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3
Fig. 4
Fig. 5
Fig. 6
Fig. 7
Fig. 8
Fig. 9
Fig. 10


  1. Ahmad, F., & Aziz, U. (2004). A survey of domain analysis techniques and domain reuse in Pakistan. In Proceedings of the 8th international multitopic conference (INMIC 2004) (pp. 434–439). IEEE.

  2. Alves, V., Niu, N., Alves, C., & Valença, G. (2010). Requirements engineering for software product lines: A systematic literature review. Information and Software Technology, 52(8), 806–820.

  3. Araujo, F.C.S., & Borges, M.R.S. (2012). Support for systems development in mobile devices used in emergency management. In Proceedings of the 16th international conference on computer supported cooperative work in design (CSCWD 2012) (pp. 200–206). IEEE.

  4. Asadi, M., Bagheri, E., Mohabbati, B., & Gasevic, D. (2012). Requirements engineering in feature oriented software product lines: An initial analytical study. In Proceedings of the 16th international software product line conference (SPLC 2012), (Vol. 2 pp. 36–44). ACM.

  5. Bharosa, N., Lee, J., & Janssen, M. (2010). Challenges and obstacles in sharing and coordinating information during multi-agency disaster response: Propositions from field exercises. Information Systems Frontiers, 12(1), 49–65.

  6. Camp, P.J., Hudson, J.M., Keldorph, R.B., Lewis, S., & Mynatt, E.D. (2000). Supporting communication and collaboration practices in safety-critical situations. In Extended abstracts on human factors in computing systems (CHI ’00) (pp. 249–250). ACM.

  7. Classen, A., Boucher, Q., & Heymans, P. (2011). A text-based approach to feature modelling: Syntax and semantics of TVL. Science of Computer Programming, 76(12), 1130–1143.

  8. Czarnecki, K., & Eisenecker, U.W. (2000). Generative Programming, Methods, Tools, and Applications. Addison Wesley.

  9. DeBaud, J.M., & Schmid, K. (1999). A systematic approach to derive the scope of software product lines. In Proceedings of the 21st International Conference on Software Engineering (ICSE ’99) (pp. 34–43). IEEE Computer Society Press.

  10. Denef, S., Ramirez, L., Dyrks, T., & Stevens, G. (2008). Handy navigation in ever-changing spaces: An ethnographic study of firefighting practices. In Proceedings of the 7th ACM conference on designing interactive systems (pp. 184–192). ACM.

  11. de Almeida, E.S., Mascena, J C.C.P., Cavalcanti, A.P.C., Alvaro, A., Garcia, V C, de Lemos Meira, S.R., & Lucrédio, D. (2006). The domain analysis concept revisited: A practical approach. In Proceedings of the 9th international conference on software reuse (ICSR 2006), Lecture Notes in Computer Science, (Vol. 4039 pp. 43–57). Springer.

  12. de Moraes, M.B.S., de Almeida, E.S., & de Lemos Meira, S.R. (2009). A systematic review on software product lines scoping. In Proceedings of the 6th Experimental Software Engineering Latin American Workshop (ESELAW 2009) (pp. 63–72).

  13. Dourish, P. (1998). Using Metalevel Techniques in a Flexible Toolkit for CSCW Applications. ACM Transactions on Computer-Human Interaction, 5(2), 109–155.

  14. Douta, G., Talib, H., Nierstrasz, O., & Langlotz, F. (2009). CompAS: A new approach to commonality and variability analysis with applications in computer assisted orthopaedic surgery. Information and Software Technology, 51(2), 448–459.

  15. Duque, R., Rodríguez, M.L., Hurtado, M.V., Bravo, C., & Rodríguez-Domínguez, C. (2012). Integration of collaboration and interaction analysis mechanisms in a concern-based architecture for groupware systems. Science of Computer Programming, 77(1), 29–45.

  16. Engelbrecht, A., Borges, M.R.S., & Vivacqua, A.S. (2011). Digital tabletops for situational awareness in emergency situations. In Proceedings of the 15th international conference on computer supported cooperative work in design (CSCWD 2011) (pp. 669–676). IEEE.

  17. Felice, L., Leonardi, M.C., Mauco, M.V., Montejano, G., Riesco, D., & Debnath, N.C. (2010). Integrating formal methods with domain analysis. Journal of Computational Methods in Sciences and Engineering, 10(Supplement 2), 149–161.

