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Emergency Support System

Final Report Summary - ESS (Emergency Support System)

Executive Summary:
The Emergency Support System (ESS) is a suite of real-time data-centric technologies which will provide actionable information to crisis managers during abnormal events. This information will enable improved control and management, resulting in real time synchronization between forces on the ground (police, rescue, firefighters) and out-of-theater command and control centers (C&C). The approach guiding the ESS project is based on the fusion of variable forms of field-derived data within a central system which will then provide information analysis and decision support applications at designated C&C locations.

To do this, ESS focused on the following objectives:
• Improvement of front end data collection technologies (radioactivity, bio-chemical, audio-video, etc.) installed both on portable and fixed platforms, providing a flexible yet comprehensive coverage of the affected area;
• Fusion and analysis of the front end data to provide real-time decision support;
• Make these resources readily available to event commanders and first responders through the use of easily accessible web-portals.
• Minimize the uncertainty that characterizes crisis events, thereby limiting their scope.
• Field test the full ESS solution using three different scenarios, including a stadium evacuation, a forest fire and toxic waste dump accidents

The ESS consortium consisted of 17 partners that brought together a wide spectrum of European SMEs, industrial and academic partners from a variety of fields, ranging from sensor design and electronic communications to civil protection. The resulting cooperation researched how integration of off-the-shelf and new technologies can provide an added measure of security to European citizens. By helping decision makers make decisions based on better and more complete data, ESS will help limit the scope of crises, ultimately saving precious lives.

The first year of the ESS project aimed at defining the requirements, the definition of the architecture of the ESS solution as well as laying the foundations for work on the various developments necessary to realize the proof of concept system and the final ESS system including the data collection, data fusion and portal development.

The objectives of the second year of ESS were to finalize the remaining work on the architecture, draw conclusions from the Year 1 proof-of-concept event and start their implementation, continue the development of the various front-end systems, develop the different back-end subsystems including the portal, various applications and the Data fusion system (DFMS), continue the integration based upon the initial work performed for the PoC, start planning the three major field tests and continue with dissemination activities including forging relationships with other Framework Program projects.

During the third year of the ESS project, the aim was to complete the DFMS, Portal and Data Collection tools development. During this period the first field test was successfully carried out in Nimes, France on March 24, 2012.

The aim of the fourth and final year of the ESS project was to finalize development and to carry out the final two field tests. Significant efforts were invested to disseminate the project results during this period by presenting the project in various conferences as well as cooperation activities with other EU projects.

Project Context and Objectives:
The ESS project focused on three main scientific areas:
• Emergency coordination and crisis management
• Information deficits and pathologies during abnormal events
• Information processing under pressure

The scientific objectives of the ESS project have been translated into technological objectives whereby the overall mission of the ESS consortium is to research, develop and illustrate the capabilities of the Front-End (FE) collection tools, which are mainly based on sensing real time technologies, Data Fusion Mediation System and Back-End applications and portal, and the Integration of all into one consolidated system where all the collected information is analyzed, alerted and viewed at the back office in order to create a common framework which synchronizes and collaborates information from and to all the acting authorities during abnormal event.

This multidisciplinary large scale collaborative project considered the insights of crisis managers. The aim is to ensure that ESS provides crisis managers with the actionable information which they seek, in order to allow an effective consecutive response.
The ESS project aimed to:
• Integrate data from various sources into a common information management and communication platform
• Develop portable and mobile smart communication elements for supporting the management and coordination of emergency operations
• Integrate ad hoc networking technology of intelligent sensors for addressing emergency and crisis management requirements

The following were the main ESS research objectives:

Objective 1: Improving front-end technologies for data collection
The ESS project integrated several existing front-end data collection technologies into a unique platform. This included the development of sensors and the requisite accessories that accompanied each sensor. All ESS sensors complied with the IP/IEC 529 standards and to outdoor use specifications. In order to enable the portable sensor to communicate with the back-office, the porting platform included a communication component that consisted of a wireless modem based on WLAN, Wi-MAX or GPRS.

The project aimed to integrate several types of sensors into the ESS platform:
a. Intelligent video sensors (cameras) – Covering sensitive and affected areas, both indoors and outdoors with cameras that can stream real time video or make recordings of the events is crucial for abnormal event detection and investigation. Cameras are already very popular means of surveillance widely used by public authorities. Basing development on currently available cameras, ESS aimed to develop the artificial intelligence required to turn such cameras into intelligent video sensors. This intelligence was a function of video analysis and decision-making capabilities at the camera level.
b. Thermal (infrared) sensors- These sensors were used to detect the heat signatures of suspected objects in darkness, for detecting spots of fire and for monitoring the evolution of firelines. These sensors can be combined with the intelligent video sensors in order to make the video intelligence available at dark as well. Furthermore, overlapping data from video and infrared sensors will create an important information layer for security issues.
c. Wind and Weather sensors- Real time weather data is an extremely important input for managing abnormal events. For example in case of a chemical terror attack or an industrial accident, hazardous substances are spread through the air.
The ESS weather sensor inputs are combined with detailed weather forecast data issued for the area of interest by national meteorological services.
d. Radioactive radiation sensors- Future terror attacks or industrial accidents may include the radioactive contamination of crowded areas. Radioactive sensors are required in the project because abnormal event due to terror attack may include “dirty explosives” (i.e. radioactive materials). Radioactive radiation is colourless and odourless and therefore cannot be detected by human senses. For this reason, it is essential to cover sensitive crowded areas with radioactive radiation sensors.
e. Chemical poisons and chemical agents’ sensors- Terror threats may include the use of toxic chemical substances and chemical agents for mass destruction. (e.g. "Sarin" released in the Tokyo subway system, 1995). Abnormal chemical-hazard related events may also happen as a result of industrial accidents. For this reason, it is essential to cover such sensitive heavily populated areas with spatial chemical warfare agents’ sensors.
f. Acoustic Sensors– These sensors will be used for detecting abnormal acoustic events -such as blasts- in sensitive areas. Acoustic sensors are complementary to the intelligent video sensors mainly in their usage as blasts detectors.
g. Cellular signaling probes- The ESS project planned to examine an innovative system in which a nation’s mobile access networks will be monitored during a crisis in order to extract mobile phones’ location data in real time and provide relevant Location Based Emergency Services to the citizens and to the situation managers.
In addition to these sensors, several other front end collection mechanisms were used:
h. Staff and personnel reports- The ESS platform enabled real time data flow from the field during the abnormal event and updated the ESS portal with any new data. Thus voice reporting and data transfer from the field actors to the operational center through the use of personal digital and communication devices were supported by the ESS.
i. GPS trackers- GALILEO compatible GPS receivers with GPRS/EDGE modem connected to the back office can be installed in the vehicles of the first responders and rescue teams (a sort of telematic solution) , in order to allow the crisis manager to track the distribution and performance of the first responders and rescue teams in real time. The GPS trackers send their GPS location to the back office periodically (e.g. every 30 seconds) and can be powered by the vehicle battery. The ESS portal provided data regarding the logistics of the vehicles used in the field operations.

