ICT at IPSC
One of the core competences of the Institute for the Protection and Security of the Citizen (IPSC) is in the field of information technologies, in particular in satellite image processing and analysis, open source information analysis, risk assessment.
The following is a selection of current activities and recent achievements with an important IT component:
– SATELLITE IMAGE ANALYSIS
The institute expertise in the analysis of satellite images is applied in several fields: security and crisis management (disaster reduction, conflict prevention, crisis response and support to post-crisis rehabilitation and reconstruction), agriculture (crop forecasts and subsidies control), fisheries and maritime surveillance. The research work of IPSC’s scientists focuses in particular on methods for the automatic image processing and information extraction.
Extraction of building parameters
One recent achievement is the development of a method for automatic extraction of building parameters from satellite images.
IPSC developed, tested and validated methods for height derivation of buildings and man-made structures from several sources, namely: satellite and airborne Very High Resolution (VHR) and Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) imagery. Human settlements’ detection and analysis have been widely developed. First, studying the urban post-conflict change classification performance by spectral and structural features in a support vector machine; secondly, defining and testing a robust built-up area presence index by anisotropic rotation-invariant textural measure; thirdly, improving detection and characterisation of urban objects from VHR optical image data. This helped to develop a methodology to quantify built-up structures from optical VHR imagery. Further investigation was conducted on quantitative and qualitative validation of digital surface models. A very practical result is the estimation of velocity and direction of moving targets using a single optical VHR satellite image. On the basis of a single image, the process is remarkably simple, fast, effective and inexpensive. A specific study addressed double bounce scattering mechanism of buildings in polarimetric VHR SAR data.
– OPEN SOURCE INFORMATION ANALYSIS
IPSC works in the field of computer science and computational linguistics, specifically in the domain of Internet technologies, and information extraction and analysis in a multilingual environment, to massive data sets, including open source.
Media Monitoring System
The main product in this area is a Media Monitoring system (EMM – http://press.jrc.it). It monitors news media sources on the World Wide Web from all around the world in multiple languages, classifies the news, analyses the news using information extraction techniques, aggregates the information, provides notifications depending on their content and provides visual presentation of the information found. The fact that this system monitors, in real time, 80.000 new news articles per day from 2200 news web-sites world-wide in 42 different languages makes the system unique. The system forms the backbone of a number of applications developed by the action in support to EU policies concerned with crisis management, counter-terrorism, organised crime and media monitoring.
In 2008 the system was enhanced significantly to better deal with ideograph based languages like Chinese and Japanese and with other types of languages, specifically Arabic, and by extension Farsi. Special techniques were developed and software implemented to deal with various properties of these languages. Many more Chinese sources and category definitions were added. Chinese and Arabic were added to the language selection list and a complete Arabic user interface was created, correctly handling the right to left display issues. Many categories were enhanced with Arabic keywords. A license was obtained for Arabic and Chinese Statistical Machine Translation software which was integrated in the information processing chain. As a result, English translation of the title and description of both Chinese and Arabic articles are now available.
Crisis Management: Tsunami Analysis Tool
The Tsunami Analysis Tool (TAT) is being developed at the JRC-IPSC to assist operators in deciding if a tsunami has been generated or not, in case of a large enough seismic event. The decision is based on the comparison between pre-calculated scenarios and online sea level measurements. The TAT tsunami scenario database, developed by the IPSC, comprises 136,000 worldwide scenarios events computed every 0.5 degrees and for magnitudes between 6.5 and 9.5, every 0.25. Once a scenario is identified, the programme uses the calculated values to automatically generate the alerting messages that will be sent to the relevant authorities or for further processing.
The project RAILPROTECT “Innovative Technologies for Safer and More Secure Land Mass Transport Infrastructures under Terrorist Attacks” concerns both station infrastructures and rolling stocks. Considerable effort was dedicated in 2008 into adapting and developing the numerical simulation techniques and applying them for the assessment of the structural vulnerability of specific construction types encountered in the rail transport. This work was carried out within the structural analysis code EUROPLEXUS**. As agreed with the collaborating partners, a station in Paris was selected for case studies and two areas of this station and a subway coach have been successfully mapped using the 3D laser scanning technique “JRC-RECONSTRUCTOR”. These geometric data were further elaborated and became the required geometrical models for the structural calculations.
**EUROPLEXUS is a general explicit computer code for the transient dynamic analysis of fluid-structure systems. It allows to simulate explosions, shocks, impacts etc. in complex 3D geometries, and offers completely automatic modeling of fluid-structure interaction phenomena.
Its primary application spectrum is in safety studies of industrial problems, in the fields of energy generation, chemical plants, marine and offshore installations, transportation, and building vulnerability under natural and man- made hazards, e.g. terrorist attacks, to name just a few.
The code is mainly the fruit of more than two decades of collaboration between the JRC and the French Commissariat a l’Energie Atomique (CEA Saclay). A commercial version is now available through the Samtech software house .