  18. Fernandes, P., Werner, C., & Teixeira, E. (2011). An Approach for Feature Modeling of Context-Aware Software Product Line. Journal of Universal Computer Science, 17(5), 807–829.

  19. Genest, A.M., Gutwin, C., Tang, A., Kalyn, M., & Ivkovic, Z. (2013). Kinectarms: A toolkit for capturing and displaying arm embodiments in distributed tabletop groupware. In Proceedings of the 2013 conference on computer supported cooperative work (CSCW 2013) (pp. 157–166). ACM.

  20. Herskovic, V., Ochoa, S.F., Pino, J.A., & Neyem, A. (2011). The iceberg effect: Behind the user interface of mobile collaborative systems. Journal of Universal Computer Science, 17(2), 183–202.

  21. Hong, J., Suh, E., & Kim, S. (2009). Context-aware systems: A literature review and classification. Expert Systems with Applications, 4, 8509–8522.

  22. Jackson, S.J., Steinhardt, S.B., & Buyuktur, A.G. (2013). Why CSCW needs science policy (and vice versa). In Proceedings of the 2013 conference on computer supported cooperative work (CSCW 2013) (pp. 1113–1124). ACM.

  23. John, I., & Eisenbarth, M. (2009). A decade of scoping - a survey. In Proceedings of the 13th international software product line conference (SPLC 2009), ACM, ACM International Conference Proceeding Series, (Vol. 446 pp. 31–40).

  24. Khurum, M., & Gorschek, T. (2009). A systematic review of domain analysis solutions for product lines. Journal of Systems and Software, 82(12), 1982–2003.

  25. Kim, J., Kim, M., & Park, S. (2006). Goal and scenario based domain requirements analysis environment. Journal of Systems and Software, 79(7), 926–938.

  26. Landgren, J., & Nulden, U. (2007). A study of emergency response work: Patterns of mobile phone interaction. In Proceedings of the SIGCHI conference on human factors in computing systems (CHI 2007) (pp. 1323–1332). ACM.

  27. Lukosch, S., & Schümmer, T. (2006). Groupware development support with technology patterns. International Journal of Human-Computer Studies, 64(7), 599–610.

  28. Machado, M.F.T., Nascimento, B.S., Vivacqua, A.S., & Borges, M.R.S. (2014). JEMF: A framework for the development of mobile systems for emergency management. In Proceedings of the 20th International Conference on Collaboration and Technology (CRIWG 2014), Lecture Notes in Computer Science, (Vol. 8658 pp. 239–254). Springer.

  29. Monares, A., Ochoa, S.F., Pino, J.A., Herskovic, V., Rodríguez-Covili, J., & Neyem, H.A. (2011). Mobile computing in urban emergency situations: Improving the support to firefighters in the field. Expert Systems with Applications, 38(2), 1255–1267.

  30. Monares, A., Ochoa, S.F., Pino, J.A., & Herskovic, V. (2012). Improving the initial response process in urban emergencies. In Proceedings of the 16th international conference on computer supported cooperative work in design (CSCWD 2012) (pp. 379–386). IEEE.

  31. Neyem, A., Ochoa, S.F., Pino, J.A., & Franco, R.D. (2012). A reusable structural design for mobile collaborative applications. Journal of Systems and Software, 85(3), 511–524.

  32. Nöbauer, M., Seyff, N., Groher, I., & Dhungana, D. (2012). A lightweight approach for product line scoping. In Proceedings of the 38th euromicro conference on software engineering and advanced applications (SEAA 2012) (pp. 105–108). IEEE Computer Society.

  33. Noor, M.A., Grünbacher, P., & Briggs, R.O. (2007). A collaborative approach for product line scoping: A case study in collaboration engineering. In Proceedings of the 25th conference on IASTED international multi-conference (SE’07) (pp. 216–223). ACTA Press.

  34. Northrop, L., & Clements, P. (2007). A framework for software product line practice. Version 5.0, http://www.sei.cmu.edu/productlines/framework.html.

  35. Park, S., Kim, M., & Sugumaran, V. (2004). A scenario, goal and feature-oriented domain analysis approach for developing software product lines. Industrial Management & Data Systems, 104(4), 296–308.

  36. Pinelle, D., & Gutwin, C. (2003). Designing for loose coupling in mobile groups. In Proceedings of the 2003 international ACM SIGGROUP conference on supporting group work (GROUP 2003) (pp. 75–84). ACM.