Objective 2: Data Fusion Mediation System
The Data Fusion Mediation System (DFMS) is a centralized system working over ESS database that was connected to all front-end sensors activated in the system. Harmonization and data fusion experiences show, that sensors from each particular area of interest (for example thermal sensors etc.) use various data formats and data models for data storage. As it is mentioned in objective 1, ESS focused on various types of sensors (thermal, video etc.). DFMS solved the following tasks: communication between sensors and database; data harmonization from various sensor products of one type; data fusion of data from various types of sensors; spatial data localization.

DFMS functionality covers all tasks mentioned above in 4 steps:
Data storage – all data from sensors are stored in a database. It is intended to store data in a central database; however, this was finally defined by research on the requirements.
Data harmonization – After the data are recorded into data storage, they were harmonized and fused. First step – harmonization – ensures, that data from various sensor products of one type of sensors (for example data from various types of movement sensors) are transformed into one format and/or transformed into one data model defined for this specific sensor problem domain. Harmonization was done for each group of sensors separately. This step required knowledge about how data from sensors are stored, and what kind of formats and/or data models were used in each problem domain. This knowledge was achieved during the State of Art analysis.
Data fusion – subsequently, after data are stored and harmonized, data fusion is realized. Fusion represents combination of data into one comprehensive and usable form. Usually, several sensors of various types monitor each emergency event and all transmit data – if they are to be usable for the C&C centre they have to be presented as one output. Command and control decision makers do not need to have information on what kind of sensors are in the field, however it is crucial for them to have one comprehensive picture about situation. Data fusion is done by DFMS due to the end-user requirements and knowledge achieved in State of Art analysis; The Data Fusion Methodology and the data fusion of sensor data itself were one of the most important research subjects in ESS project, because this approach was required in practice but was not described nor implemented before for security (or even other) systems. The final result of the Data Fusion functionality was data storage with combined and merged data about event and these data were available in accessible and integrated form.
Spatial localization – data coming into ESS are not spatial indifferent. This means, that they are exactly related to the event that is spatially localized. However, sensors usually do not store coordinates in their data formats or data are stored in local coordinate system (for example movement sensors). In the last step the data was spatially localized, or if they provide data in local coordinate system these coordinates were transformed in the pre-defined ESS coordinate system. This step presumes usage of strong GIS engine within the DFMS and there will also be a discussion about long term (background) spatial data, which will usually be acquired from state mapping agencies. Topographic data are usually available by map services, however in the case of crisis, connectivity could be lost. Therefore, topographic background data had to be loaded in the ESS database.
Final results of data fusion are harmonized and fused data prepared in the ESS database. These data are available for ESS applications through database connectors. The interface between the ESS applications and the Data Fusion Mediation System are opened in SOAP format (HTTP over XML) in order to allow ESS end users to add new applications to the ESS portal according to their particular needs.

Objective 3: Creation of synchronization framework of information
The operational Applications of the ESS were web-based and accessible via the ESS portal.
The idea behind the ESS portal was to create an efficient synchronization framework, managing the data and information flow between the different public authorities involved in emergency management operations and the crisis managers (Rescue forces, Police, Fire-department, Homeland-security, Municipality, etc.). The ESS portal provided the involved actors with a common, uniform and ubiquitous platform for collecting, analyzing and sharing real time data for supporting management decisions. Thus, the ESS result was a state of the art framework that will integrate:
• Data collection and information flow between the different authorities and agencies which are involved in the crisis/abnormal events management
• Fusion of data from different sources and creation of a unique information space for supporting decisions of emergency and crisis management
• A multi-tier architecture of information processing, the result of which will be accessible in a ubiquitous manner by all the actors involved, through the ESS portal The access to the portal will be secured by means of SSL and VPN encryption along with other security technologies such as firewall and authentication procedures.

Project Results:
System Architecture
The overall architecture for ESS was defined. The work was built on state-of-the art analysis of existing approaches used in the domain of crisis management. State-of-the-art approaches were implemented and enhanced to meet the requirements set by the research done by the ESS team.

The architectural approach is modelled to serve two purposes:
• First the efficient ESS internal communication, data handling, and storage, and
• Second the standardized external communication to facilitate the integration of external data sets into ESS as well as the usage of ESS products in external systems.
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The ESS system represents a very complex system that can be even described as a system of systems. The goal is to integrate various platforms, sensors, devices, information elements, simulation tools etc. from various systems already in place by the different organizations involved in emergency management.

The ESS architecture provides guidelines on the fundamental glue of those elements and components and describes the basic setup and rules to be applied on ESS internal components, which will be developed in this project. The following figure outlines the general organization of specific responsibilities of work packages four, five, and six. The figure outlines the general situation where the chief commander issues new assignment requests, which get enriched and forwarded by the technical officer (both using ESS portal features, WP6) to the data fusion and mediation system (WP5). The data fusion and mediation system then issues specific requests to the sensor operators and directly to the sensors (WP4)

The ESS architecture defines guidelines on how data will be feed from sensors, simulation devices, or other sources into the data fusion and mediation system to be analysed, processed, and displayed using the ESS portal.

