Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Final Report Summary - BRIDGE (BRIDGE: Bridging resources and agencies in large-scale emergency management)

Executive Summary:
BRIDGE has contributed to the safety of citizens by developing technical and organisational solutions that significantly improve crisis and emergency management. The key to this has been the interoperability, harmonization and cooperation among stakeholders on the technical and organisational level. BRIDGE has followed a user centred agile approach - by extensively involving end users through an End-User Advisory Board - through iterations of a) Domain Analysis incorporating Ethical Legal and Social Aspects for ensuring the usefulness of the BRIDGE systems; b) systems’ requirements and development and c) Concept and prototypes Validation, Evaluation and Exploitation (ValEdation).

To the producers of emergency response systems, BRIDGE system offers a consolidated set of software services organized in three layers that facilitate the orchestration of systems, the communication between such systems, and the management of data produced by such systems during an incident’s life-cycle. The BRIDGE system forms the basis of all BRIDGE Concept Cases and underpins interoperability between different BRIDGE- and external systems.

The BRIDGE system supports the flexible assembly of emergency response systems into a ‘system of systems’ for agile emergency response. Such ‘systems’ include BRIDGE concept cases, but also independent systems such as healthcare or vehicle registration records, building or environmental sensors, CCTV camera systems. Each concept case represents an end-user application whose implementation is based on individual parts and services of the BRIDGE system, and therefore, each concept case represents an ‘instantiation’ of the BRIDGE system architecture and provides a specific perspective on the services offered by the BRIDGE system.

Project Context and Objectives:
The goal of BRIDGE has been to increase safety of citizens by developing technical and organisational solutions that significantly improve crisis and emergency management. The key to this has been to ensure interoperability, harmonization and cooperation among stakeholders on the technical and organisational level.

Therefore BRIDGE has delivered:
- Resilient ad-hoc network infrastructures, focussing on the requirements evolving from emergency scenarios
- Generic, extensible middleware to support integration of data sources, networks, and systems
- Context management system to foster interoperability of data, providing meaningful, reliable information

Technical interoperability is crucial for improving multi-agency collaboration and continuous training, but its full potential can only unfold, if technology can be integrated and sustained into agency workflows and communication processes. On the level of organisational harmonisation, BRIDGE has provided:
- Methods and tools that support run-time intra- and inter-agency collaboration
- Model-based automated support system combined with scenario-based training
- Agent-based dynamic workflow composition and communication support system

Making available an increasing amount of data for crisis response systems had to be accompanied with developing intelligent human-computer interaction models to make these data usable. BRIDGE contributed to this by developing:
- Adaptive, multi-modal user interfaces
- Novel stationary and mobile interaction techniques
- Approaches on how to raise awareness through visualization of ad-hoc networks

BRIDGE was committed to an iterative user-centred approach incorporating and validating user and domain requirements. The consortium consisted of a well-balanced mix of cross-disciplinary academics, technology developers, domain experts and end-user representatives. Furthermore, the establishment of a User Advisory Board guaranteed active end-user involvement during the whole Project.
Project Results:
1. Domain Analysis and ELSI
For every technology it is functional features, usability, efficiency that make the product attractive, but increasingly there is also an awareness for ethical, legal and social implications of technology, making those qualities the decisive features for acceptance (licensing, organisational uptake, peace of mind in terms of liability etc.). In a political and economic context where there is pressure to increase efficiency, meeting higher demands with fewer resources and a less experienced but more technology-savvy workforce, it was important to pay close attention to, but also treasure, the potential of information technology to engender ‘disruptive innovation’. Working on BRIDGE allowed us to examine crises as sites of such disruptive innovation, hence making it possible to see how technologies and practices of crisis response are shaking up taken for granted social and organizational conventions, economic and political models, notions of humanity and justice. In crises, necessity becomes ‘the mother of invention’ so it was important to develop and nurture ways of seeing/recognising/identifying how new skills come together in new ways and how people re-appropriate technologies to deal with the uncertainties and strains of disasters.

BRIDGE is a collaborative and interdisciplinary project. The role of the domain analysis and ELSI work in the project was to support the technology development that was done by the technological partners. Hence, insights from these activities have informed and enhanced the design of all systems. The BRIDGE domain analysis aimed at obtaining a detailed understanding of end user needs and what practitioners would expect from useful technology in their domain. The requirements were developed in an iterative process drawing from ethnographic fieldwork in the domain of emergency response and management as well as various rounds of co-design sessions with practitioners. Furthermore, we explored the appropriation of various stages of prototypes which increasingly resembled usable technology in semi- or close to realistic settings. In this iterative process, formulations of user needs, expectations, reservations, doubts, projected forms of use were explored, documented, fed back into the design process and refined based on our on-going empiric work. On the basis of the domain analysis activities within the project, user needs have been translated into requirements for the development of the different concept cases. These requirements could be distinguished into non-functional requirements or architectural qualities that are related to the general properties of the developed system, and functional requirements that describe the actual functioning of the technology.

