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Improving Resilience to Emergencies through Advanced Cyber Technologies

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - I-REACT (Improving Resilience to Emergencies through Advanced Cyber Technologies)

Reporting period: 2016-06-01 to 2017-11-30

"In the last ten years, natural hazards have caused 2 billion causalities and costed up to $1.4 trillion worldwide, as registered in the Emergency Events Database (EM-DAT, 2017). In Europe, disasters caused around 7 million causalities and up to €113 billion of overall economic losses in the decade 2007-2017. In this period, flood is the biggest hazard in terms of occurrence, affected people and economic damage in Europe, while the deadliest hazard remains extreme temperature, followed by flood and earthquake. Wildfires are less impacting; however, it ranks second in affected people.
I-REACT (Improving Resilience to Emergencies through Advanced Cyber Technologies) integrates existing services, both local and European, into a platform that supports the entire emergency management cycle. In particular, it will implement a multi-hazard system with a focus on floods, fires and extreme weather events, as they are the most impacting natural hazard affected by climate change. To reach this objective, it brings together a multidisciplinary team of 20 partners from researchers and technologists to industry leaders, UN officials, consultants or communicators. These partners are working collaboratively providing their experience and expertise to generate the best solution against disasters.
I-REACT targets all the three emergency management phases. The first one mainly deals with the ""preparation"" of a community to reduce the impact of future disasters. For this, I-REACT will integrate historical data, real-time reports, weather data and satellites observations to derive detailed statistics and accurate risk maps. These maps, coupled with a decision support system, will allow decision makers to effectively plan prevention measures aimed at increasing the resilience to future disasters. The second is the ""preparedness"". During this phase, the coordination between governments, civil organizations and citizens will be promoted to be prepared in case of an emergency. To reach this objective, I-REACT will analyze weather forecasts, data from both local and European early warning systems, such as the European Flood Awareness System (EFAS) and the European Forest Fire Information (EFFIS), and warnings extracted from social media or received through crowdsourced reports from authorities and citizens, as well as using the I-REACT mobile application. The third one is the ""emergency response"", in which an effective reaction, first aid and evacuation are crucial.
To help on-site operators, I-REACT will allow to get a quick and complete operational picture thanks to the ingestion of real-time citizen reporting and its integration in nowcast and forecast models. To improve self-protection behavior and reduce exposure, I-REACT will support public authorities to immediately warn citizens with real-time information and instructions"
The project officially started at the beginning of June 2016 and it is now entering its second year.

The design phase (WP2) was based on a user-centred design and included the requirements definition. Within this activity, an international workshop was organized at UNESCO Headquarters, brought together policy-makers, emergency service providers, scientist and technology experts from different European countries. The workshop aimed at gathering users' needs, assess the implementation gaps with respect operational procedures, co-design some key features of I-REACT and launch a survey to gain knowledge on citizen’s perception of risks with the goal to improve their risk awareness in all phases of the emergency. From the technical point of view the activities also included the definition of the project requirements, the data architecture, the privacy and security requirements and the gamification strategy to engage the communities.
This phase feeds the technical work-packages such as the WP3 “External Services and Data Integration” that implemented the integration of open data and existing services such as Copernicus EMS, EFAS and EFFIS. Moreover, it realized an automatic data chain for the production of flood delineation maps from Sentinel-1, and algorithms to enhance the positioning by means of European assets (i.e. Galileo and EGNOS). At the same time, WP4 “Modelling and Engines” focused on the realization of all the core models of I-REACT including weather, extremes weather and climate forecasting, flood and fire nowcast and forecast, risk forecasts, and a social media data engine. Furthermore, WP5 “Service Oriented Architecture” deal with the I-REACT centralized platform and the technologies for: data collection, analysis and visualization. The core elements are: a mobile application to enable real-time reporting from both citizens and in-field agents, a wearable device and a smart glasses application for in-fields agents, drones capable to gather images and videos, big-data analytics and a web front-end capable to monitor and explore in real-time data and analysis coming from all I-REACT elements.
To achieve a full system integration and consolidate the performance of the I-REACT solution, five demonstrations have been foreseen during the validation and demonstration phase (i.e. Italy, Spain, Finland, UK, Malta). The project workflow is completed by the market uptake activities, the communication, the international cooperation and the engagement phase.
By 2018, I-REACT aims to implement a European-wide platform that integrates emergency management data coming from multiple sources. In this way, it will be able to produce information faster and allow citizens, civil protection services and policymakers to effectively react to natural disasters and mitigate their impact on the society.
How? Leveraging on innovative cyber technologies and ICT systems, the I-REACT platform will be designed as an articulated and modular system based on different components. It will integrate several information sources, including Copernicus EMS maps, early warnings from the EFAS and EFFIS, satellite data (Sentinels), social media streams and crowdsourced information from emergency responders and citizens. All this information will be merged to provide added-value products, such as a decision-support system for authorities and an app for citizens and responders. Also, wearable devices and smart glasses will be provided to first-responders, who will benefit from high-precision positioning thanks to Galileo and EGNOS and Augmented Reality to make hands-free reports.
Thanks to this architecture, I-REACT will be able to provide greater emergency anticipation through accurate weather forecasts that, coupled with historical knowledge, satellite and risk maps, crowdsourced reports, and social media information will allow to better anticipate extreme weather events, floods, and fire. Its modularity and interoperability with existing systems, will allow a strong flexibility of the platform in terms of future exploitation, making it able to answer to different market needs.
The project leverage on its strong advisory board want to gather all the participants involved in the different phases of the emergency management to translate their needs and ideas into effective solutions, with a real social impact. Even if mainly addressing emergency management, I-REACT has been conceived as a multi-user platform. It mainly targets public administration authorities, but also private companies, as well as citizens in order to provide increased resilience to natural disasters.
Overall System