Improving front end technologies for data collection

Data collection tools (e.g. cellular telecom probes and GPS trackers, field sensors, intelligent video sensors); 2) have been developed, field sensors porting means (e.g. unmanned air vehicle, tripod, etc. having mobile wireless modem, solar power, battery etc.) have been set up and developed and integrated; and 3) the communication and networking between the collection tools at the front end (field of happening) was set up.
Although using off the shelf means, in the ESS project novel research conducted for improving the field sensor performance (e.g. water contamination sensor), lowered the power consumption of the wireless network and provided better interfaces and services for the sensors.
Gas chemical sensors were developed and used during the Proof of Concept (POC) and field tests and water contamination sensors were developed which were used for the final field tests. Dangerous gases and water contaminants, as well as the state-of-the-art detection technologies for both types of chemical sensors were examined
Technical characteristics of local weather sensors; wind direction & intensity and air parameters sensors (temperature, pressure, relative humidity) were developed.
Current technologies for radioactive detection were presented.
Electronics unit was developed for driving the local weather sensors. It consists of power supply, internal placed air sensors, connectors for external sensors, signal conditioning, microcontroller and communication interface,
Initial results for a feasibility testing of having many sensors spread out in a local area around only one Inca modem were showed. The sensor nodes should be easy to deploy in a local area in numbers that are suitable for the specific emergency situation. This puts constrain on the devices' size and weight which will, in turn, require a design that is very power efficient to allow for a small and light-weight battery. First results for field testing shows that more than 100 m light-of-sight can be obtained with low power sensor nodes Various radio modules (e.g. ZigBit system from MeshNetics, XBee from Digi) are under testing as well as field test ranging.
Sensors for streaming video and images were developed. Intelligent video sensors cameras covering sensitive and affected areas outdoor (e.g. disaster zone etc.), thermal (infrared) sensors to detect heat signatures of suspected objects at dark and for fire detection. The porting means provide the capability to respond immediately, ad-hoc, to emergency event by placing the various sensors at or above the field of happening; It include Unmanned Air Vehicle, Air-Balloon, and tripod. Photoelectric cells (providing solar power) and backup battery in order to be independent in electricity power are available.
Standard sensor services and interfaces were developed. The field sensors communicate with designated server which process the collected data and prepare it for sending to the data fusion mediation system. The existing OGC standard, SensorML, has been tested intensively. *FL has been submitted to the standardization process of the Open Geospatial Consortium. Three services for processing the receipt and transmission of sensor readings were presented; i) the primary service is a system reliant on APD Inca2 hardware, using the APD Co-Ordinator product to provide the data gateways from the Inca2s and sensors in the field; ii) a Windows Communications Foundation (WCF) based service, which provides a simple set of methods for submitting or receiving sensor readings where Inca2 hardware is not used; iii) an ASP web service, accessed via a simple web-page, allowing sensor readings to be captured by users with smartphones.

Data Fusion Mediation System

The implementation results of the DFMS components:

Web Map Service (WMS) development followed strictly OGC implementation standard since there was not any ESS-specific requirement. WP8 has supported WP5 with so-called long-life data in form of topographic maps, satellite and aerial images as well as digital terrain models. For that reason, the DFMS contains WMS server with harmonized long-life data. Incoming data from external WMS servers may be cached and published as defined in the deliverable 5.4.

Web Feature Service (WFS) development has been divided into two related instances. The first one has been designated as the Simple feature WFS. Its task is to publish harmonized real-time data to the ESS Portal. Second instance is called Complex feature WFS. It is used to store, manipulate and query resources and observations. ESS namespace has been created for WFS implementation to explicitly distinguish ESS resources. Standardized rules have been developed and followed in the implementation phase. These rules cover resource type definitions, names and descriptions, time evidence according to the ISO 8601, location (position) rules using World Geodetic System (WGS84), tracking information, status, ownership relation, annotations for specific ESS applications, etc. Detailed list of supported WFS operations, including parameters, has been provided in the deliverable 5.4. Implementation followed this list; including support of the transaction operations to satisfy the needs to modify data stored in the DFMS database from the ESS Portal.

ESS uses GML (Geography Markup Language) primitives to be interoperable with existing Command and control systems. Implementation of those primitives respects ISO 19118 and ISO 19136 to be compliant with the standardization in the field of systems using geographic information. Specific textual encoding structure has been developed for the IMSI catcher observation. Its primary aim is to bring information about detected cell-phone, including the estimation of distance. Information received from the IMSI catcher is transmitted via SOS to the DFMS. The DFMS then processes this information and brings most probable location of the cell-phones in the area of interest to the ESS Portal through WFS. Besides location itself, information on IMSI and IMEI identifications, type of a cell-phone, operator name, etc. are provided.

Connection to Data Collection Tools (DCT) module is implemented in the ESS through the Sensor Observation Service (SOS). Close cooperation has been established between development of the SOS server (WP4 task) and the SOS client (WP5 task). SOS client retrieves data obtained from the SOS server. Received data are validated to ensure that only appropriate data are stored in the DFMS database. Following task of the SOS client is the fusion of received data.

SOS implementation standard does not support notifications. For that reason, DFMS development has enhanced SOS concept to enable automated notification about changes in the list of available sensors, detection of a new sensor and/or updated sensor definitions.

Another extension of current standards has been made to obtain information about battery status of the devices used within the ESS; like Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) or Unmanned Ground Station (UGS). Concept of Sensor Web Enablement (SWE) has also been improved to reveal unexpected delay in the sensor transmission. Such delay may discover malfunction or destruction of a sensor. Improvements learned from the ESS Sensor Web Enablement implementation has been sent to the Open Geospatial Consortium. As a result, this feedback supported creation of the Sensor Web Enablement in version 2.0.

