Interview on Disaster Zone Show at King County TV

I had the great pleasure to appear as featured interview guest on the 30-minute Disaster Zone TV show in downtown Seattle. The show is hosted by Eric Holdeman, one of the nation’s most highly reputed experts on disaster response management. Holdeman is a former emergency manager himself who held managerial positions at Federal, State, and County levels. The show is produced by King County TV and watched by professional emergency responders around the nation. The recorded edition of the show will be on the air shortly and can already be watched on YouTube. (Video, 24:55)

Research on “Cascadia Rising 2016″—The Exercise Addressing the “Big One”

The research team and I are currently on the home stretch with our analysis of the Cascadia Rising 2016 exercise, which tested the response capabilities of first responders in the Pacific Northwest to a magnitude 9+ earthquake and tsunami. The exercise involved about 23,000 participants from all levels of government in the region along with FEMA, private-sector companies, and non-governmental relief organizations. The insights garnered from the exercise were many and daunting. The exercise revealed that not only the region of impact but rather the nation as a whole would face a major challenge when this catastrophe becomes a reality. Therefore it comes as no surprise that the exercise will be repeated soon (2022), which will be informed from the lessons learned from the 2016 exercise and also operate under even more realistic assumptions and injects. Our study of CR16 focused on two major areas:

— (Shared) Situational Awareness and Common Operating Picture, and

— Managerial Challenges

For the first area, we were happy to have two papers accepted at two major international conferences, one of which even became a “best-paper nominee.” The papers and presentation slides of the first two papers on shared situational awareness (SSA) and the common operating picture (COP) can be found below:

ISCRAM Asia Pacific Conference (2018)

Scholl, H. J., Hubbel, K., & Leonard, J. (2018). Communications and Technology Challenges to Situational Awareness: Insights from the CR16 Exercise. In Proceedings of the 1st ISCRAM Asia-Pacific Conference (pp. 1-15). Wellington, NZ: ISCRAM. (Best paper nominee)

Paper | Presentation Slides (29.3 MB)

52nd Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences (HICSS-52)

Scholl, H. J., Hubbell, K., & Leonard, J. G. (2019). Information Sharing and Situational Awareness: Insights from the Cascadia Rising Exercise of June 2016. In Proceedings of the 52nd Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences (HICSS-52) (pp. 1-11). Maui, HI

Paper | Presentation Slides (19.2 MB)

Our paper on “Managerial Challenges” is currently under development.  We are planning to finish our analysis of the managerial challenges observed during the Cascadia Rising 2016 exercise by the end of March 2019. We will post the result also here.

Ongoing “iSchool Qualitative Research Project(s)” iQRP

During the Academic Year of 2018/2019 I continue to offer the iQRP series of qualitative research immersions open to students from all programs. Details will be communicated via the various program listservs.

My main research foci include:

  • Digital Government (Information, ICTs, and the Public Sector)
    • Smart City, Smart Government, Smart Governance, and Smart Infrastructures
    • Distributed Ledger Technology / Blockchain in the Public Sector
  • Disaster Information Management
    • Situational Awareness and Managerial Challenges
  • Application/System Evaluation
    • TEDS framework  (for example, we analyzed and helped improve Seattle Sounders FC mobile app)
  • Formats of Involvement: Research Assistant
    • Independent Study (minimum 1 credit = 4 hours a week, 3 credits = 10 hours)
    • Volunteer (minimum 1 credit = 5 hours a week)
  • Roles of Research Assistants
    • Being introduced to the foundations and practices of qualitative inquiry
    • Assistant in research design, interviewer, data collector, transcriber, coder, data analyzer, co-author of research reports, & presenter of research results


Speaker Series (Invitation to Attend) — Disaster Information Management 


In recent years, the general public has developed a growing understanding of the fact that the Pacific Northwest might be severely affected by a range of serious disasters including potentially catastrophic incidents, for example, a rupture of tectonic plates along the Cascadia Subduction Zone resulting in an earthquake of magnitude 9 plus.

Professional responders in the area have fully engaged in planning and preparing, so to be able to cope with such an incident once it happens. 

During this winter quarter the UW Information School is holding a series of one-hour invited talks featuring leading emergency and disaster managers of the Pacific Northwest. The formal presentation of some 40 minutes in duration will be followed by a question-and-answer session of about 20 minutes.

