Frequently Asked Questions

What is Raven?

Raven is a mobile, web-based collaboration and communication platform for dynamically escalating incidents, from first response to extreme-scale, that enables information sharing and cooperation among International, Federal, Tribal, Military, State, County, Local/ Municipal, Utility, Commercial, Citizen/Public, NGO, PVO and all other responding agencies and organizations as appropriate. The Raven Platform is designed to support all phases of emergency management, humanitarian assistance, and disaster relief (Preparedness, Planning, Response, and Recovery) for all types of hazards.

Raven is a mix of Tools, Technologies, Concepts of Operation (CONOPs), and Services.

Raven is designed to develop and nurture situational awareness, particularly for those at the point of the sword looking directly at the threat and who have to make timely decisions under pressure.

How is Raven a Service?

Raven can be thought of as an Internet/Web-provided service like any other service that organizations can subscribe to. There is no equipment to buy, no software that needs to be loaded onto an organization’s computer or smart devices.

Other Characteristics:

Open Standards

Community effort



Rooted in ICS

What is WICS?

WICS is a California incorporated Nonprofit Public Benefit corporation created for two purposes:

(1) to transition tools, technologies, CONOPS (concepts of operation) and services from R&D to a fully sustainable, reliable, resilient, secure, and properly supported operational platform (Raven), and

(2) to further evolve the CONOPS and components of Raven to meet worldwide challenges in emergency management, humanitarian assistance, and disaster relief. 

Under the California State Law for Nonprofit Public Benefit Corporations, WICS is strictly constrained in what it can and cannot do:

o It cannot be organized for the private gain of any individual or group

o It is governed by a board of directors who volunteer their time without compensation

o The compensation of all other personnel who are employed by the organization is strictly reviewed and must meet specific IRS standards for nonprofit organizations.

o Upon dissolution, all assets of the nonprofit have to be transferred to another nonprofit.  No vendor can acquire any assets.  There is no concept of equity.

Apps and Plugins

Raven will continue to be grown, enhanced, and tailored via the development of plug-and-play Apps and Plugins just like today’s consumer smart-phones and tablets. Anyone can develop and submit an App for inclusion into Raven (uniformed responders, operators, researchers, small and large companies, academia, government labs, NGOs, PVOs, etc.).

What is the goal of Raven?

The goal of Raven is to develop and provide technology for the Tired – Dirty – Hungry responder under extreme stress. As such, it is designed to be:

                                Dirt-simple-to-learn & Dirt-simple-to-use.

If a new user knows how to turn on a computer, knows how to surf the web, and can find the neighborhood Olive Garden using Google Maps, then they can learn everything there is to know about Raven in 60 minutes or less.

How is Raven different from other approaches?

Raven is primarily but not exclusively graphically based rather that text based: Users create layered visualizations using Raven tools.

It is designed for the Tired – Dirty – Hungry.

It uses an Apps/Plugin model for growth, expansion, and tailoring; anyone can develop an App or Plugin.

Like the Web, Raven will never be completed, but will always be undergoing improvements and transformations to meet new needs and uses.

What are the guiding design principles for Raven development?

Raven development is guided by these design principles (see also "Design Principles"):

1) Adherence to the principles and operation of the Incident Command System (ICS) & the National Incident Management System (NIMS).

2) Seamless scalability – Same tools and approaches from initial dispatch through extreme scale  events.

3) Network to the edge – Reliable connectivity for those at the point of the sword.

4) Technology neutral - Works with any device, any standard operating system, any browser. [1]

5) App store approach for growth, expansion, and tailoring – Anyone can build an app.

6) All hazard.

7) Focuses on the Tired – Dirty – Hungry.

8) A community project not owned by any vendor.

[1] Raven works with any browser except Internet Explorer 8 and earlier. It works with IE 9 and later, FireFox, Safari, Chrome, and others.

How well does Raven scale? What are the goals?

  Raven is intended to scale to 1000s of responders from 100s of organizations working dozens of incident simultaneously. 

Can Raven support multiple incidents? If so, how many?

Raven can support multiple incidents with scores of users from dozens of organizations. To date an upper bound has not been reached. As the user base grows, performance will be continually assessed in order to benchmark scalability. 

What computers/devices, operating systems, and browsers does Raven work on?

Raven can run on any web-capable computer or device using any operating system.

Raven works on all browsers except Internet Explorer Version 8 and earlier. It works on Internet Explorer Version 9 and later. It also works on FireFox, Chrome, Safari, and others.

Does Raven work on Tablets & Smart-Phones?

Raven works on any computers or devices that can run standard browsers.