IPSC performs interoperability tests in different areas:
As of 1 May 2006, a new control device for road vehicles, called a digital tachograph, became mandatory on newly registered trucks. The digital tachograph is an electronic recording device used to record and store data on driving times, breaks and rest periods of drivers. The security of the digital tachograph system, and the authenticity and integrity of electronic data recorded and stored, is dependent upon a range of technical, physical and procedural measures to resist attacks. In this respect, IPSC is managing two major services of the Digital Tachograph (DT): the European Root Certification Authority, which oversees the DT cryptographic key management infrastructure, and the Laboratory for Interoperability Certification. On the basis of a study carried out by IPSC on the known and theoretical threats to the overall security of the DT system, new measures aimed at detecting and preventing abuses of the DT as well as allowing the installation of adaptors on light vehicles were adopted by the Commission. In view of the mandatory introduction by June 2010 of the DT in non-EU contracting parties to the AETR (European Agreement Concerning the Work of Crews of Vehicle Engaged in International Road Transport), the IPSC was recognized by the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe as the AETR Authority for root certification and for interoperability certification.
Since the entry into force in June 2009 of the EU Regulation on the electronic passports all European States being part of the Schengen Agreement will issue electronic passports including a digital photo and digital firgerprints.
IPSC supports the implementation of this new legislation by carrying out tests to check that electronic passports issued by Member States conform to European standards and thus to foster the interoperability of electronic passports and readers within the EU.
Aviation and multimodal safety data
IPSC runs “ECCAIRS”, the European Centre for Collection and Assessment of Multimodal Transport Safety Data
Accidents can occur every day, everywhere and involving anybody. What one might not realize is that practically all accidents have been preceded by similar, but non-fatal, incidents that followed a just slightly different scenario. If we understand these precursors we can make a quantum leap forward towards preventing similar accidents from happening.
Directive 2003/42/EC on Occurrence Reporting in Civil Aviation obliges Member States to collect and exchange the information about these incidents since July 2005. ECCAIRS helps to cope with the implementation of the legislation. It offers standard and flexible accident and incident data collection, representation, exchange and analysis tools. Following the successful example given in the aviation domain, in the next future ECCAIRS will be applied in a similar way in the other two public transport domains: maritime and railways
The success of ECCAIRS in the aviation sector generated interest from two other transport domains: maritime and railways. A joint study with the European Maritime Safety Agency in Lisbon (EMSA) resulted in a functional prototype of a maritime version of ECCAIRS, which was positively evaluated by a group of Member States. As a result, EMSA decided to implement during 2009 their European Marine Casualty Information Platform (EMCIP) on top of ECCAIRS. Following the positive co-operation with EMSA, the European Railways Agency in Valenciennes (ERA), considers ECCAIRS as a platform for implementing their future European accident and incident database. A first prototype, based on ERA’s current taxonomy, was delivered at the end of the year. The multimodal capability of ECCAIRS is possible because of a redesign of its IT architecture. ECCAIRS is now constructed as a transport mode independent ‘ECCAIRS Common Framework’ on top of which specific extensions can be deployed. This approach minimizes development time for new extensions (even outside the transport domain if required), guarantees a long application continuity to end-users and offers significant savings for multimodal organisations by streamlining the IT and support requirements
Accident Analysis and Lessons Learned
A number of obligations put on the Commission by the Seveso Directive are being fulfilled through activities entrusted to MAHB. Such key activities are the Major Accident Reporting System (MARS) and the Seveso Plants Information Retrieval System (SPIRS), which are both maintained and managed by MAHB.
MARS is the reference major accidents database worldwide. It contains the accident reports submitted by the EU Member States in the context of the Seveso Directive and from OECD countries according to a voluntary scheme. In 2008, the new online system eMARS was developed based on the longstanding experience of MAHB in accident reporting and evaluation as well as extensive preparatory work in consultation with Member States. In December 2008, the European Commission adopted a decision establishing a new major accident report form for use by national authorities, which is part of eMARS. The new system marks an important step forward in improving the quality of accident reporting and in facilitating the dissemination of lessons learned, in turn helping to prevent the occurrence of similar accidents in the future. Safety practitioners such as operators, plant designers, operators and analysts, national authorities and the Seveso inspector community should significantly benefit from the improved efficiency of the eMARS system.
In parallel, the SPIRS system, presently containing data on about 8500 establishments from the EU and EEA countries, also managed successfully by MAHB, provides the Commission and the Member States with useful insights on the profile of industrial hazards.
– RADIO FREQUENCY IDENTIFICATION – RFID
Security of the supply chain
IPSC works on the development and validation, with respect to interoperability, performance and conformance to standards, of methodologies and equipment for the security of the supply chain.
IPSC develops different applications integrating intelligent seals (based on active and passive transponder technology) and other sensors in order to implement a fully intelligent system able to monitor and track over the internet or GSM network the status and the position of containers.