A particular outcome of the requirements work has been documented in the form of user needs as well as functional and non-functional requirements for various technologies that have been developed in the BRIDGE project. This encompassed methods and tools that support run-time intra- and inter-agency collaboration as well as a middleware allowing data, system and network interoperability. The purpose of the requirement specification that has been presented in deliverable D2.5 was to document the findings in the sense of a catalogue of the results from the technology development and co-design work in the project. While it might seem uncommon that the requirements specification is delivered at the end of a project instead of the beginning, the particular approach of the BRIDGE project has made this strategy feasible (as is discussed in detail in D2.1). As such, the “specification” that is presented in D2.5 is meant to document the outcomes of iterative cycles of ethnography, explorative design, rapid prototyping, validation, evaluation, and redesign, all forming the basis of the designs that are presented in this report as assets for re-use and future work.

Further work from the Domain Analysis and ELSI work packages has documented specific case studies of supportive technologies in-use within various fields of emergency response. In doing so, we have provided comprehensive reviews of the state of the art on various aspects of collaboration support tools, including aspects such as Interoperability and Integration (D2.2), User Interfaces and Interaction Design (D2.3), and Collaboration technologies (D2.4). These case studies focused on opportunities, challenges and risks for innovation in large scale multi-agency emergency response. In particular, we have presented results from domain analysis on collaboration technologies such as eTriage, local cloud, help beacons, emergency logistics, systems supporting situation awareness and the use and analysis of social media in emergency response which were developed in the context of the BRIDGE project. Another focus was on the analysis of the various demonstration and evaluation activities performed within the project, including user workshops and participation in a large-scale exercise with first responders in Stavanger where we had the opportunity to test various project prototypes in the field.

A particular focus was on the role of ELSI principles in the design methodology of the project. Design features that have been addressed as a result of our collaboration within the team include:
- Mechanisms that support richer data acquisition: For example ASA, Information Intelligence, Dynamic Tagging, Help Beacons. These support prudence (wisdom in practical affairs D12.2) and ultimately humanity.
- Mechanisms that support ‘mixed intelligence’ or technologically augmented human perception, reasoning, communication, coordination e.g. ASA, Master, Adaptive Logistics, SWARM → prudence, empathy, trust, awareness, cooperation, humanity
- Mechanisms that support information sharing: Such as the capacity for emergent interoperability in the middleware's, which allows new sources of data to be integrated. Also includes tools for synthesis of information, such as the Master. These support organizational and individual cooperation, sense-making, prudence, preparedness and response-ability, ability to mobilize resources.
- Mechanisms that support cooperation: Such mechanisms are part of SWARM, Adaptive Logistics, ASA Expert System, Master, Robust and Resilient Network
- A move towards ‘accountable computing’, e.g. with Annotated Workflows in Adaptive Logistics: Annotations of Workflow automation make policies inspectable and adaptable. This allows users to understand and adapt the system better. This is needed to support trust in the system and enable flexibility, cooperation, information sharing, improvisation, including role improvisation.
- Encryption in middleware and applications: Encryption provides security for data and trust in the system.
- Protocols for data protection, supporting lawful collection, storage, processing and deletion: These govern data management and will be used to safeguard privacy.
- Logging mechanisms: These mechanisms are in the middleware and applications and govern which and how data will be logged. Logged data can be used to support learning and improved risk assessment and preparedness, enhancing prudence.
- Mechanisms that support training, especially FRITS, which enhances preparedness, solidarity, trust, cooperation

Last but not least, another important outcome in the BRIDGE project was the methodological knowledge with regard to performing ELSI-aware co-design in the challenging field of designing Systems of Systems for emergency response. This methodological knowledge is an asset that can be used in future Projects.

2. 3D Simulation
Simulation of Scenarios, addressed modelling of structures and persons for use by first responders in training and routine operations. Altogether, more than one hundred and twenty 3D models have been created as the basis for an innovative EU Critical Infrastructure Library (CIL). CIL enables incident commanders to choose from representative examples of power plants, airports, railway stations, subway metro stations, financial centres, etc. existing in EU Member States as of 2015. In addition, lethal and sub-lethal injuries to victims, traumatized by an explosive blast, have been modelled. All computer models have been validated.

The main S & T results obtained in the area are as follows:
- Altogether one hundred and twenty 3D models of structures representing existing Critical Infrastructure in EU Member States (EU Critical Infrastructure Library) ) for incident commanders to choose from. CIL incorporates representative examples of major power plants, airports, railway stations, subway metro stations, financial centres, etc. existing in EU Member States as of 2015. The sites were selected in accordance with the definition of Critical Infrastructure by the EU Commission. Dispersion of toxic plumes (chemicals; radioactive isotopes) due to uncontrolled releases has been modeled in 2D.
- Lethal and sub-lethal injuries to victims, traumatized by explosive blast (e.g., suicide bomber), have been modeled in 3D.
- All computer models have been validated successfully twofold: (1) Test explosions at the Versuchsstollen Hagerbach (Flums, Switzerland) with identical passenger cars, comparing calculated physical damages to the vehicles with the actual result, using high-speed cameras and still photography; (2) Forensic data and pathological analysis of victims of the 7/7 terror attacks in London, provided by UK Metropolitan Police and St Bartholomew's Hospital (London), were compared with calculated results of different injuries due to the actual explosions in different metro trains.
- Practical application of modelling was further demonstrated by providing the Concept Case (CC) MASTER Application with a model of the virtual chemical facility CHEMCO-EXPLO through the Internet, generating a 3D model based on 2D data from the publicly available OpenStreetMap and elevation data provided by the SRTM Project.

