Logo GRF IDRC 2012
Session Overview
TUE1.1: ESS project – technical and conceptual challenges
Time: Tuesday, 28/Aug/2012: 8:30am - 10:00am
Session Chair: Chaim RAFALOWSKI, Magen David Adom
Location: Dischma

Session organized by Magen David Adom


ESS project – technical and conceptual challenges


1Magen David Adom, Israel; 2VERINT, Israel; 3CEREN, France; 4GMV, Spain; 5ALGO systems, Greece

ESS – Emergency Support System, is an EU – FP7 funded project - FP7-SEC-2007-01: Network Enabled command and control systems: Integrated Project 217951.

ESS (http://www.ess-project.eu) aims to provide a rapidly deployable and portable, platform which incorporate sensors and external web services from various sources into one operational system for supporting response to emergencies and crisis management allowing the creation of a real-time, common operational picture. The sensors and services include – chemical, weather, fixed ground cameras, airborne cameras, detection of the signals created by GPS, cellular, traffic information, hazards simulation and more. All this information is presented on a web based portal, which is accessible by the incident commanders at the command post, other stakeholders from anywhere, as well as by the field actors through PDA applications. Risk assessment modules, available in the ESS portal, support decision making during the crisis situation

The system performed a "proof of concept" test in Germany in June 2010 , and two full scale field exercises in France in cooperation with end users organizations of which one in Nimes in April 2012 addressing a flood related scenario associated with a virtual evacuation of a stadium and another test in Sisteron in June 2012 concerning a truck accident in a road tunnel causing a chemical spill in a nearby water course. A third test is planned for April of 2013 to test the system against a scenario of an airplane crash with a large forest fire start which shall cross the borders from France to Italy.

Objective of the idrc 2012 session is to provide the participants an insight into the system, as well as into the challenges encountered in the processes and the solutions the project came with.

Session program:

1. The Emergency Support System - ESS: Concept and technology (20’) - Gideon HAZZANI, VERINT (IL)

2. Emergency Support System - ESS : The end-user perspective (15’) – Chaim RAFALOWSKI, MDA (IL)

3. Emergency Support System - ESS: System’s field tests and lessons learned (30’) – Adrien MANGIAVILLANO, CEREN (FR)

4. Emergency Support System - ESS : Demonstration of the web-portal (30’) – Jose HERRERO, GMV (ES)

5. Discussion and conclusions - round table (25’) Moderated by George EFTYCHIDIS, ALGO (GR)


The ESS project is partially funded by the European Commission, Directorate General Enterprise, under the Grant agreement No.217951 of the SECURITY Programme (Theme 10) of the Seventh Framework Programme.

The Emergency Support System - ESS: Concept and technology


VERINT, Israel

An abnormal event can be defined as a sudden change or cumulative changes in one or several mediums which it interacts with (Telecom, Air, Spatial, Acoustic, Visual & more). The effective control of abnormal events means: monitoring each medium independently in real-time, activating an alarm when sudden or cumulative changes in one or more mediums are detected, and when necessary contacting the affected population and supporting mass evacuation capabilities.

The ESS project is an integrated web-based ICT platform which includes several data gathering components deployed in the incident scene and a revolutionary crisis communication system that reliably transmit filtered and pre-organized data streams to the crisis command center. Fusion of data from a variety of sources for generating intelligent information and creating a reliable Common Operational Picture (COP) can support critical decisions and improve the efficiency of crisis management operations.

The information streams in ESS are organized in a way that they can be easily enhanced by and combined with other available applications and databases (thus enabling the coupling of the ESS system with crisis decision support systems currently under development). The ESS provides web-based access to information originated from several sources. Cooperation between systems and applications is obtained using open interfaces (API) which fact allows public authorities to add to the system more applications customized to their particular needs. ESS data, functionalities and data flow are based on ISO, INSPIRE and OGC standards. Any commercial application adopting these standards will be able to connect to ESS in the future.

The ESS prototype integrates existing ground and aerial platforms for data collection, GIS and location based services (including traffic management and control), risk assessment applications, information broadcasting and group messaging platforms, lawful interception solutions, 3D visualization tools etc.

