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Increasing Resilience through Earth Observation

Periodic Report Summary 1 - INCREO (Increasing Resilience through Earth Observation)

Project Context and Objectives:
The IncREO project (“Increasing Resilience through Earth Observation”) addresses R&D activities enhancing preparation of services and products related to “Risk and vulnerability mapping, including tools and products enhancing mitigation and preparedness”, thereby supporting adaptation strategies and prevention capacities. “Resilience” is here understood as the capacity of a system, community or society potentially exposed to hazards to adapt, by resisting or changing – in order to reach and maintain an acceptable level of functioning and structure.

The “increase of resilience” is achieved in IncREO by providing actors responsible for disaster management, risk prevention, civil protection and also spatial planning with Earth Observation (EO) data-based solutions - implemented by means of up-to-date mapping and modelling / procedures – contributing particularly to an improved preparedness and mitigation planning in areas highly vulnerable to natural disasters. Beside the objective to increase “resilience”, IncREO also pursues a multi-hazard approach – either hazards triggered simultaneously (coupled hazards) or concatenated hazards (domino effect) – as a fundamental basis to identify highly vulnerable and risk prone areas. Relevant national and European legislature plus national and supranational legal frameworks incl. global mechanisms, if applicable, are taken into account as well to achieve IncREO’s objectives.

The types of products provided are mainly “hazard / risk and vulnerability maps” incl. related product variants (exposure, susceptibility etc.). Whereas “crisis phase” products such as damage extent / assessment maps and emergency support maps are already based on consolidated user requirements and thus corresponding product specifications are available, there is still some R&D need concerning “non-crisis phase” products such as “hazard / risk and vulnerability maps”. Therefore, following up the achievements made specifically in SAFER (01/2009-03/2012) regarding the “thematic services“, in IncREO this product category is being further elaborated and improved according to recent user needs – thereby also taking into account relevant modelling and simulation techniques and mapping guidelines as for instance the “Risk assessment and mapping guidelines for disaster management” (EC, 2010).

The geo-information content of “hazard / risk and vulnerability” maps usually corresponds to a multiple set of EO data and geo-formation layers, among them: Optical and / or radar data, information about topography, population density, transportation / street network, (critical) infrastructure, water network / hydrology, geology, soil, land use / cover, industry and utilities, energy, asset and hazard information, historical data, socio-economic statistics, environmentally important sites, cultural heritages, physical parameters (e.g. water flow velocity, water depth etc.) and climate change impacts (sea level rise, droughts etc.).

Altogether, the overall objective is to design, develop and produce “fit for purpose” products that aim – in a proven and sustainable way – at contributing to improved preparedness and mitigation measures for areas highly vulnerable to natural disasters.

The IncREO solutions consist of further developments of services and products from the technically related pre-cursor projects such as RISK-EOS, PREVIEW, Respond, BOSS4GMES and, above all, SAFER. By doing so, not only certain service continuity is guaranteed but also ensured that previous knowledge, experiences and developments are taken into account for IncREO’s objectives – eventually avoiding to “re-invent the wheel”.

In year 1 the project team initiated also cooperation and coordination with other ongoing activities and projects contributing to the Copernicus programme and / or related perspectives: Among them are International Training Network CHANGES and the Beyond activities (Building a Centre of Excellence for EO-based monitoring of Natural Disasters).

Project Results:
For the first six months of the project implementation the focus was put on creating “inventories” related to national and European legislation and already existing GMES/Copernicus solutions as well as related to an analysis of already existing software solutions for European and worldwide multi-risk applications (WPs 101 and 303).

A collection of user requirements for the thematic use cases (WPs 203, 204 and 205) and partially of user feedback (assets mapping [WP 102]) was another main activity until M6. For WP 202 a selection of relevant events by M3 was a first concrete result envisaged.

In terms of internal and external communication the objective was to position the IncREO project in the European disaster management domain including the identification of potential collaborations and frameworks with comparable R&D or already operational mechanisms to be established (Copernicus EMS, International Space Charter etc. [WP 101]). This activity was supported by drafting a communication plan for IncREO by M3 (WP 402) and to launch the project’s web site by M6 (WP 402).

In terms of setting the project on track a “Project Management Plan” (WP 402) has been drafted which is being updated quarterly by means of action plans (per WP) where objectives, user involvement, deviations, reasons for deviations and corrective measures for the next three months have to be documented.

In the second half of year 1 still some requirements were collected (WP 201), concepts elaborated (assets mapping, global risk and vulnerability mapping [WPs 102, 302]) and preparatory work done (map template [WPs 103, 202]). However, the focus of work was put more and more on the implementation of ideas and concepts by setting up data bases (WPs 205, 301), creating a document management system (401), compiling layer-stacks of geo-data including map production (WPs 203 and 204) and setting up a draft version for a web-based atlas incl. smart phone version (WP 303).

Concerning reporting two documents were created: One about the overall progress of IncREO (this document [WP 403]) and a summary of UNESCO’s activities in terms of interfacing with users and potential new users (WP 206). Finally, a document has been compiled describing how the project will disseminate its results and how these results will be exploited beyond project scope (WP 402).

Potential Impact:
IncREO intends to substantially contribute to Copernicus’ operational capacities by developing geo-information products ready for deployment in support of prevention and preparedness measures as complementary to the already operational European Emergency Management Services. By particularly addressing support for civil protection authorities IncREO actively links service providers with stakeholders, users and end-users with the joint objective to elaborate and to define specifications for future operational capacities in the context of mitigating and responding to natural disasters in Europe and worldwide, respectively. Last but not least, the impact of the IncREO results is demonstrated through the supply of information and added-value in the use case scenarios addressed by the project and the feedback received by the users after evaluating / validating the received products and tools and from dedicated training sessions to eventually achieve solutions fitting the user’s purpose.

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