Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

H2020

GEO VISION Result In Brief

Project ID: 641451
Funded under: H2020-EU.2.1.6.
Country: Norway

A satellite-based solution to disaster management

Newly developed software will help to guarantee that critical visual information gets through to emergency services when disaster strikes.
A satellite-based solution to disaster management
Why is it that some disasters – both natural and man-made – can wreak such destruction and loss of life, while others can be efficiently contained? One key factor is whether effective management tools have been put in place. This is why the EU-funded GEO VISION project recently pioneered mission-critical software with the ultimate goal of saving lives and resources.

The new solution enables users to select critical visual content taken from satellites, drones and humans on the ground for transfer over secure and safe networks. The project’s geo-networking coding has been tested extensively with major disaster management organisations, and has attracted the attention of various response and relief agencies.

Completed in December 2016, the software solution is now ready to be rolled out in order to improve the effectiveness of United Nations agencies, the EU Civil Protection Mechanism as well as European police forces and emergency management authorities.

‘Obtaining, understanding and communicating mission-critical operationally relevant information rapidly and reliably is a key element in effective handling of situations where many lived might be a stake, such as during an earthquake or a flood,’ explains project coordinator Harald Skinnemoen from AnsuR in Norway. ‘Pictures from satellites (such as Copernicus) and drones can help decision makers better understand the reality of a dynamically changing situation.’

In order to know immediately what is happening, where and when, it is vitally important that telecommunications networks are not affected by the event itself. Satellite communication networks are the most reliable for this purpose, because wireless broadband might not be available following a major event. ‘A key strength of the GEO VISION solution is that it is capable of operating seamlessly during a disaster,’ explains Skinnemoen. ‘

Smartphone-based platforms connect to unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) in order to obtain photos and video, in addition to receiving alarms and geo-messages. A live Geographic Information System (GIS) portal receives rapid mapping updates from Copernicus satellites.

Another impressive strength of the GEO VISION solution is that it focuses on sending mission-critical images. ‘Normally we have to compress photos and videos in order to send over networks,’ says Skinnemoen. ‘This means we lose accuracy by reducing the quality, as well as time. Our solution recognises that visual data in cases of emergency is not for entertainment purposes and does not have to be beautiful, but that relevant information needs to be precise and accurate. Network capacity is therefore devoted to content that is needed.’

In December 2016 the project team was invited by the United Nations for a Global Partnership and Networking Week, taking place in February 2017, with a view to further integrating the solution into UN operations. The project has also been invited to cooperate with GSMA, which is organising most of all the mobile operators in the world, and owns the Mobile World Congress. So far, the system has been sold to 11 countries in Africa, whilst Indonesia has acquired the solution in order to carry out search and rescue operations. In addition, Norwegian police have started to use the system, whilst other countries have also expressed a keen interest.

‘We also think that this solution has potential applications for real-time remote inspection, sending documents and emails and much more,’ says Skinnemoen. ‘We would never have got to this successful conclusion without the excellent support of the GSA and other project experts.’

Keywords

GEO VISION, disaster management, mission-critical software, UAVs, GIS
Record Number: 190959 / Last updated on: 2017-01-26
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