Tasking interface has not been implemented within WP5. OGC Sensor Planning Service (SPS) concept has been used for the ESS. SPS allows performing tasks like: to move the sensor to another location (in case of UAV), to take measurements for a certain time (for instance in UGS), etc. Primary idea was that the DFMS module will be a proxy to hand over commands from the ESS Portal to DCT and back. Basic motivation has been to log tasks going from the ESS Portal. It has been discovered during the implementation phase, that log tasks may be effectively handled on the ESS Portal side. It has been abandoned from SPS proxy intension; tasking is therefore straightforward between the ESS Portal and the sensors.

Implementation of the notification mechanism follows the WS-Notification standard and uses SOAP envelope. The main implemented topics are:
• change of the SOS server capabilities (typically when a sensor has been inserted or updated),
• availability of a new sensor,
• modification of a sensor definition,
• change of sensor’s availability (readiness to offer data or not).

Special attention has been paid to the notification of geographical events. ESS implementation has also taken an eye on the issues of change of battery charge and inactivity threshold. The latter takes care for the situations when a sensor is not operating or its connection to the system has been broken. Another notification informs about the situations like availability of a new sensor, update on resource maintenance, publishing new data, and detection of an exception. Furthermore, ESS notification service offers the capability to add the conditions expressed with the filtering language. For example, we may choose certain sensors and be informed only when these selected sensors exceed pre-defined threshold. Comparison operations and logical operators are supported. ESS Portal is the primarily subscriber – consumer – of the notifications published by the DFMS. Of course, any other subscriber may be added since the notification mechanism is based on the standardized service. Thus, any command and control system following the notification standards may be subscribed or unsubscribed from the ESS notifications.

Catalogue Service for Web (CSW) contains descriptive information, i.e. metadata, about data used within the ESS. In another words, concept and implementation allow to search for any ESS sensor, map, satellite image, etc. The main innovation represents automatic metadata extraction from sensor data itself. Such possibility was not foreseen in the state-of-the-art standards. Furthermore, developed approach may be used in any domain where a sensor network follows SOS implementation standard. A new (sensor) resource is searchable within the ESS CSW whenever it is created and inserted via WFS or by detection at SOS server. CSW implementation for ESS uses an ISO Application Profile with metadata encoding based on ISO 19139 standards. Furthermore, CSW implementation has been developed to be compliant to the INSPIRE (INfrastructure for SPatial InfoRmation in Europe; initiative created by the EU Directive of the same name) technical guidelines as well. As a result, the implemented DFMS is capable to search in circa 200 CSW servers that are available across Europe when needed. Currently ESS is able to find more than 300 000 spatial data sets, dataset series and spatial network services. Furthermore, their preview may be connected to the ESS free of charge via WMS interface described above. ESS may be in such way updated for almost any data that is needed for a specific crisis and/or emergency management situation.

Simulation module is not included within the DFMS. It has been discovered during the development process that simulations used by the ESS Portal have form of external tools. As a result, communication is direct between the ESS Portal and external simulation tools.
As noted separately in several paragraphs above, the DFMS development has shifted further the knowledge in the field of geographic information in crisis and emergency management. This statement regards especially to the new SOS client application, XML used by the SOS communication protocol – so called soft types, WS-Notification for the crisis and emergency management, support of filter encoding within the notification mechanism and automatic ISO-compliant metadata extraction from SensorML.

Implementation process has discovered that there are areas where the DFMS development may continue.. Additional SWE data types may be supported, for instance ranges and pairs. New Filter Encoding operators may be added to the current implementation; especially additional spatial operators. New Filter Encoding operators may be added to the WFS implementation as well. Security issues were not foreseen since they are a part of the WP7 work. Metadata are automatically created for the sensor data. On the other hand, a metadata editor would be useful to manually add any other metadata, like a note from an ESS operator. Traffic component may be useful for the crisis and emergency management situations.

ESS Portal

Extensive research and innovation work has gone into the development of the ESS Portal, ranging from the analysis of emergency management communities needs, to innovative user interfaces and the integration of data from heterogeneous sources. The following points do highlight the key most relevant advances done during the ESS Portal development.
• Human Machine Interface: The ESS Portal provides users with a thick client Silverlight 4 human-machine interface able to adapt to the requirements of different types of users and organizations. Supporting the display of information in multiple coordinated browser windows for the same user directly in the client, without generating further requests on the server.
• Fusion of Heterogeneous systems: Web services bridge together disparate systems, simulators and data sources: Like exchanging map layers with user created information (layers, markers on the field, exclusion areas, threat vectors…), including images, videos, simulation results and data tables. Exportation is allowed in standard KML, HTML, docx, pdf or jpeg formats, which can be opened by most computers on any organization, enabling the cooperation among organizations in new ways.
• Flexible User Management setup: A suitable set of user management tools has been developed to allow users with the adequate security privileges to manage the permissions and functionality so that ESS emergency management users can add new users in the platform, to invite other members of their organization or external actors, and the level of shareable access they are granted.
• Rich Web Client: For the ESS project, a feature-rich web client has been developed with state of the art technologies to support the identified emergency management requirements:
- Real Time Communications
- Integrating simulators and data analysis tools
- Display sensor data in near-real time
- Provide a tactical map with the overview of the situation
- Fostering and simplifying the cooperation among organizations

• Interactive map client: The ESS Portal includes an interactive map which is constantly updated with the latest available information on resources, and information layers, allowing the addition of new layers like simulation results, weather information, hot areas defined by the incident commander and more. Commanding the resources is enabled by the interface.
• Alerting integration: The ESS portal includes a user interface that allows sending a flash SMS or voice calls to the population of an area or a given list of phone numbers by using ALU web services and IMSI catcher technologies. TTS feature and Translation into addressees’ language is supported.
• Video real-time metadata client: A video metadata client has been implemented to receive timely updates of the video devices location and field of view for synchronized display with the video on the user terminal.
• Chat, video and voice communication client: A communications client which supports multi-user chat, video and voice communication has been integrated in the ESS Portal.
• Web Service Notification client: The ESS Portal will also allow users to define automatic conditions under which they would like to receive notifications from the system. OGC’s Filter Encoding language is used to define the warning conditions.
• Traffic-aware routing application: Including real time traffic information, allowing the real-time definition of optimal routes between two points, taking into account the traffic situation or advising about the average time to evacuation between two points.
• Social Network Integration / PR: The web client includes integration with Twitter and Facebook, and easy-to-go ways to prepare press notes in html form in a word alike way.
• LiveTV Client: A live web TV client has been integrated in the portal, able to connect to different public sources to offer the information inside the platform.
• Emergency Task Assignment and Management: An action list assignment and tracking tool has been integrated into the ESS portal, which allows managers to assign tasks to resources and operators, and allows operators to automatically report their progress back with their assigned tasks. Acknowledgement and time limits can be included to agree with the tasking and impose time restrictions known by the responders.