3. Middleware
A system of systems approach
The vision for the BRIDGE project was to provide an infrastructure for a BRIDGE system of systems, i.e., a set of loosely coupled sub systems and services, with a minimum of global constraints and structures, but with a high degree of interoperability. This means that the middleware must be able to manage a very dynamic environment where services come and go in the network.

As BRIDGE is designed as a system of systems there is no specific BRIDGE system instance, rather the assembly of sub-systems and services in a BRIDGE configuration depends on the deployment context and scale, in real situations or in training.

The BRIDGE system of systems approach to the architecture has several consequences. At run-time BRIDGE is composed of set of loosely coupled sub systems and services, with a minimum of global constraints and structures. At the same time there must be an openness for inclusion of new resources (services, devices), implying compliance to standards. For this reason the middleware supports the EDXL messaging (de facto) standard family.

There are also a number of design time considerations for developers of BRIDGE client applications. A starting point is never to assume continuous resource and system availability, hence the BRIDGE platform must be assumed to operate under potentially disruptive conditions considering, e.g.
- Infrastructure failure, such as network component failure.
- Services and devices may become unavailable or operate with varying quality of service
- Congestion of communication channels and information/data overload

As a complement to the technical platform and the middleware, a set of Architectural Qualities (c.f., Deliverable D04.2) were compiled to serve as an guidelines for the design of the BRIDGE system of systems from different quality perspectives.
These were then made concrete in terms a set of proof of concepts applications, referred to as BRIDGE Concepts Cases, representing emergency management applications and users. The Concept Cases were developed to show and capture (emergency) user requirements while at the same time placing technical requirements and constraints on the middleware. As Concept Cases were developed and validated, parts of their functionality was factored out and integrated with the middleware services thus becoming available to other existing as well as future Applications.

The Middleware Services and Components
The BRIDGE middleware services are enclosed by a physical communications layer at the bottom and an application layer at the top of the diagram respectively.

The communications layer realizes several network connection technologies like ZigBee, Bluetooth or WLAN. The application layer contains user applications which could comprise functions like workflow management, user interface, custom logic and configuration details.

The BRIDGE platform offers a large collection of reusable core software components for developers to develop run-time applications. Based on these software components, the BRIDGE middleware services provide programming abstraction and functionality for developers. The middleware services are logically clustered in four sets of services:
- Orchestration
- Data- and Model Management
- Communication
- Security & Trust

These Middleware Services represent globally available functionality shared by all BRIDGE applications, and possibly external systems/actors. The internal structure of each component is determined by a design derived from the related set of requirements and hence determined by specific project work packages.

Orchestration services provide support for the composition of services and workflows. The main services are:
- Transformation: Provides generic format and structure transformation services.
- Triggers & Eventing: An event management subsystem, providing event channels, event taxonomies (types), and event log and history (based on extended LinkSmart).
- Workflow Management: Definition, storage and sequencing of activities and tasks (possibly based on standard workflow models). Supports the sharing and re-use of workflow plans.

Data- and Model Management services support the acquisition, storage and exchange of data, services and models emerging from diverse sources (sensors, systems, databases, public, experts, colleagues, etc.) on the fly. The main services are:
- Tagging: Provides functions needed for the annotation of any identifiable BRIDGE object (first responders, victims, buildings, data). This includes tagging with various sensor devices.
- Identification: Supports the unique identification of BRIDGE resource (actors, tasks, devices, etc.). Provides functionality to register and query resources.
- Service Catalogue: Provides access to BRIDGE middleware services as an entry point.
- Network Information: Provides information about the infrastructure objects/topologies/resources.
- Shared Dataspace: Provides a persistent data space for sharing and distribution among multiple clients.
- On-Site Storage: Provides access to large-sized data without going over the Internet and thus, with shorter response times.
Communication services provide functionality enabling distribution of data as well as invocations of services. The main services are:
- Messaging: Allows sending messages to actors based on their role, location, etc. Also support for broadcast messages to a certain group of receivers (e.g. all fire-fighters in an area).
- Media Streaming: Provides service for streaming media over the network.
- Publish & Subscribe: implements a message-oriented communication paradigm to provide greater network scalability and more dynamic network topology
- Network Management: provides functionality to change networks topology

Aspects of security and trust do not represent a focal point of research in the BRIDGE project as explicitly stated in the project description of work. However, the BRIDGE project addresses these aspects by exploiting the LinkSmart concepts and technology developed in the HYDRA project (funded by the European Commission). All aspects related to privacy are fully described in deliverable D12.1 – Privacy Protection and Legal Risk Analysis.

