Why a Virtual Collaboratory?

In response to this question, some would champion open exchange of hazard data and tools. For example, the National Wind Hazards Reduction Program (NWHRP) focused on the utilization of emerging technologies and the exchange of shared resources in the spirit of collaboration, making a strong case for virtual organizations that pool resources and knowledge in the spirit of the open-source movement. Shortly thereafter, several grassroots collaborative emerged, one being the Digital Hurricane Consortium (DHC) and VORTEX-Winds: A Virtual Organization for Reducing the Toll of Extreme Winds.

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These efforts and the growing calls by the National Weather Service (NWS) and NOAA for interoperable systems and collaborative workflows proved the community was ripe for an open-exchange of knowledge, data and tools in shared repositories to further support hurricane risk assessment and mitigation. Moreover, while the collaborative capability offered by virtual organizations facilitates valuable information exchange within the community of researchers and practitioners, its benefits as an accessible dissemination platform are even more tangible for end users and decision makers for whom actionable information is required. Virtualization to support the movement away from standalone, single-user platforms for risk assessment also escapes the computational limitations of the user’s hardware and enhances the potential for real-time risk assessment in environments that integrate streaming data and supports the exchange of information between distributed users. Such capabilities are absolutely essential for disaster management and planning in the event of an approaching storm.