ESS Integration

The aim was to ensure the smooth integration of the previously performed work. The work was split into four main activities:

1. Software Integration
The ESS team developed an open system which allows additional applications to be developed in efficient ways and for the project to focus on several key applications on Generic Applications: Alerts and pop-ups, Crisis Management Applications
A software module is the lowest level of design granularity in the system. Depending on the software development approach, there may be one or more modules per system. This section should provide enough detailed information about logic and data necessary to completely write source code for all modules in the system (and/or integrate COTS software programs).
Communication tests and performance: The JPef tool was used in ESS to test the performance of the satellite connection.This tool can measure bandwidth, jitter and lost packet by conducting TCP and UDP tests. Namely, the ESS server will be connected to satellite connection for the last two field tests. Satellite connection is inherent to long ping response time (geostationary satellites fly at 36000Km from earth). Low orbit satellite or medium orbit satellite service are not yet available. The satellite connection used in ESS had available 10Mbps for the downlink and 4 Mbps for the uplink. A number of services run on the ESS server and the most important was to verify whether or not the server can deliver high throughput video to connected clients
Mesh Network performance and coverage maps: In ESS, site surveys have been conducted in three selected areas to prepare the field tests that were about to occur in the same areas. Field survey included the deployment of the communication network and the selection of the location of each communication node. A site survey tool was used to help with the selection of these areas by measuring the signal strength of each node and the interference of other communication networks.
The InSSIDer, a free, open source Wi-Fi scanner and site survey tool that tracks the SSID (network names), RSSI (signal strength), security, and other settings of nearby access points was used in ESS site surveys. This information is then displayed in an informative, easy to understand graphical form. By connecting a GPS device to the system valuable information was collected about the signal strength of access points in the particular area. Information is recorded in the GPX file format. The results can be converted into Google Earth KML files or other popular geographic data formats such as ESRI shapefiles.
After conducting site survey on the field test area (by navigating in the area with a laptop running the inSSIDer software and a GPS device) the results will include signal strength (RSSI values) from the neighborhood access points for the specific geographic locations. Interpolating these data values for the study area and processing the information with a GIS system will result in the spatial distribution of signal strengths. The safe locations for the base stations could then be further determined based on those coverage maps.

2. Hardware Integration
Hardware detailed design - Individual component requirements were used to correctly build and/or procure all the hardware for the system.

3. System Integration
The system reference architecture of the ESS Technological Platform was designed to enable the smooth, flexible and modular integration of the technical services and technologies developed in the project, to create systems which are cost-effective, reliable and trusted, which can be easily adapted to the requirements of each specific user and the given infrastructure in both, the house and urban environments. The proposed architecture assured the interoperability of services and the implementation of new innovative services, even after the temporal limits of the project, guaranteeing the sustainability of the investments in the long term. Special attention was given to standards and the ongoing research in the diverse fields, such as short range wireless communications, sensor technologies, embedded systems and mobile broadband communications. Ambient Intelligence (AmI) induced an essential evolution in the way people interact with computer based systems.

ESS consortium has taken special care to minimize the deployment time of the system. The ESS comprises of a central portable sensor and a set of portable devices that can be easily transferred to the field and deployed a very short time.
Figuratively, ESS comprises the ESS central server, the mesh communications network, the communication boxes for connecting chemical and meteorological sensors and the satellite connection. The ESS server is a compact Rack mounted, water proof and shock absorbent box which includes the core ESS equipment. The box is easily transportable using grip handles and rolling casters. In this way the equipment can reach quickly the crisis destination area.
The Mesh communication network can be also easily setup: The network comprises of self independent communication nodes which can be deployed at minimum time at well chosen areas. Each communication node includes a telescoping mast kit which can reach up to 12m and can be deployed even on soil or concrete surfaces using guy ropes or wires. The Engenius mesh modem can fit on top of the telescoping mast. A compact easy transportable lightweight power box mounted on the mast will deliver enough power to the modem. The solar panel also mountable on the mast will charge the battery making the whole setup power independent. Each communication node can be also used to connect the analog video camera from the airborne platform. The standalone communication boxes used to deliver information from the chemical and meteorological sensors to the system can be also easily deployed. This set of self-autonomous boxes will power an INCA communications device and will connect (and optionally power) the set of sensors. The satellite antenna can be deployed as a trivial task to the area.
All ESS components can be transported with a pick-up truck. The telescopic masts can be also loaded in the pick-up rear cargo area.
Below one can find the typical estimated deployment time of all ESS components needed to bring the system to running level.

Field tests

Three field tests were organized in the frame of the ESS project. As it was planned in the DoW, the objective of those field tests was to test the whole ESS system against a variety of events. A specific testing users group was set up for each field. One basic scenario was considered in the Guard Department in France, in an urban context. The second one was in the Alpes des Hautes Provence Department on a highway and the last one at the French-Italian border, in a forested area, in order to highlight the added value the ESS system can bring for European cooperation. Through these three scenarios, the ESS system was tested in operational conditions by several French and Italian users, under different conditions.

For each field test, precise operational scenarios were elaborated by the ESS team. The aim for each one of the field tests was to show the added value provided by the ESS system in the context of a real crisis. The ESS team endeavored to present a range of different types of crisis that would bring together natural and technological hazards. The ESS team also made sure these hazards were consistent with the ones existing for each selected site so the exercises would be educational for interveners.

