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HEIMDALL - MULTI-HAZARD COOPERATIVE MANAGEMENT TOOL FOR DATA EXCHANGE, RESPONSE PLANNING AND SCENARIO BUILDING

Periodic Reporting for period 3 - HEIMDALL (HEIMDALL - MULTI-HAZARD COOPERATIVE MANAGEMENT TOOL FOR DATA EXCHANGE, RESPONSE PLANNING AND SCENARIO BUILDING)

Reporting period: 2019-05-01 to 2021-01-31

HEIMDALL addresses the challenge of providing integrated tools for emergency planning and management, including the definition and sharing of multi-disciplinary scenarios, and addressing the needs of the involved first responders (firefighting units, police departments, medical emergency services, civil protection units and command and control centres) and relevant stakeholders in terms of interoperability, inter-organisational coordination and information sharing.

The main objectives are:

Objective 1: To identify and analyse the existing operational procedures, best practices and communication interfaces of the relevant end users (first responders) involved in emergency management, namely:
firefighting units, police departments, medical emergency services, civil protection units and command and control centres.
Objective 2: To provide a collaborative platform for expert information exchange and tools for interorganisational communication and request for assistance mechanisms.
Objective 3: To provide an integrated tool for the definition of multi-disciplinary emergency scenarios, tailored to specific geographical areas and addressing the heterogeneous requirements of the different involved stakeholders, including the population at risk and first responders’ organisations.
Objective 4: To provide access to a variety of existing sensors of different nature and their corresponding advanced processing to develop map-oriented hazard monitoring and assessment information: (i) satellitebased sensors; (ii) in-situ sensors; (iii) aerial sensors deployed in a swarm of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs); (iv) information gathered on the field by individuals.
Objective 5: To develop improved an innovative hazard modelling for highly precise now- and forecast of emergency events. In particular, the following hazards will be addressed: forest fires, floods and terrain movements. Additionally, the extension of the system to address other related emergencies as well as manmade events will be considered.
Objective 6: To develop effective situation, risk and vulnerability assessment tools based on innovative methods for improved risk assessment (models, maps) and emergency response (near real time risk uptake).
Objective 7: To develop information fusion, situation assessment and decision support features tailored to respond purposes, taking into account the previously defined scenarios available in the system and identifying the most suitable response plan.
Objective 8: To develop a robust and reliable communication architecture, including the provision of rapidly-deployable communication infrastructure for first responders on the field, based on satellite communications, enabling a cost-efficient distribution of relevant information.
Objective 9: To develop and deploy information means and strategies to inform and warn the population at risk about existing or forecasted emergencies.
Objective 10: To provide a platform for the integration of the available assets in a modular and scalable system and deploy comprehensive graphical user interfaces (GUIs) tailored to the stakeholders’ requirements.
Objective 11: To develop business and innovation concepts based on the federated access to data and services provided by HEIMDALL, generating added value and allow business opportunities to third parties which can access or provide data or services, taking international market and cooperation aspects into account.
Objective 12: To analyse the relevant ethical issues and human factors and incorporate them to the system design and implementation and assess the societal acceptance of the provided the solution.

The project successfully concluded on January 31st 2021 with the accomplishment of all planned objectives, as also proven with the final demonstration taking place virtually during the second half of January 2021.
The work performed throughput the entire lifetime of the project entirely fulfilled the expectations stated in the description of Objectives 1-12 provided in the previous section and indicated also in the project GA. In particular, the main highlights consisted in the finalisation of the platform for use in the final demonstration that took place virtually at the end of January 2021 because of the restrictions imposed by the COVID.19 outbreak in Europe.
The results so obtained have been used as baseline for the definition of the business plan and the exploitation of single partners towards the productization of the system, which could however happen only beyond the lifetime of the project.
As to the specific dissemination activities, HEIMDALL has been very active in many contexts especially in relation to conferences/workshops organisation and participation, with priority to the events that could better highlight the added value of the HEIMDALL system as well as to better liaise with other ongoing projects or in general to increase the opportunities of networking with the rest of the PPDR community. In this respect, the impact of COVID-19 has been significant in that many conferences have then taken place virtually, hence diminishing the opportunity for new contacts or networking. The offering of webinars from the HEIMDALL consortium has in any case kept always high the attention of the community towards the advances made by the project and in general the acheived results. This is further confirmed by the large participation to the final demo and the following expression of appreciation and interest for the conducted work. More importantly, even the advisory board which played an important role in the project execution through all the phases since the beginning of the project, expressed important acknoledgments about the obtained results and recognised the work as pivotal for the deception of future systems to be used in real operations.
Progress beyond SoTA was as follows:
1) To extend the basic on-update situation assessment by explicitly modelling and assessing the evolution of the monitored situation (enhanced spatio-temporal situation awareness).
2) To include hazard- and task-specific domain knowledge and to develop solutions towards the management of cross-domain interacting and cascading effects.
3) To provide automated support on different time scales. Based on permanent situation monitoring, the Decision Support System will provide information ranging from time-critical immediate response (short term) to medium and long term processes up to the timescale of climatic changes.
4) To integrate scenario management capabilities for response plan matching and the provision of enhanced response recommendations to the decision maker.
5) To develop a content-based federated architecture to foster data exchange among the different actors over heterogeneous transmission media.
6) To provide rapidly-deployable communication infrastructures to robustly re-establish communication between the control centres and first responders on the field allowing the latter to access and provide information to the federated platform.
7) To provide means for the efficient distribution of emergency-related information from the control centres to dedicated applications installed in commercial end user receivers (smartphones) for first responders on the field.
8) To provide information channels for publishing emergency-related information to be accessed by the possible citizens at risk, enhancing population awareness.
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