The speakers will address in particular challenges for responders in the context of “situational awareness” and “managerial coordination.” The speaker series will be open to the public.  

The speaker series is part of the INFX 598 research seminar conducted by Prof. Hans J Scholl of the Universitry of Washington’s Information School.

Since space is limited, RSVPs are required. The speaker series is held at Seattle Campus in Smith Hall Room 102 on Fridays from 1:30 to 2:30 pm.

Speakers Series Schedule
Friday, January 26, 2018, 1:30 to 2:30 pm (UW Smith Hall, Room 102)

Requirements, skills, methods, and challenges when organizing and maintaining an agile and highly functional Emergency Operations Center (EOC) in a metropolitan area, which is at major risk

Speaker: Laurel Nelson, Deputy Director, City of Seattle Office of Emergency Management


Friday, February 2, 2018, 1:30 to 2:30 pm (UW Smith Hall, Room 102)
The Oso/SR530 landslide response of 2014 and the 2016 Cascadia Rising Exercise. Major lessons learned

Speaker: Jason Biermann, Snohomish County, Director of Emergency Management


Friday, February 9, 2018, 1:30 to 2:30 pm (UW Smith Hall, Room 102)

The Oso/SR530 landslide response of 2014 and the Cascadia Rising 2016 Exercise: Insights from the State Level: Managerial challenges in multi-level and multi-agency response management

Speaker: WA EMD–to be confirmed)

Friday, February 16, 2018, 1:30 to 2:30 pm (UW Smith Hall, Room 102)

WebEOC: Information technology for response management—experiences and challenges

Speaker: TJ McDonald, City of Seattle, Office of Emergency Management


Friday, February 23, 2018, 1:30 to 2:30 pm (UW Smith Hall, Room 102)
Lessons learned from the 2014 Oso/SR530 landslide response, Cascadia Rising 2016 Exercise, Hurricane Maria: The FEMA Region X perspective.

Speaker: Scott D. Zaffram, Federal Preparedness Coordinator, Director, National Preparedness Division––Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) – Region 10


Friday, March 2, 2018, 1:30 to 2:30 pm (UW Smith Hall, Room 102)

Emergency and Disaster Response in the Pacific Northwest: Innovative uses of information technology

Speaker: Eric Holdeman, Eric Holdeman & Associates, Puyallup, WA


Friday, March 9, 2018, 1:30 to 2:30 pm (UW Smith Hall, Room 102)

The Cascadia Rising 2016 Exercise and the 2014 Oso/SR530 landslide response: The important role and contributions of the Washington National Guard (WANG)

Speakers: Lt.Col Clayton E. Braun and Lt.Col J. Ryan Price

For further information, please contact

Dr. Hans Jochen Scholl, MBA
University of Washington
The Information School
Mary Gates Hall, Suite 370D
MS 352840
Seattle, WA 98195-2840, USA
Phone: (206) 616-2543
Fax: (206) 616-3152
Email: jscholl ><

New Publication on 2014 Oso/SR530 Landslide by iQRP DRIM

iQRP (the iSchool Qualitative Research Project) on Disaster Response Information Management has published its first report on the March 22, 2014 Oso/SR530 landslide response (Informational Challenges in Early Disaster Response: The Massive Oso/SR530 Landslide 2014 as Case in Point by Hans J Scholl, Stephanie Ballard, Sarah Carnes, Andy Herman, and Neal Parker). The manuscript passed a rigorous peer review and was accepted for presentation at the prestigious Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences. It focuses on the challenges responders had to master when establishing “situational awareness” and a “common operating picture,” which guided the response efforts. The manuscript discusses, how the management of information during a disaster response can be improved. The research group currently also investigates the specific “managerial challenges” responders faced during the incident response. The results of this sub-project are expected to be published later in 2017.

Concurrently, the group empirically investigates the same challenges responders faced during the Cascadia Rising Exercise of June 2016 (CR16). This simulation of a catastrophic incident (a magnitude 9.0+ earthquake and a subsequent tsunami) in the Pacific Northwest involved about 20,000 professional responders as participants, which makes it one of the largest exercises of its kind ever. Many of the CR16 participants were also involved in the Oso/SR530 incident response.

The iQRP team will compare the results of the two studies in order to derive important insights about how the internal and external information management in disaster response can be improved. We will update on the progress of the project and the various iQRP sub-projects here.