In order to keep a classical French crisis management decision scheme, all authorities were included in each test: Prefectures, Town Halls, firefighters and police. Additional interveners were involved to complete the scheme: highway companies, weather services (Météo France)
Several meetings with all the interveners enabled to finalize the scenarios and to detail the roles and missions of each one.

Even if the transport of the ESS system requires important logistic means, its deployment on the field is relatively simple and can be done in a few hours. This system was developed for long lasting operations that cause important damage such as the loss of communication networks making difficult the organization between the different intervention teams.
The three scenarios would not systematically require the deployment of such a system but it seemed essential to activate it entirely so International interveners could observe each component.
The optimal use of the system requires to correctly positioning the masts equipped with the different information transmission devices.
The distribution of the masts on the field, in order to create a reliable and stable WIFI network, is the most difficult task. Even if a mast can be deployed in 15 minutes, its guying requires 4 people. It would be good to reflect on how to simplify this deployment for example with automatic systems. From an operational point of view, it is recommended to use existing high points such as phone poles, street lamps, trees, buildings etc.
The installation of the rack is easy and does not require specific precautions. Its packaging enables it to be used in hostile field environments.
The deployment of the whole set of video sensors via the balloons, the UAV and the SGV is also done in a few hours. Their positioning never caused difficulties, even if the three scenarios were for different types of environments.

Potential Impact:

Technological Impact
ESS’ technological impact is felt in a number of technological fields, and comes about as a result of the realization of the project objectives:

Data collection
First and foremost, ESS aided in the development of novel and advanced data collection technologies. Currently, there are several limitations to crisis data collection--sensors are usually not available due to the randomness (in time and space) of crisis situations and the harsh conditions that characterize scenes of destruction often makes it difficult to deploy sensors rapidly. Sensor deployment in the field is dependent to local availability, which makes it difficult to predict both sensor constellations and used hardware in advance. To overcome these and other limitations, ESS worked on the integration of current technologies to generate portable sensor platforms (UAV’s, Air Balloon, blimps, tripods, etc.), which are especially hardy and reliable in the face of extreme conditions. The integrated development of sensors, sensor platforms and corresponding interfaces allowed a by far more efficient integration of data at the scene of emergency. While the development of such sensors and their accompanying platforms was indeed essential for the success of the ESS project, their impact reached far beyond the scope of the project. Hardy sensor platforms can be implemented in a variety of situations, not all of which can be characterized as “crisis” arenas. These arenas may include mining operations, power plants, and extreme condition research stations. Moreover, reliability under harsh conditions can typically be translated to longevity under normal conditions, leading to the spread of ESS technologies for the design and manufacture of more reliable and hence cheaper to operate environmental sensing devices (weather sensors, traffic monitors, etc.). Further on, due to the integrated design of the ESS project, sensors as well as sensor platforms were using metadata based on current standards. ESS influenced the standardization process and work on pan-European as well as global harmonization of sensor metadata formats and protocols.

Data fusion

In addition, ESS changed the way data is gathered and handled during times of crisis. Current European efforts (e.g. INSPIRE) have resulted in the definition of a number of data access and processing services and provided access to critical information databases or static or historic data sets; it is of paramount importance, however, that means are developed to integrate these data in real-time, and deliver them effectively and in an actionable fashion to end-users. The development of Data Fusion tools required solving several problems in the fields of data acquisition, the harmonization of geographical data, the visualization of sensor data, and scalable methods for analysis of massive spatio-temporal data, and the integration of multi-sourced data from sound, video, weather, traffic, intelligence etc. Once developed, the ESS system provided fully integrative solutions to these problems—solutions that could be applied to data integration problems in other commercial fields as well.

Decision support

Another important impact that is brought about by ESS is the development of novel methods for decision support. The development of such methods is recognized worldwide as very important and pressing problems. In crisis situations, it is often difficult to attach proper values to the different issues comprising the crisis as they evolve, e.g. making the decision between changing traffic patterns to optimize rapid dispersion of people or arrival of rescue forces. In such events, each branch of the decision tree carries with it severe implications, both positive and negative, that are not immediately apparent to decision makers. ESS systems provided the decision makers with decision support systems that will be usable in the post-emergency analysis phase to evaluate and judge the decisions made. ESS systems allows reconstructing the available data sets at decision time and thus help to learn and optimize emergency situation handling. ESS’ impact becomes obvious when making decisions by providing further analysis and integration of the available data, allowing decision makers to better understand-, and hence act upon- the implications of their potential decisions. Again, the implications of such technologies are of wider scope than the ESS project itself. If deemed effective and valuable, Decision support is sure to be recognized as a critical tool in modern management. Thus, decision support software developed within the ESS framework may find its way into a wide variety of management tools, both in private enterprise and government. It has to be stated that the decision support systems did not take over making the decisions, but ensured maximal availability of data sets describing the scene of interest. The general principles of decision-making do not apply to emergency management exclusively. ESS made an impact on – potentially distributed - planning and execution processes in both the private governmental sector.

Synchronized Data dissemination
One of the major advances that were introduced by the ESS project is the use of web-portals as hubs for real-time, actionable information. Currently, emergency systems are usually reliant on desktop applications with pre-defined functionalities. The ESS portal provides an interoperable service support environment that allows the integration of new data access or data processing services at run time, i.e. the portal can be adopted at run time to the current situation. This provides a so far unknown flexibility to emergency management system. Additionally and in contrast to existing applications, the ESS portal supported “thin client” use, implying users will need little more than a web browser and no especially installed software to operate the portal. Supporting thin clients will represent a revolution for crisis management systems. While there are many implementations of portal solutions for a variety of applications, their use in the field of real-time security data management represents a major advancement of the technology. The impact on security management is certain to be palpable: by requiring only thin clients, the ESS portal will allows all the requisite decision makers (ranging from representatives of local, regional, national and European governments to units in the field and endangered civilians) to be privy to the crisis information as it becomes available, regardless of their software/hardware situation. Such real-time information dissemination is not currently possible—by dispersing the “fog” surrounding crisis situations, the ESS portal provided a critical tool for defusing such events. Considered together, the impacts listed above helped to move forward alert and command-and-control technologies to the next level.