Emergency Support System - ESS : The end-user perspective


Magen David Adom, Israel

ESS is expected to be an interoperable platform of systems and components for collecting and exchanging data between the incident theater and the operational center as well as for deriving intelligence from these data in order to support more efficient decision taking during emergencies.

From the users point of view the ESS system addresses the requirements of both the tactical and operational level of the scene actors during emergency and crisis management operations. Police, Fire Brigade, Coast Guard, Border Security, environmental protection agencies Health Services, and Emergency Medical Services are the main stakeholders of ESS. Furthermore Civil Protection and Emergency management agencies, Local and Regional Governments and Authorities are considered as additional stakeholders of the system.

A series of table top exercises (TTX) held by end-users organizations in various countries allowed the participants to identify the operational requirements that the ESS system should satisfy in order to comply with users’ expectations and to improve the current crisis management operations. These requirements include the adaptation to the organizational structure of public services, operating needs of various configurations, easiness and rapid deployment of system components, rapid set-up of the web-based ESS platform, autonomous operation in terms of energy and telecommunication needs etc. All these requirements have been considered in the design and implementation of the ESS prototype and they are repeatedly validated during the ESS field tests.

The active involvement of the end-users in the implementation of the ESS field tests is a critical issue which supports the direct users’ feedback to the system developers in order to fine tune the system’s operation according to the operational needs. The expectations and requirements of operational users from the ESS system will be summarized and discussed during this session.

Emergency Support System - ESS: System’s field tests



ESS project implements a series of tests in the field following pre-defined scenarios for validating several aspects of the system. The field trials are considered as the most attractive and effective dissemination and exploitation event of the ESS project. Due to the complex configuration of the prototype system there is a wide range of interested components that are tested and demonstrated in simulated or real conditions in the field with the involvement of operational actors. The field test of the ESS prototype allow familiarization with the ESS system and its components , on-hands experience to end-users, validation on the operational deployment and use of the platform in realistic situations, and feedback to the consortium as regards the end-users acceptance of the system itself.

There is a plan for implementing three different field tests of the ESS system during the years 2012 and 2013 in France. The respective scenarios include a fire in a forested area near the French-Italian borders (Vescavo pass), a flood event in the area of a crowded stadium (Nimes, FR) and a toxic substance release following a car accident in a road tunnel (Sisteron, FR). Several components (UAV, Air Baloon, UGV, wireless environmental sensors, IMSI catcher etc) are used during the tests and their integration to the ESS web platform is validated. Furthermore the integration of applications for traffic monitoring, toxic cloud dispersion, forest fire propagation etc is demonstrated during the tests. Operating ESS under different scenarios is needed in order to test the system’s capabilities in different kinds of crises using a variety of data sources and relevant systems and applications. Two of these field tests performed during the first semester of 2012 have provided several results and lessons learned for potential users of the ESS system which will be presented and discussed during this session.

Emergency Support System - ESS : The web-portal


GMV, Spain

The ESS system is backed by a web-based platform which ensures ubiquitous access to the data built and the information created using the systems components, modules and applications. The web portal is the heart of the ESS system since it serves the fusion of data and aggregation of information for creating the Common Operational Picture required by the operational users. The platform is designed in a modular way and consists of a number of modules and sub-modules which behave as autonomous elements that communicates with each other to provide the complete system. Suitable interfaces and web-services allow the user accessing external applications and collect relative information which is transparently integrated into the unique user interface of the web portal.

The web portal has been designed with a Service-Oriented Mentality, where each piece of functionality is seen as a suite of interoperable services that can be used within multiple, separate systems. In that aspect, the portal acts as a kind of middleware, offering a set of web-services that can be used by external applications to retrieve the data they need to provide additional emergency management functionalities not covered in the portal. Thus the web portal allows ESS to operate as a modular and dynamic suite of emergency management components and applications integrated in a single ICT system.

As part of the ESS prototype, a suite of several components for collecting data (cameras, sensors, cellular probes etc), risk and emergency management applications (weather monitoring, traffic monitoring, forest fire propagation, toxic cloud dispersion etc) and alert communication modules are integrated with the ESS portal, to illustrate the wide range of tools that could be supported by the system.