BRIDGE Common Information Space
The BRIDGE Service Catalogue is a common entry point to the middleware and the available services. The Service Catalogue, in combination with a BRIDGE Quality of Service Repository and a BRIDGE Resource Status Repository, is referred to as the BRIDGE Common Information Space. These repositories contain vital information for the BRIDGE workflow and QoS Management services.

The Service Catalogue registers and retrieves all resources active in BRIDGE. Upon registration, each resource gets assigned a unique BRIDGE ID. Methods to register and search the Service Catalogue are documented in BRIDGE Deliverables D05.2 and D05.3.

The Quality of Service Repository registers and retrieves information regarding the integrity constraints and service qualities of resources that are registered in the BRIDGE service Catalogue. The integrity constraint and service quality information follow a distinct syntax with interfaces to register and search the repository (c.f. BRIDGE Deliverable D07.4).

The Resource Status Repository maintains the status updates of resources that are registered in the BRIDGE service Catalogue. The relevant status aspects include the deployment status, the schedule, the time of the last status update, and, in case of physical resources, some aspects such as location and speed. The Resource Status repository registers and retrieves resource status information, using an interface specified in Deliverable D07.4.

Implementation platform
The BRIDGE middleware has been implemented using and extending the LinkSmart Middleware, and by integrating the specific software platforms provided by the technical partners in the project.

Many of the LinkSmart extensions made in BRIDGE are incorporated in the Open Source release available at

The development of the BRIDGE SWARM and MASTER concept case have led to several extensions of two popular open source products of Almende, namely the Eve agent-based development platform and the Vis.js browser-based visualization toolkit. Eve can be found at Vis.js. can be found at

4. Exploitation and dissemination of Open Source
Several of the LinkSmart extensions made in BRIDGE are incorporated in the Open Source releases available at These components will also be exploited as part of our LinkSmart-based IoT Platform offerings, with domain specific services. Some of these service offerings target eHealth/mHealth applications, Smart City and infrastructure monitoring.

Many parts of the BRIDGE systems were developed within the Open Source domain. This includes both the middleware layer but also the applications layer. Below a list of the repositories BRIDGE contributed to:
LinkSmart – BRIDGE middleware
Agentscape – S2D2S Blackboard
Eve – SWARM – Situation aware Resource Management
ThingModel - ThingModel synchronizes data and models in realtime over the network for multiple devices.
MobileMaster - HTML5 version of MASTER – situation awareness
Tina Framework - 3D model rendering of critical infrastructure
PruneCluster - Method for clustering of icons on a map.
Pie menu for WPF - GUI element Pie menu for touch Interface5.

5. Concept Cases
Adaptive Logistics
In the BRIDGE concept case Adaptive Logistics large-scale emergency management operations are characterised as Complex Dynamic Multi-Agency Distributed Systems. The concept case explores how to coordinate efforts deployed by systems’ human participants and artificial components, so a dynamic BRIDGE system-of-systems as a whole displays coherent, goal-directed behaviour, realizing its goals effective and efficiently.

To organize a dynamic multi-agency collaboration we use workflows (or more specific: a ‘WorkFlow Generation and Management (WFGM) sub-system’). To organize this collaboration the WFGM sub-system requires system awareness and specific capabilities to plan, instantiate, monitor and adjust activities. Advanced Logistics establishes collaboration between various BRIDGE system components, including DEIN, Situation aWAre Resource Management (SWARM), the Risk Analyser Modeller and Advanced Situation Awareness - Prediction Modelling.

In crisis management a large diversity of organisations is involved requiring dynamic and timely integration and maintenance available resources (both human as well as automated resources) and the management of the collaboration of these resources. Typically, in large scale crises the systems of the participating response agencies have to be configured and connected by hand, which may take days or even weeks (Katrina), whereas this system promises to be done within seconds. In this context, the BRIDGE project has realized Collaborative Hybrid Workflow Generation and Management. The main S&T results developed:
- From a technical perspective: an architecture for Collaborative Hybrid Workflow generation, implemented and incorporating three different workflow generation approaches: COMPASS, CoWS and ATOM
- From a multi-agency perspective: the concept of Collaborative Hybrid Workflow Generation and Management (CHWFGM) allowing each agency the autonomy to 1) control and direct their own resources, 2) keep local QoS management 3) have local workflow generation mechanisms suited its own operational needs. In other words, CHWFGM allows for inter-agency workflow generation without imposing any requirements to all involved agencies on the workflow generation mechanisms, other than the compliance to the BRIDGE protocol using BRAWL (and its extensions)
- Multi-level QoS management: We can not only compute the workflows, but based on policies select the one is the most suitable in the current situation. Furthermore, for that selected workflow we can track the progress and mitigate failure. That is completely new territory in ad-hoc mission centric systems of systems, and has a most promising future.
- BRIDGE Annotated Workflow Language BRAWL (See BRIDGE deliverable D07.3), an extensible language that allows to represent (partial) workflows, and associated information required for collaborative generation and QoS management.

