Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Program Name

Emergency and Disaster Management

Capstone Instructor

Dr. Christina Spoons


This research examines the viability of cell phone tracking to enhancing emergency manager’s situational awareness of compliance with evacuations orders and using big data analytics for the purpose of identifying special populations. Cell phone tracking and big data analytics are emerging technologies and can be seen as complementary to one another. Therefore, this research will consider the two technologies together for applicability to emergency evacuations. The research methodology is a ground theory qualitative strategy as it provides the best approach to examine the complex behavioral response to real world evacuation events in the social, political and legal context. There is strong evidence that both cell phone tracking and big data analytics would afford emergency managers valuable insight to evacuate response dynamics and enhanced information on special population. The research also makes clear that the necessary legal foundation for the use of these technologies by emergency managers for evacuations is lacking. There are no clear statutory or regulatory foundations for using such technologies. Therefore, despite the potential practical value the technologies offer, the absence of legal support for use places both technologies outside the emergency manager’s evacuation toolbox.



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