Additional Technological Benefits
Additional technological impacts that were expected from the development of the ESS system include, for example, the development of transportation planning and optimization systems. Such systems will be the natural result of municipal planners’ ESS acquired abilities to better monitor traffic flow patterns. It is well known that traffic patterns closely mirror certain fluid dynamics simulation systems. Utilizing ESS comprehensive traffic and population density monitoring systems, scientists will be able to better analyze traffic patterns and develop better solutions to solving metropolitan traffic flow problems. Another example where ESS technologies will lead to technological advances may be the field of meteorology, where better “on the ground” monitoring systems will be able to generate more comprehensive data to augment current weather models.
Additionally, work done on ESS contributes to specific technological fields. The development of wireless sensors and their integration into the ESS system will enhance expertise especially in the technical areas covered by the ‘wireless sensor network’ developed within ESS project. ESS will thus also have significant industrial impact in several different product segments such as wireless sensor fabrication, and novel system solutions, sensor electronics interfaces towards network nodes, end-user applications, and services based on wireless sensors.

Socio-economic benefits of the project

Social Benefits
Reviewing the history of serious industrial and environmental accidents, one cannot but conclude that much of the collateral damage caused by these events was made possible by the lack of effective first responder action stemming from incomplete information. The accident at Union Carbide’s plant in Bhopal, India, is a good example. Lacking effective environmental monitoring equipment, authorities were completely unaware as a cloud of deadly gas wafted over the city of Bhopal, killing over 2500 people. Lacking any means to detect the impending disaster, authorities were faced with a tragedy on a national scale.
Enschede, Netherlands, was the site of one of Europe’s major industrial accidents: according to a comparative study by the Swedish National Board of health and Welfare (www.sos.se) the horrific result of fireworks storage facility explosion were compounded by an unsatisfactory command and control structure both within the fire-brigade and in the fire-brigade/national emergency service interface. Moreover, communications lines collapsed due to overload, rendering the telephone and internet networks unusable—in fact, with emergency lines down, the only (and most effective) signal to emergency service members was the fire and smoke billowing over the town, leading many of them to report to duty without being notified. The results of the communications breakdown were severe, with the death of 4 firefighters and 17 other civilians attributed to the inability to effectively channel evacuation orders to forces on the ground. At the end of the day, 944 people were injured, 350 buildings were destroyed, and 1000 factories were damaged in the worst accident on European soil in over 50 years up to that point. Using Bhopal and Enschede as case studies, it is possible to show the benefits that will be derived from the implementation of the ESS system:

Improved Command and Control Decision Making
Command and control operations stand to gain the most from the ESS system. At present, individual European emergency services are some of the best in the world, and enjoy the use of the latest technological means and operational protocols to conduct their tasks with the utmost effectiveness. The drawback with existing systems lies with the coordinated command and control operations that should coordinate the actions of the separate services and turn them into an effective, multi-faceted crisis response mechanism. Thus, police forces, fire brigades, and medical emergency teams that currently use outmoded mechanisms to interface with each other will be turned, using ESS, into one coherent force, eliminating the duplicate application of force, sharing intelligence and information as it becomes available. ESS’ contribution, however, will not be limited to this—its decision support features will help decision makers at command and control centers not only exert more centralized control over their forces, but to use this control in better ways in order to make better and more educated decisions. Better decisions, in this context, can be characterized as decisions that are based less on assumptions that need to be made in the absence of concrete information, and more on information deduced through advanced data analysis.

Better Coordination of Emergency Services in Real Time
ESS worked to solve force coordination problems in an effective fashion. The system promotes the sharing of information—force locations, reconnaissance results, risk assessments, etc. –during times of crisis. Correspondingly, the benefits will be realized in real-time: ESS will disperse the most up-to-date information it has immediately, and so gives more actionable information to decision makers to make a situation assessment. Thus, it helps them determine the best ways to neutralize the crisis. In turn, this will help save lives, cost and time when solving a crisis situation.

Improved emergency force preparedness
It should be kept in mind that emergency forces cannot just react to situations as they arise; rather, training is a major aspect of the readiness of any city-wide or country-wide emergency response scheme. In order to answer this need, ESS will create new possibilities for preparing towards crisis events during normal times. ESS will achieve this by defining rules and serving technologies for emergency or crisis response and recovery as well as providing historic data after the crisis for assessment and possible redefinition of crisis plans. ESS will not focus solely on the reaction during the crisis or emergency event – on the contrary, it will cover the whole life cycle of the event. This will increase emergency services preparedness, by defining rules for crisis management.

Coordinated and effective public alert systems
ESS subsystems (most notable UAS) allowed the rapid dissemination of the alert messages to emergency authorities and to citizens. At times of mass crisis, this may prove to be a critical benefit. When considering the spectrum of possible events versus the “herd mentality” that may develop during these events, it becomes clear that the effective and concise transmission of alert messages to the population is critical. Situations in which mass evacuations are required (e.g. toxic gas leaks) may become compounded by citizens’ instinct to get in their vehicles and flee, blocking traffic routes, and virtually ensuring more lives are lost. ESS will allow the controlled evacuation—one quarter at a time, or at growing circles around an event—that can make the difference between a controlled crisis and a mass tragedy. Other examples may include the dissemination of instructions to residents on how to cope with the disaster within the confines of their homes, or the distribution of “stand down” messages to the population in the area. All in all, ESS will help solve crisis managers’ biggest problem—population control.

Better Crisis Recovery
Finally, after the crisis has passed, the data gathered through the ESS system aided in the targeted support of afflicted areas, their citizens and complex land recovery. By characterizing the type of crisis-causing agents (i.e. contaminants, exact scope of destruction and its radius) ESS will decrease the time period required for the renewal of afflicted areas. Moreover, recovery efforts using ESS generated data are conducted with the prevention of the next disaster in mind.