Advanced Situation Awareness
The Concept Case (CC) Advanced Situation Awareness (ASA) consists of an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), an autonomous EXPERT System (ES) and a 3D/2D Modelling Module (MM). This CC provides fast support for crisis managers to make a decision on the actions to be taken during the Preparedness-, Response- and Recovery Phase. Furthermore in cooperation with FIT PLUS integrated the CC Help Beacon into ASA. ASA meets altogether 23 requirements as defined by the BRIDGE End User Advisory Group, respectively Austrian first responders.

The main S & T results obtained under this CC are as follows:
- Development of a three-component system to improve situational awareness in crisis management (Advanced Situation Awareness), consisting of a sensor-equipped unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), computer-based EXPERT System (ES) and 3D/2D Modelling Module (MM). The UAV is equipped with video- and infrared camera, as well as multiple environmental sensors. The computer-based ES compares incoming data with national limits and international recommendations in order to develop advice for the incident commander. The 3D/2D-MM, optionally integrated into ES or autonomous, calculates graphics depicting the impact of explosives on structures and man, and the behavior of toxic plumes due to uncontrolled release of chemicals and radioactivity.
- Functionality of the ASA system and CIL was tested twofold in collaboration with Austrian fire fighters: (1) In the field by using a burning car and simulated car explosion; (2) In terms of system ergonomics and ruggedization through collaboration with professional firefighters. Thereby, ASA meets altogether 23 requirements as defined by the BRIDGE End User Advisory Group, respectively Austrian first responders.

Dynamic Tagging of the Environment
As a special case of Dynamic Tagging of the Environment, the eTriage concept case has researched, developed, and tested a viable approach to supporting triage without interfering with triagers' work. In particular, the eTriage system developed under this concept case:
- drastically lowers the time needed to get triage results to the command
- does not interfere with the current triage process and does not change anything about it
- avoids the need to train triagers on using the triage system
- takes advantage of the current experience and background of triagers and other response organizations
- degrades gracefully. Even when all parts of the system stop working, the triage process is not stopped or slowed down.
- does not depend on existing communication infrastructure
- uses pocket-switched-networking approaches to solve connectivity problems
- helps track the patient on the field and all the way to a hospital
- helps monitor the patient on the field, in the gathering place, and all the way to proper medical care
- makes the vital data log available to doctors without needing special systems
- can be easily integrated into any EDXL-compatible message system
- works well hand in hand with other BRIDGE systems and concept cases, but can work as just well by itself alone

The eTriage system developed under BRIDGE does not bring new base technologies, focusing instead on using what is commercially available to build a new concept of interaction with the system. This is possible thanks to the development process focusing on the user needs first and technology second. A detailed understanding of the triage and first response domain counts also among the main S & T achievements of this concept case.

Finally, eTriage, the eTriage networking principles and protocols, and the interaction principles developed for eTriage can also be reused for tagging buildings and other objects of interest on the incident field, thus laying the foundation for further development of dynamic tagging solutions in first response.

First Responders Integrated Training System (FRITS)
In order to improve the emergency actor's readiness and operational awareness, proper training and regular exercises are major activities for all crisis management actors. Expert interviews, technical surveys, and domain analyses done in BRIDGE have underpinned the understanding of current practices in high-tech training. It has outlined a need for an optimized cost- and time effective learning and training process on all levels, customized to each actor's specific roles and responsibilities. It has also outlined a need for supporting tools given the baseline for good learning and evaluation processes.

The high tech training concept, FRITS combines BRIDGE developed methods and tools together with COTS (Commercial off the shelf)-technology to ensure flexibility and to provide scalability for different end-user training needs.

Also, by focusing more on using various virtual and constructive tools in addition to live exercises, a quantified cost effective end-result has been demonstrated over a relative short timeframe, ranging from base theory to large-scale multi agency exercises.

The main S & T results obtained under this CC are as follows:
- Based on the theoretical background and the state of the art of current learning and training methodologies, a consistent training methodology has been developed to support all levels of training activities from base theory to large scale multi agency live exercises.
- A toolbox allowing scenario-based training in a fully controlled environment which also includes the use of operational equipment to enhance the realism in the training. The main components that has been developed and tested in BRIDGE are:
* A distributed computer-based tool, MeTracker, that in a cost and time effective way will guide the training staff through all the phases and tasks defined in the CTAS Training methodology.
* TEMIS, a training and exercise management information system supporting traceability and preserving the training value through the training process.
* An integration platform that makes it possible to combine various systems based on the current user needs. A typical example is to utilize a virtual or constructive simulator to provide input to an exercise staff in a table-top or exercise rehearsal session. The back-end simulation bus will be supported by WISE, an interconnectivity-platform operating on the OSI-network model.
* Virtual training simulator that provides a fully controllable, immersive virtual training environment that allows trainees to experience and interact with exactly identical training situations, tuned to certain training objectives.

