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Content archived on 2024-05-27

Common Operational Picture Exploitation

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Coping better in emergency situations

Achieving and increasing situational awareness throughout and across response agencies is vital in emergency management situations. An EU-funded project has developed a new system for improving the information flow both from and to the first responder.

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During an emergency such as a major chemical spill, the emergency services rely on a common operational picture (COP) to monitor, respond to and manage the situation. A COP is a description at the time of the emergency situation that supports the emergency responders both within and between different emergency services to react appropriately. Achieving a better COP was the aim of the 'Common operational picture exploitation' (COPE) project, funded by the EU. The project set out to create technological solutions designed to enable improved emergency management by enhancing the command-and-control performance, and the reliability of technical support. Initially, COPE members gained a thorough understanding of the first responder's work and reviewed the appropriate methods and technologies. They then mapped the user requirements to the technological possibilities, and designed and developed the technological solutions. Finally, these solutions were tested in several trials. According to the judgement of the first responder, end users and external stakeholders, the system and its components worked well in all the trials. Some temporary failures and reductions in functionality were expected but did not detract from the project's detailed and overall results. The technological innovations and specifications resulting from COPE project efforts will be integrated into rescue service procedures as and when appropriate. This integration requires additional planning and future research in order to adapt the project's solutions and fully exploit its technology.

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