The logic which underlies the technical solutions set up to address the problem of providing information to authorities and to the population is the watch-decide-act chain: observe and assess what is happening – decide what to do - act.
The system architecture consists of 3 modules:
- Module 1 observes the environment and provides a picture of the situation to the authorities, along with an assessment on the risks.
- Module 2 allows authorities to warn the population through several media in parallel.
- Module 3 is a rapidly deployable telecommunication system for field rescue teams which helps them to receive and provide information to and from the authorities.
Existing monitoring agencies (weather, earthquakes, volcanoes…), sensor networks (e.g. along rivers) and emergency call centres provide real-time information as well as forecast about the situation on the environment.
Module 1 (Situation Awareness) analyses this incoming information, performs some filtering on it, and then provides a compact picture of the situation to the authorities. This picture comes with forecasts, either provided along with the input data, or calculated by Module 1 itself: this information is augmented with an assessment in terms of risks on the population, so that the decision making is easier.
Module 2 (Warning the population) allows authorities to warn the population (resident or not) through Digital Audio Broadcasting (DAB), Digital Video Broadcasting (DVB), GSM (cell broadcast technology) and sirens. Messages can be tuned based on templates; and the locations for message transmission and receipt is adjustable. Citizens are warned immediately and then directed to other sources of information.
The module 3 (rapidly deployable PMR systems) provides field units with video and data services. These tools will allow both field units and control room dispatchers to be better informed. Two technologies are proposed:
- an ad-hoc mesh network based on LTE/WiMAX technologies
- a TETRA TEDS base station and terminal
The studies conducted in CHORIST have led us to identify Modules 1, 2 and 3, which collectively, we call the "Target System": these are live systems to be exploited in the long-term. However, budget and planning constraints led us to restrict the prototypes' development to essential functionalities allowing us to demonstrate the proof of concept without actually implementing all the elements which would make them powerful off-the-shelves products. Both the long-term vision and the prototypes description are addressed throughout this document.
MODULE 1: Situation Awareness
The JAVA-based situation awareness tool first classifies the input information following semantic and threshold-based rules and provides results in a tabular presentation. In the event that an incident is detected and making use of this stored raw data, a neighbourhood analysis is carried out and displayed on a GIS map to show the extent of the incident; forecasts are also presented. Detected incidents are then sent in CAP messages to decision makers for further analysis and appropriate action.
In parallel, a powerful scripts-based tool was created to train authorities to use Module 1: This tool simulates the data provided by river-level sensor networks, by weather monitoring and forecasting agencies, and by emergency call centres.
MODULE 2: Warning the population
The Web server-based Message Creation and Dispatcher tool allows authorities to create warning messages from predefined templates (potentially in several languages), to define the geographic zone where each message can be broadcast, to select appropriate channels (DAB, DVB, GSM and/or sirens) and then to plan suitable time-scheduling for the sending of the messages.
The CAP-encapsulated warning messages are then transmitted through secured links to various selected gateways giving access to the selected broadcasting networks.
Gateways adapt the warning messages to the protocols in use in the broadcasting network (probably not operated by Civil Protection authorities), and the messages are then conveyed to the appropriate broadcasting elements (TV and radio transmitters, GSM base stations and sirens).
End-user devices (TV set, radio receiver, or GSM mobile phone), as well as sirens are then triggered, providing visual and audible messages to people.
The implementation has been limited to specific methods, though many others could be added: The choice depends on technological constraints (security, reliability…), but most of all on the operators' willingness to provide access to their networks.
MODULE 3: Rapidly deployable PMR systems
The ad-hoc mesh network is an experimental inter-vehicular IP network which provides 1-5 Mbit/s to end-users. Inter-node range went up to 1 km (un-amplified) during tests, but it could be extended even further. Radio and routing protocols respectively based on LTE / WiMAX, and on emerging dynamic MESH network architectures were set up. The long-term goal is to get this wireless backbone automatically setup and maintained between vehicles with little human involvement.
Users on foot are under the coverage of cells local to the vehicle's surroundings: Though WiFi is proposed, standard mobile WiMAX in 1-to-N mode would be better.
Remote connection to fixed control centres could be made through WiMAX line-of-sight links, or through satellites.
The TETRA TEDS base station is an evolution of the narrowband TETRA base station. This ETSI standard allows an achievable transmission rate of 100 kbit/s with spectrum occupancy of 25 MHz and over cells as large as TETRA narrowband cells.
Both solutions plan the wide usage of video (live and off-line), still image (high quality) and data transmission (maps, schematics, ECG, documents, emails…) to field rescue teams, making it the equivalent 3G revolution for professionals that GPRS and UMTS were for the Public some years ago.