IT systems for managing large-scale incidents


Natural catastrophes, large-scale terrorist attacks, and technological disasters in production plants can harm large numbers of people and bring about considerable financial cost. Despite continuous advances in technology, such disasters still pose a sizeable threat. When international emergency agencies work together on a rescue mission, communication problems – whether technical, organizational, or differences in risk assessment criteria – can cause risky delays and prevent key measures from being applied.

To face these problems, BRIDGE is developing solutions that ensure the interoperability, harmonization and cooperation among stakeholders on the technical and organizational level. These solutions bring together information from all existing communication pathways and processes, including information contributed from individuals outside of the intervening organizations.

The vision of the BRIDGE project is to:

  • establish and develop new methods and tools for supporting and optimizing cross-border and cross-agency collaboration
  • allow the creation of a common, comprehensive, and reliable operational picture of the incident site
  • enable integration of resources and technologies into the workflow management.
  • enable active ad-hoc participation of third parties.

Social practices, ethical concerns, legal and bureaucratic demands must be taken into consideration during the realization of this vision. Therefore, BRIDGE will facilitate constructive deep integration of multi-dimensional social, legal, ethical analysis into ambitious interdisciplinary user-led socio-technical innovation. 

Expected Results

BRIDGE will deliver socio-technical innovation in multi-agency emergency collaboration. Ethnographical work will construct a deep understanding of the first responders’ domain, also in terms of social, legal and ethical issues. A participative design process translates the ideas resulting from BRIDGE into real-life applications. The technical platform will deliver:

  • a middleware for the networking and interoperability of data, systems and technology
  • advanced HCI-techniques for the effortless exploration of a high-quality, common operational picture
  • runtime inter- and intra-agency collaboration through enhanced organizational workflows & communication processes.

A complete installation of the BRIDGE platform will be conducted during the project's last year. The aim is to test the platform in a crisis-like situation and with realistic data volumes, constraints, and inputs. In particular, this test will observe how BRIDGE improves the cooperation between participating actors (emergency central, police, firefighters, medical personnel, and civilians at the disaster-affected area). 

Fraunhofer FIT's participation in BRIDGE

The Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Information Technology is responsible for the overall technical coordination of the BRIDGE project. One of Fraunhofer FIT's crucial tasks is to further adjust and develop the LinkSmart Middleware from the Hydra Project. This middleware allows intelligent networking of ubiquitous, mobile, and stationary devices.

Additionally, Fraunhofer FIT coordinates the user-centered design process and leads the scenario-based requirements analyses. Fraunhofer FIT also develops interactive prototypes that can be simply, efficiently, and intuitively deployed in emergency situations.

Official project website

BRIDGE – Bridging Resources and Agencies in Large-scale Emergency Management is co-funded by the European Commission within the 7th Framework Program.