Information Intelligence
In all emergency management phases information about the current situation is vital. People document any situation they are confronted with in social media. The aim of Information Intelligence is to introduce mechanisms that perform automatic analysis of such data in addition to live data collected from the field. The analysis results can be seen as a sort of situational report. The Information Intelligence software is developed as a research prototype. It comprises three components: (1) Aggregation Component, (2) Data Simulation Component, and (3) Data Collection Component. The functionality of those components is based on a survey conducted at the beginning of the project with end-users (including the project End-User Advisory Board (EUAB)) and given by the framework of the demos conducted during BRIDGE. The concept case was also presented and discussed in several EUAB meetings to refine existing requirements. Details on the conducted survey can be found in [1].
The Aggregation Component performs the aggregation of social media data based on sub-events (which are specific hotspots of a crisis) and shows the results to the user. It is based on clustering considering location and textual information. Several offline clustering algorithms for retrospective analysis are examined, created, and compared [2, 3]. In the context of online clustering, an online feature selection approach is created. Details on this approach and comparison with offline and other online feature selection approaches can be found in [4, 5].
The Data Simulation Component allows the creation of simulation data during a running exercise (e.g., for training purposes). It creates/simulates data based on a given scenario description (in XML). The simulation of the data follows this description. It simulates social media posts based on pre-defined text snippets, describing the effect of the incident. It can be used, e.g., for training to integrate this data into an exercise.

The Data Collection Component is implemented as an Android-App and allows collecting data from in the field. In addition, it allows the introduction of live data (text and pictures) into the aggregation process. An Android-App was created by BRIDGE partners.

The information aggregated by the Information Intelligence software can be passed via the BRIDGE Middleware to other BRIDGE concept cases (e.g., Master). This is performed by selecting a specific sub-event which is of importance for the emergency agencies.
Within the concept case context, also two filtering approaches are created and examined. These approaches filter incoming data to identify relevant items, e.g., before sub-event detection is performed. The evaluation and publications of these approaches are currently in progress.

The name of the concept case MASTER comes from the general purpose of the tool, which is to serve as a master platform for synthesizing and presenting information made available through the BRIDGE system during emergency response. It is a means for users to access, filter, visualize, and share various kinds of information in an efficient manner. The majority of the information is presented in a common operational picture that takes the form of an interactive 2D map. Additionally, the information is also available in tabular views to support simple sorting, and in summary views (only for certain information types) to provide quick access to information such as the number of patients and the number of resources involved. The tool is particularly aimed at increasing the level of situation awareness during emergencies, and further to support the commanders and responders in their decision-making processes. The common operational picture has a number of informational overlays that can be shown or hidden, depending on which information the given user needs. Users can add, change and remove elements from some of the overlays, and also add and edit additional information about the elements that have been added. The changes a user makes to the operational picture are instantly reflected on all running instances of the MASTER tool, enabling all involved personnel to share a single common overview of the situation.

Besides the common operational picture, the MASTER also provides a wide variety of other functionality. Among other things, this comprises chat communication with other MASTER users, resource management, weather forecasts, response planning, situation replay, and video streaming.

Intentionally, the MASTER tool is designed to be used by all organizations that take part in emergency response efforts, on all levels of command within these organizations, and during any type of event, ranging from small day-to-day operations, to large-scale emergencies. To support users on the different levels in the command chains of these organizations (i.e. strategic, tactical, operational levels), and during various types of events, the tool has been tailored to run on a number of different devices, including normal desktop PCs, collaborative multi-touch tables, and tablets and mobile phones. The users on the strategic and tactical levels will typically run the tool on a desktop PC, preferably beamed to the wall using a projector. On the operational level, the tool will typically run on tablets that users can carry around or dock to the dashboard of a vehicle. In large-scale events, the tool will also be run on a collaborative multi-touch table placed in a local command post or in a mobile command centre vehicle.

Robust and Resilient Communication
The overall goal of this concept case is to improve networking on the incident site by creating an ad-hoc networking infrastructure. The design is based on a novel high-level classification of networking infrastructures that can emerge during emergency response operations, namely: existing, deployable and opportunistic infrastructure. Within this concept case, we have focused on the latter two types. In particular, the BRIDGE Mesh represents a deployable wireless mesh network that acts as a backbone for the communication at a disaster site, interconnects different networking technologies and provides gateways to external networks. The BRIDGE Mesh is based on well-established technologies (e.g., Wi-Fi, ZigBee) and protocols (e.g. TCP/IP) in order to provide interoperability between different agencies but also incorporates emerging technologies to cope with specific challenges towards networking in the emergency response domain. For instance, since in disasters intermittent connectivity is rather the norm than an exception (Raffelsberger & Hellwagner, 2012), the BRIDGE Mesh adopts the concept of delay/disruption-tolerant networking (DTN). This enables communication between temporary or permanent network partitions by storing messages within the network and exploiting the mobility of network nodes to deliver them. The BRIDGE Mesh was tested during real-world exercises that took place in the scope of two BRIDGE demonstrations in Flums and Stavanger and proved to be a practical solution for providing a deployable network infrastructure.