Additional, Non Crisis Related Social Benefits
The implementation of ESS also helped improving the day-to-day management of urban and other crisis prone areas. Examples of this are:
-Better traffic control systems which will lead to less congestion on municipal roads. The reduction in congestion will, in turn, lead to significant benefits, among them reduced urban pollution, reduced fuel consumption, increased business productivity (traffic congestion is often cited as a major factor in decreased worker productivity), and hence provide a palpable economic benefit.
-Better crowd control mechanism will help conduct safer mass events such as festivals and concerts. This will result in reduced stress on police and emergency forces (e.g. in mass events, number of paramedics can be specifically suited not to predicted number of participants but to the actual number of participants).
-The improved “on the ground” weather sensors that will be implemented through ESS will lead to better weather prediction and better weather statistics. This will result in improved quality of life of citizens, as well as to substantial energy savings.

Economic Benefits
Disasters, be they man-made (industrial accidents, terrorist attacks) or natural (hurricanes, fires, floods, earthquakes, etc.) are, almost by definition expensive occurrences. They invariably result in loss of life and materiel, the destruction of infrastructure, and the waste of thousands of man-hours. Thus, societies literally cannot afford to ignore the possibilities of disasters, and must to their utmost to limit their economic impact. ESS will do much to ameliorate the high costs of disasters, since it can be said almost without fail that an effective crisis response also translates to substantial monetary savings. These savings may be realized in a myriad of ways: direct costs may be reduced through the limitation of disaster impact by its limitation to a specific geographic locale, by the reduction in medical costs through the effective eviction of the population from danger zones, or through the reduction in subsequent insurance claims. Often, however, the true costs of disasters are indirect and can only be measured some time after the event. Terrorist attacks may result in a loss of tourist confidence leading to a decline in economic activity; mishandling of crises may lead to a decline in investor confidence in the municipality/nation’s ability to protect investments. An effective system for disaster handling will be able to allay fears following disasters: while people realize that many unpredictable events are indeed just that—unpredictable, it is the handling of such events the dictates their level of confidence in the authorities.
Moreover, ESS resulted in more direct economic advantages. By creating a Euro-centric knowledge base focused on disaster handling and amelioration, ESS promises to move European industry to the forefront of this ever growing market. In the current global climate, where cities from Asia to America are faced with possible disasters affecting tightly packed populations, industry leaders who will be able to offer effective integrated disaster handling solutions stand to gain a significant market advantage. By bringing together European based companies, ESS will help ensure that many of the revenues from this market will flow into the European economy.

Added Value at the European level
Coordinated crisis handling on the European level
When facing crises, most countries cooperate with each other and spend time and money helping their neighbors. Issues become much more complicated however when crises extend across borders and require the coordinated response of two or more nations. Language barriers, organizational cultures, and reaction protocols differ widely leading to a significant loss of crisis handling effectiveness. Within the EU, ESS will focus on the cooperative idea of sharing know-how in crises’ early stages, helping bring all EU countries into a coordinated crisis handling framework. Emergency organizations in Europe will therefore be able to harmonize their procedures through a common crisis database. Moreover, access to historical crisis data will be able to provide direct support for emergency or crisis event management planning. Information about similar past events within Europe will be accessed by EU member emergency services and help services learn from each other’s experiences. Later, these ideas could be extended to other, out of EU countries.
Another way that ESS facilitated Inter-European cooperation is due to the fact it is fully scalable and is based on inter-operable communication media (e.g. telephone and internet networks) available in all EU countries. Thus, sensor networks in different European countries may be interconnected to ESS and Alert Systems installed in one country may help disseminate alert messages to authorities and citizens in any neighboring country that may be affected by developing crises.
European Leadership and Standard Setting In The Emergency Response Market
Addressing information service related architectures has been and continues to be a long standing issue with past and present projects, with many claims of providing a ‘standard’. It should be recognized that no single consortium or project does indeed possess the resources or significance required, to set sustainable standards by any means. However, consortium members maintain a very close link to the Open Geospatial Consortium and is committed to bring European requirements as identified in ESS to the attention of the respective standardization working groups. This approach has the added benefit that the discussion of relevant architecture or service aspects in external experts working groups not only draws attention to the project, but brings in additional independent knowledge and expertise. IGSI acts a facilitator for this process, which will help to maximize the impact European requirements may have on the standardization processes.
The development of new technologies for an emerging market and in close collaboration with relevant standardization bodies will not only ensure that best of breed technologies are developed by European companies with a strong focus on European needs, but also that these requirements are translated into globally accepted industry standards. This approach ensures that new technologies come with sustainability insurance for potential investors and commercial exploitation. The consortium’s core interest and commitment is to facilitate the liaison process between ESS and the relevant standardization processes, so that the development of technologies and standards become synchronized in the best possible way. By following well tested spiral engineering procedures, the efficient and timely development of suitable solutions to the market requirements will be addressed. At the same time the resulting architecture and information service components will provide full flexibility and scalability, thus also providing for potential future requirements.

CONTRIBUTION TO STANDARDS

Interoperability of information services is a key priority in Risk Management, and this consequently requires the use of interface standards to the greatest possible extend. Since the key stakeholders with an interest in the ESS results come from a variety of backgrounds with specific information needs, the underlying information sources are not only diverse, but also mostly geared towards specific business models in a proprietary fashion.
Using existing international standards in the ESS activities was crucial for a sustainable exploitation of the project. At the same time, working on the leading edge of developing and deploying a variety of sensors in an information services network allows ESS to advance existing standards and submit new technology proposals for consideration to the appropriate standards groups.
FP6 funded projects such as ORCHESTRA or SANY have focused on activities to develop the needed technical specifications as well as on guidelines to develop service oriented architectures, which can provide the standards based backbone for information services in the ESS context. With the specific use cases addressed in ESS, the project will push the boundary of the pre-existing work and help to shape the relevant standards in support of the identified user requirements and with the objective to create a consistent set of standards as a sustainable foundation for operational information service networks.
The core innovation activities of ESS are therefore linked directly to the appropriate standardization processes for sensor services though a close collaboration with the SensorWeb Enablement Working Group of the Open Geospatial Consortium as well as ISO TC211, CEN 287, IEEE1451, OASIS CAP etc.