Integrating Space Assets for UK Civil Resilience

You are here

The purpose of the project is to develop new integrated operational services using existing space assets to support a federation of users within the UK civil contingencies community. The Feasibility Study will involve an in-depth analysis of user requirements and propose integrated solutions including space asset requirements, application architecture and business models. The underlying analysis of user requirements will include a detailed analysis of the current capabilities, gaps and user requirements for space systems.

The objectives of the Feasibility Study are:

  • to define the information requirements for emergency response;
  • to assess the current use of terrestrial and space (Earth Observation, satellite navigation, satellite communications) systems;
  • to identify gaps in current systems with respect to user needs;
  • to confirm priority applications based on user requirements analysis;
  • to address issues of integration between space assets and terrestrial systems or between user groups;
  • to design the technical architecture (including Earth Observation, satellite navigation and satellite communications) for solutions proposed for the priority applications; and,
  • to determine the necessary investment and running costs.

Users and their needs

The project involves users across the UK Civil Resilience community at the national, regional and local levels. The Civil Contingencies Secretariat in the Cabinet Office is the "backbone" user and is facilitating their involvement.

The UK Civil Contingencies Secretariat has expressed a need for support to analyse the opportunities for increased exploitation of space assets within the UK civil contingencies community. Based within the UK Cabinet Office, the role of CCS is to work in partnership with government departments, devolved administrations and other stakeholders to improve emergency preparedness and response in the UK. As part of its mandate, CCS responsibilities include;

  • Identifying threats, assessing their nature and providing warnings
  • Readiness to respond
  • Building greater resilience for the future
  • Providing leadership and guidance to the resilience community
  • Effective management of Cabinet Office processes

CCS representatives envisage that space technology should be utilised to support the first four responsibilities listed above.

The project is a first for the UK in terms of bringing together the UK resilience community and experts covering this spectrum of services derived from space assets. Civil resilience is a top priority for the UK, and at this early stage of the project the overall feasibility of the proposed concept is positive in that the users are committed to working with the project consortium to develop an integrated service that will improve their ability to respond effectively to emergencies in the UK. The users that are driving the project include the full spectrum of national, regional and local authorities. The full assessment of the feasibility status will take place in conjunction with the users throughout the Feasibility Study.

Service/ system concept

The service is expected to support UK emergency response practitioners with additional geospatial information that can be used for situation reporting and advising on asset deployment. The service will also be delivered using communications systems with added resilience.

Space Added Value

The added-value of the project stems from the delivery of a joined-up set of services for the UK Civil Resilience Community. These services will be integrated in terms of both the space assets and shared/compatible systems across multiple user groups. The result will be to better exploit space assets for delivery of services tailored to UK scenarios for the first time. More specifically, the expected added-value brought to the users through these solutions includes,

  • Improved information content for situational awareness during emergencies.
  • Improved timeliness, completeness, consistency and relevance of spatial data resources for responders and the public.
  • Improved functionality of existing systems (e.g. NRE).
  • Better exploitation of relevant programs such as GMES and the International Charter.
  • Improved delivery of emergency management information to responders and to the public using satellite communications and navigation.
  • More reliable access to information (including EO data) through satellite communications and navigation.
  • More effective procurement for user groups through a coordinated approach for national and regional efforts to access space services.
  • A visible point of contact for the resilience community to make requests for support and provide input for UK requirements and positions on space programs under development.
  • Improved dissemination of information about the capabilities and opportunities for the resilience community to exploit space assets.
  • A model for sustainability of the service as well as opportunities to easily integrate future EO, satellite communications and navigation systems into the solutions.
  • A technical architecture that will meet the users requirements, is technically viable, and can be integrated with current operational procedures and equipment available for UK civil resilience.

 

Product Benefits

The project is a first for the UK in terms of bringing together the UK resilience community and experts covering this spectrum of services derived from space assets. Civil resilience is a top priority for the UK, and at this stage of the project the overall feasibility of the proposed concept is positive in that the users are committed to working with the project consortium to develop an integrated service that will improve their ability to respond effectively to emergencies in the UK. The users that are driving the project include national and local authorities. The demonstration of the service will allow the UK civil resilience community to test an integrated service that includes a spectrum of capabilities offered by space assets.

Product Features

All system specifications and architecture will be driven by the detailed user requirements and the analysis of existing user systems. The proposed framework for service development is a bottom-up approach with the service providers moving the services up through the delivery chain to emergency responders. The service delivery chain will include the National Resilience Extranet (NRE).

The EO input will draw on a multi-sensor approach to emergency management in order to satisfy the requirement for rapid mapping and any routine pre-event requirements. The sensors to be included in the service will be identified based on the user requirements analysis. Just as important as the EO technologies is the organisation, coordination and procurement model for a multi-sensor approach for the resilience community. This has been as big a barrier to exploitation to date as the perceived limitations in timeliness of the data delivery. Information on locations of affected people could also be dispersed to emergency responders using the mobile communication system.

The satellite communications input will be integrated with users current terrestrial communications capabilities and strengthened by the most suitable satellite communications services. The satellite navigation input will provide the timing and positioning reference required for setup and accurate triangulation of assets that can be used by field teams and integrated with a system for geo-referencing field reports, observations and measurements. This input will provide a real-time information system that will enhance situational awareness (the real-time information system will exist in the NRE). Through the NRE, this information could also be relayed to neighbouring regions that may have additional emergency management activities or to other responders that may be following the event in preparation for similar emergencies in their own area.

Key Issues

The UK Civil Contingencies Secretariat has expressed a need for support to analyse the opportunities for increased exploitation of space assets within the UK civil contingencies community. Based within the UK Cabinet Office, the role of CCS is to work in partnership with government departments, devolved administrations and other stakeholders to improve emergency preparedness and response in the UK. As part of its mandate, CCS responsibilities include;

  • Identifying threats, assessing their nature and providing warnings.
  • Readiness to respond.
  • Building greater resilience for the future.
  • Providing leadership and guidance to the resilience community.
  • Effective management of Cabinet Office processes.

CCS representatives envisage that space technology should be utilised to support the first four responsibilities listed above.

Current Status

The Feasibility Study is complete and is likely to go to a Phase 2 Demonstration with support of CCS. Plans for the demonstration include testing the service in national and local level exercises.

Project Managers

Contractor Project Manager

Adina Gillespie
Tycho House, 20 Stephenson Road
Guildford, Surrey
GU2 7YE
United Kingdom

ESA Project Manager

Tony Sephton
ECSAT
Didcot
OX11 0QX
United Kingdom

Status Date

Updated: 24 September 2012 - Created: 15 February 2014