The class of opportunistic infrastructure is covered by the HelpBeacons (Al-Akkad, Ramirez, Boden, Randall, & Zimmermann, 2014) and Local Cloud (Al-Akkad, Raffelsberger, Boden, Ramirez, & Zimmermann, 2014) systems, which support short-lived, opportunistic communication between smartphones. Based on experiences gained from developing and testing these applications in real-exercises and lab tests, the Chaski framework has been developed and released as open source1. Chaski is a generic framework for Android that supports to create opportunistic networks based on common Wi-Fi technology. In particular, Chaski provides an API to use the Android tethering function for communication between off-the-shelf Android devices. In this context Fraunhofer FIT has filed 2 patents:
a) “Method for organizing a wireless network” accepted at European Patent Office
b) German Patent and Trade Mark Office, Application No. 800314664

The HelpBeacons system provides a way for people to call for help using their Android smart phones. Technically, the idea is implemented by encoding short messages inside the name of the Wi-Fi access point created by the victim’s smart phone. Any device in range can see these messages using its Wi-Fi interface. Furthermore, the HelpBeacons Seeker application has been designed which allows first responders to collect beacons in their vicinity and to locate victims. Collected beacons are sent by the seeker device to the BRIDGE Mesh that provides connection to other BRIDGE systems such as the Master, which can visualize the collected information. The HelpBeacons Seeker application has been designed in a way that it does not need any user intervention to collect HelpBeacons and send them to the BRIDGE Mesh. This allows the first responder to fully focus on his/her tasks.

The LocalCloud System enables people to post and receive Twitter tweets despite disruptions of existing network infrastructure using their Android smart phones. It uses opportunistic communication to forward tweets in a peer-to-peer fashion if access to the Internet is disrupted. As soon as a device detects that a connection to a Twitter server is possible (e.g., via 3G or a Wi-Fi interface), locally collected data can be transported to the online world.

One advantage of the HelpBeacons and LocalCloud systems compared to related work is that the communication technology as provided by the Chaski framework is based on widely used standards and technologies and requires no changes in the underlying mobile OS. From a practical perspective, this has the advantage that a broad range of devices supports these systems which is very important to be useful for many people.

The concept case also investigated the use of multimedia as a means of communication in emergency response scenarios. For instance, in the context of the LocalCloud system, tweets may also contain images. Furthermore, the HelpBeacons application allows first responders to record short voice messages to be delivered to victims. Such messages can contain important information for the victim. Additionally, the HelpBeacons application supports to include pictures taken by the victims’ smart phones in the distress calls that are sent to the seeker. Additionally, this concept case also investigated how to deliver videos in disrupted networks which is not possible with current state-of-the-art delivery systems. In particular, a delivery system based on MPEG Dynamic Adaptive Streaming over HTTP (MPEG-DASH) has been developed and evaluated for this purpose (Raffelsberger & Hellwagner, 2015).

Situation aWAre Resource Manager (SWARM)
In the context of the SWARM (Situation aWAre Resource Management) concept case, the BRIDGE project has realized a tool for the support of drastically improved resource management during emergency response operations through advanced situation awareness for both incident commanders and first responders. By providing a current overview of where inter-agency resources are located and what they are doing, decisions can be based on better information. At the same time, the resources in the field can be better informed with regard to their tasks, by having location information in a convenient map-based form available. Advanced goals like dynamic formation of teams can also be supported through awareness of resource availability and state.

The SWARM application provides the following features:
- Outdoor location tracking of the emergency personnel.
- EDXL-RM based dissemination of this data to the MASTER tool.
- Task assignment to individual personnel and to teams of people.
- Availability monitoring of first responders.
- Automatic resource allocation for team creation (dynamic formation of teams), based on requested tasks.
- Context awareness dissemination to the end-users through a smartphone app.
- Map based localization and task assignment.

The SWARM application consists of several components, one of them running on a regular smartphone, others running in the cloud. It has been technically integrated, through the BRIDGE middleware, with the Master, Adaptive Logistics and Advanced Situation Awareness concept cases.

Potential Impact:
1. Introduction
The first European wide Delphi study on civil security under the auspices of FP7 was executed as a part of a participatory foresight project called FORESEC in 2008/2009 and engaging more than 270 experts from almost all EU countries. The results showed what EU security experts consider most likely to happen and most important for Europe’s future security by 2025.

Two findings are important with regard to results from the BRIDGE project:
- Threats, such as terrorism and extreme weather, will not diminish more likely increase.
- Crisis situations within the EU that touch security issues, e.g., natural disasters, major technological accidents or failures, will have to be mitigated by resilient responder networks connecting the necessary first responder organisations at EU level.