  37. Pohl, K., Böckle, G., & van der Linden, F. (2005). Software product line engineering. Foundations, Principles, and Techniques. Springer.

  38. Prieto-Díaz, R. (1990). Domain analysis: An introduction. SIGSOFT Software Engineering Notes, 15(2), 47–54.

  39. Roseman, M., & Greenberg, S. (1992). GROUPKIT: A groupware toolkit for building real-time conferencing applications. In Proceedings of the 1992 conference on computer supported cooperative work (CSCW’92) (pp. 43–50). ACM.

  40. Rossel, P.O. (2013). Software product line model for the meshing tool domain. PhD thesis Computer Science Department, Universidad de Chile, Chile.

  41. Rossel, P.O., & Herskovic, V. (2013). Building a domain model for mobile collaborative systems: Towards a software product line. In Proceedings of the 19th international conference on collaboration and technology (CRIWG 2013), Lecture Notes in Computer Science, (Vol. 8224 pp. 290–305). Springer.

  42. Rossel, P.O., Bastarrica, M.C., & Hitschfeld-Kahler, N. (2009). A systematic process for defining meshing tool software product line domain model. In Proceedings of the 12th workshop on requirements engineering (WER’09) (pp. 103–114).

  43. Rossel, P.O., Bastarrica, M.C., Hitschfeld-Kahler, N., Díaz, V., & Medina, M (2014). Domain modeling as a basis for building a meshing tool software product line. Advances in Engineering Software, 70, 77–89.

  44. Sacramento, V., Endler, M., Rubinsztejn, H.K., dos S Lima, L., Gonçalves, K.M., & Bueno, G.A. (2004). An architecture supporting the development of collaborative applications for mobile users. In Proceedings of the 13th IEEE international workshops on enabling technologies: Infrastructure for collaborative enterprises (WETICE 2004) (pp. 109–114). IEEE Computer Society.

  45. Schafer, W.A., Ganoe, C.H., & Carroll, J.M. (2007). Supporting community emergency management planning through a geocollaboration software architecture. Computer Supported Cooperative Work, 16(4–5), 501–537.

  46. Schmid, K. (2002). A comprehensive product line scoping approach and its validation. In Proceedings of the 24th international conference on software engineering (ICSE ’02) (pp. 593–603). ACM.

  47. Siu, T. (2012). Interfaces Humano-Computador en Dispositivos Móviles para Situaciones de Emergencia. Computer Science Engineering Thesis. Departamento de Ciencia de la Computación, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, in Spanish.

  48. Siu, T., & Herskovic, V. (2014). Mobile augmented reality and context-awareness for firefighters. IEEE Latin America Transactions, 12(1), 42–47.

  49. Spivey, J.M. (1992). The Z notation: A reference manual, 2nd edn. Prentice-Hall.

  50. Taylor, R.N., Dashofy, E.M., & Medvidovic, N. (2009). Software Architecture. Foundations, Theory, and Practice. Wiley.

  51. Toups, Z.O., & Kerne, A. (2007). Implicit coordination in firefighting practice: Design implications for teaching fire emergency responders. In Proceedings of the SIGCHI conference on human factors in computing systems (CHI ’07) (pp. 707–716). ACM.

  52. von Rhein, A., Apel, S., Kästner, C., Thüm, T., & Schaefer, I. (2013). The PLA model: On the combination of product-line analyses. In Proceedings of the 7th international workshop on variability modelling of software-intensive systems (VaMoS ’13). ACM.

Download references


This paper was partially funded by Fondecyt Project 11110056 (Chile). The work of Pedro O. Rossel and Erika Ormeño was supported by grant DIN 14/2012 from the Dirección de Investigación of the Universidad Católica de la Santísima Concepción (Chile). The authors thank the firefighters and developers that participated in this project. The authors also thank the reviewers and editors for their insightful comments and questions, because they allowed us to improve this work.

Author information

Correspondence to Pedro O. Rossel.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Rossel, P.O., Herskovic, V. & Ormeño, E. Creating a family of collaborative applications for emergency management in the firefighting sub-domain. Inf Syst Front 18, 69–84 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10796-015-9575-0

Download citation


  • Emergency management
  • Mobility
  • Collaboration
  • Software product line
  • Domain analysis