I completed my PhD in the Department of Computer Science, and I am now a fulltime researcher at the Texas Center for Applied Technology at Texas A&M University. As part of my work responsibilities, I am the technical lead on several projects. These projects involve developing and deploying constructive simulations to train first responders in decision-making and situational awareness for incident command management. To date, through a Department of Homeland Security funded course, nearly 2000 individuals have been trained using a constructive simulation developed entirely by our organization. We are currently researching ways in which the tools and technologies we have developed can be extended to train a broader audience, from local municipalities up through the state and federal government levels.
My doctoral research is an investigation into methods to ease the process of developing rich virtual environments of simulated disaster areas. Through the use of laser range scanners and the development of various surface reconstruction algorithms operating on the captured data, detailed virtual models can be generated from the real world simulated disaster areas that currently exist around the country. The results of this research could have a significant impact in many different areas, from helping to provide situational awareness during the instruction and training of first-responders, to supporting the virtual testing and evaluation of Urban Search and Rescue robots. There are numerous training-based and real world applications where this work could be applied.