Mary Topic is a research intern at the Center for Technology and National Security Policy at the National Defense University. She works primarily on the Tranformative Innovation for Development and Emergency Support (TIDES) project. Currently, she is studying at St. John’s College in Annapolis, Maryland.
Situated near Paso Robles in central California, Camp Roberts fits the description of a desert to a tee. The climate that is hot and dry, and the land is mostly devoid of anything but scrub vegetation. It’s also isolated, with the nearest town being a half hour’s drive away. Even network communication can be difficult due to intermittent internet connectivity. Its desolate appearance, however, belies its utility. The setting is precisely the right environment for testing emergency relief and development technologies.
Because of its similarity to many austere environments, Camp Roberts is well suited for hosting a project called Research & Experimentation for Local & International Emergency & First-Responders (RELIEF). RELIEF had its beginning as experiments involving technologies such as portable water purification units that were carried out by the Naval Postgraduate School. Early in 2009 the Tranformative Innovation for Development and Emergency Support (TIDES) and members of the geospatial community joined to conduct these quarterly experiments. Currently, one of the main functions of RELIEF is bringing together people within the “tech” community, such as software developers and engineers, and government agencies. RELIEF now exists as a partnership between the Naval Postgraduate School and the Center for Technology and National Security Policy at the National Defense University (more…)