The goal of the IDRC feasibility study is to elaborate an operational service which exploits the capabilities of satellite communication, satellite navigation and Earth Observation, to help the disaster response community better conduct their operations. The study includes the analysis of the user and stakeholder requirements as well as the state of the art of available solutions. In addition, the work defines a sustainable service model, conducive to make the benefits of space assets more widely accessible to the disaster response community.
The IDRC service is an enhanced iteration of the existing emergency.lu solution, which provides a powerful satellite communication kit to support the early phases of the disaster relief when terrestrial communication is compromised in the aftermath of a disaster. The service offers a one-stop-shop complete solution, fully integrated into the European alerting procedures, which is Europe’s reference communication service for disaster response.
Users and their needs
The main users are:
- Civil protection agencies
- Emergency services
- European Institutions
- Nongovernmental organisations
The project is supported by the Administration for Disaster Relief of Slovenia (URSZR) and the Protection Civil of the region Friuli, Venetia and Giulia of Italy (PCRAFVG) , as well as by the owner of the emergency.lu platform, the Luxembourg government.
General Communication needs
- Access to voice and data communication as soon as possible after the first alert. (8 to 24 hours after the alert)
- Easy to use by emergency personal that had a one day training.
- Extensibility of the communication solution to allow a use in the later phase of the rescue operation with a higher demand for communication capacity.
- Nearly world-wide coverage
- Reasonable communication costs, (preferred flat-rate to allow usage during training and exercise)
- A one-stop-shop that is alerted and follows then automatically predefined procedures
- Directory services:
- Voice communication:
- Map distribution:
- Tracking and Tracing of people / vehicles:
- Map Assessment:
- Picture sharing:
- Food distribution / Asset Management:
- Situation reports:
- File sharing:
- Email Services:
- Alerting / Status requests
All European and worldwide users are targeted by the IDRC service.
Service/ system concept
IDRC service is using following concept:
- A defined pre-booked satellite capacity is available 24/7.
- On-demand additional capacity can be added.
- The satellite coverage is nearly global:
- Special ruggedized satellite communication terminals are available 24/7
- The solution for first responders can be transported by a Lear jet. This is accomplished by using an inflatable antenna and a terminal that fits into a case (Rapid Deployment Unit).
- The solution for bigger teams can be transported by air transport and uses a transportable antenna (Regular Deployment Unit).
- Lear Jets provided are available 24/7 and are ready to start 2 hours after alerting.
- Voice communication service via IP is provided.
- A 24/7 maintenance is guaranteed.
- The terminals are tested and updated at least once every 3 months.
- At least every 6 month the users are trained with the equipment.
- Enhanced satellite communication services.
- Enhanced local communication services e.g. 3G/LTE, WiFi/WiMAX, TETRA
- Enhanced Geo-referenced aerial and/or satellite imagery services:
- Enhanced user communication services:
- Presence management, messaging.
- Enhanced mobile applications.
Space Added Value
The solution makes use of the three space assets:
- Satellite communication
To provide communication mean and connectivity in disaster areas where the existing communication is destroyed or not operable anymore
- Satellite Navigation services
To allow the tracking of rescue teams and equipment
- Earth Observation Services
To increase the situational awareness for the first responders access to earth observation images is integrated into the solution
(The image above is an example.)
The results from the IDRC feasibility study show that the proposed service will very likely lead to an innovative, broadly usable and commercial profitable service with a high benefit for the emergency user on a long-term range.
The potential users are very interested in the service and the necessary technologies are available now and proven by the emergency.lu solution.
The main topic is the affordability of the service. In the last user workshop the users made the proposal that the best solution for them would be to share the service with other users to reduce the yearly costs.
Discussions at the end of the project showed that this sharing model could be an interesting option that should be evaluated further.
The results of this discussion will be an important input for a follow on demonstration project that should be started end of 2015..