The predictions from 2008 are still true in 2015. The global community continues to be vulnerable to terrorism, irrespective of the political system, religious belief, or social segment of the population targeted. For example, in 2014 seven EU member states reported 201 failed, foiled or completed terrorist attacks. EUROPOL judge that it is likely that the overall threat to EU will increase.

The other main treat to European citizen and counties is the increasing impact weather has on our society. One example is in Norway where the latest prognosis for this century is that the temperature will increase with 4.5 °C. This will result in 18% more rain, floods will be bigger and happen more often and the sea level will increase with 15 to 55 cm depending on location.

Thus, terrorists’ attacks, natural disasters, and technical accidents or failures need to be responded to effectively and efficiently; requiring information and resources from different emergency response agencies, potentially from multiple countries which BRIDGE have demonstrated can be achieved.

2. Impact of BRIDGE results related to the research program
The BRIDGE consortium has answered the call for impacts stated in the work program by providing an integrated, user centred development of novel solutions for crisis management.

BRIDGE has developed technology supporting interoperability on different levels, from network communication over context information to harmonization efforts. Emergency and crisis responders was supplied with processed data coming from various kinds of sources (e.g. sensors, devices of first responders etc.) and these data was visualized in the situational context. Innovative approaches to data visualization and user interaction was demonstrated to have an impact on the effectiveness and efficiency of crisis management. Further, the BRIDGE development process has been strongly user centred, taking into account the needs and requirements of relevant user groups including ethical and societal questions. The results have showed that novel technology is not the only solution but also that to ensure an adaption of these technologies in the society both the industry and the first responding units need to take ethical and legal consideration when developing and implementing these technologies.

The research topic "Interoperability of data, system, tools and equipment" address several impacts:
“Actions in this area will provide the adapted data, tools, systems and equipment technology basis and relevant knowledge for security capabilities needed in this (and also other) mission(s), as required by integrating industry and (private and/or public) end users. Significant improvements will be achieved with respect to performance, reliability, speed and cost.”
The BRIDGE project has demonstrated that it is possible to integrate heterogeneous devices, sensors, networks and systems into interoperable solutions, but systems need to be tailored to these extreme harsh conditions to work efficiently and reliably.

On the level of network communication, BRIDGE has showed novel solutions for interconnecting different sources in an ad-hoc manner, building reliable network connections through infrastructure-less ad-hoc networks. The middleware enables seamless integration of heterogeneous devices and sensors etc. and facilitate interoperability among these.

BRIDGE has developed services for quality and interoperability of context, providing meaningful, situation-dependent information to end-users. BRIDGE system also include actor agent networking services which created robust and efficient collaboration and training schemes across multi-agency emergency response or crisis management organizations. In addition, the BRIDGE system provide agent based human interfaces for interaction and empowerment of the end-users in these organizations. To these ends, BRIDGE provides also an actor agent network design framework handling the evolvable dependency amongst technology, organizations, human factors.

BRIDGE has also resulted in user interaction models for ad-hoc emergency management which included adaptive user interfaces, multimodal interaction, information sharing, and agent based human interfaces.

“Actions will reflect the mutual dependency of technology, organisational dynamics, human factors, societal issues as well as related legal aspects.”
BRIDGE has involved different stakeholders (industries, emergency managers, first responders, civilians etc.). The BRIDGE consortium has integrated end-users and domain specialists right from the start of the project. End-user and stakeholder involvement has been guaranteed by implementing an End-User Advisory Board consisting of representatives from experienced first responders and industry.

The BRIDGE consortium has also taken into account societal, ethical, and legal issues during the development of interoperable technical and organisational solutions in the project. Ethnographic studies and participatory interventions in the course of requirements analysis has been conducted in order to assure a well-balanced dependency between technology and societal, ethical and legal issues.

“It will also cover important issues such as harmonisation and standardisation, potential classification requirements, international co-operation needs, communication strategies etc.”
Crisis management on the national and even more multi-national level must be harmonised and standardised, with respect to technologies, processes, communication strategies etc. to be successful. BRIDGE aimed to bring relevant contributions to both, standardisation on the technical level and harmonization on the organisational level. This was done firstly by using existing standards whenever possible at all levels. We therefore used standards like EDXL and from OGC to share information, but this not always possible. When selecting icons for the user interface available sets like the set from the INDIGO project fulfilled the requirements so a combination of different standard set was chosen. This shows that there is still a need for standardisation on areas in the crisis management domain.

BRIDGE has also contributed to a harmonisation at the network layers by securing two patents related to ad-hoc networking. Further on, BRIDGE has contributed to the EC work on establishing security standards by attending and contributing to the Mandate M/487 work.

In the human computer area standardisation and harmonisation is also important and in the BRIDGE project we have developed a pattern library to encapsulate the best practices within a field of design of user interface in the crisis management domain.

List of Websites:
Project website:

Project Coordinator:
Forskningsveien 1, Oslo, Norway

Related information

Reported by



Follow us on: RSS Facebook Twitter YouTube Managed by the EU Publications Office Top