Standardisation in DRIVER+

The DRIVER+ project will extensively promote its results through various standardisation activities. The activities are targeted to raise awareness within the DRIVER+ project about existing standards and standardisation activities in the field of crisis management and to identify standardisation needs of the project. The project has already identified some relevant standards. These standards reflect the state-of-the-art and build the basis for future standardisation ideas. These ideas are presented below and will be assessed until the end of 2018. You are warmly invited to check out the ideas and to take part in the assessment of these ideas!

What is a standard?
A standard is a document:

  consensus based,

  developed by experts, and

  approved by a recognized body.

Standards provide rules, guidelines or characteristics for activities or their results, reflecting the state-of-the-art. They are based on the consolidated results of science, technology and experience with the aim of promoting the optimum community benefits.

Standardisation in Crisis Management

Standardisation in the area of crisis management is conducted on national (AFNOR, ANSI, BSI, DIN, NEN, SA, …), European (CEN, CENELEC, ETSI) and international (ISO, IEC, ITU) levels in various technical committees (TC) and their working groups. In those working groups experts from the associated field develop the standards content, while members of the standardisation bodies manage their discussion and results. The most related topics to DRIVER+ project are discussed on international level in ISO/TC 292 – Security and resilience and on European level in CEN/TC 391 – Social and Citizen Security.

DRIVER+ is cooperating with CEN/CENELEC and is therefore working closely with members of CEN/TC 391.

How can standardisation support research projects?

A new developed method (such as the Trial Guidance Methodology) an innovative product (such as the Test-bed infrastructure) or the advancement of a process (such as the Social Impact Assessment Framework) can be the outcomes and results of a research project.

But what happens with these results after the conclusion of the project? How does the market or the industry get to know about these results?

One possible answer is: via standards.

A research project such as DRIVER+ can provide its ideas and results as first suggestion for a potential standard document. Therefore it has three possibilities

     Contribution to ongoing standardisation activities: Before a final approval every standard is published in a draft version. In this stage a research project can comment on the draft standard. Every comment must be taken into account by the standard developer.

       Submission of a proposal for a new standardisation work: The research project submits a completed form for a new standardisation work to a standardisation body. As European research project in the area of crisis management, DRIVER+ would most likely hand in such a form to CEN.

      Development of a CEN Workshop Agreement: A CEN Workshop Agreement (CWA) is a document developed by experts, who do not have to be member of a technical committee and published by CEN with a maximum lifetime of six years. It is open to everyone interested in participating in the development of the document and needs to be approved only by the workshop member. It is a pre-standard and aims to be used as input for formal standards. Anyway, it may not conflict with European standards. More information regarding the development process can be found on the CEN website. A CWA developed in a project funded by the EU can be publicly available and free of charge. This makes a CWA a perfect tool for dissemination and exploitation.

DRIVER+ Liaison with CEN/Technical Committee 391

 DRIVER+ is cooperating with CEN/TC 391 – Social and Citizen Security.

This liaison helps to build cooperation between research projects and standardisation. Its aim is to transfer results of research projects into standards. DRIVER+, being a research project, is therefore entitled to participate in CEN/TC 391, which means that the possibility exists to:

  • propose technical documents with a view of their possible conversion into CEN deliverables, through the regular consensus and approval process.
  • introduce preparatory work as a support to ongoing standardisation activities.
  • submit technical contributions to the CEN/TC 391 meetings.
  • formulate advice on current and future standards programmes.

For further information consult, CEN-CENELEC Guide 25.

DRIVER+ proposals for standards

Which idea will be followed as standardisation activity in DRIVER+?

During a standardisation potential workshop, the project partners identified seven ideas with a potential for standardisation. Which idea will be followed as a standardisation activity of DRIVER+ and what kind of standardisation document will result, depends on an ongoing assessment and the feedback of the standardisation commitees. 

You are kindly invited to partake in this assessment! Click on the link regarding the idea you want to comment on and fill in the related survey.

Unification of Symboles in COP Tool

The DRIVER+ partners see a need for a standard in the area of communication, in particular for the representation of a crisis situation using Common Operational Picture (COP) tools. Common Operational Picture tools are command and control tools that provide situational awareness, enabling users to make accurate, informed decisions based on current or planned activities, typically by providing a map of an area where a crisis has occurred, integrating different layers of information coming from different input sources. The crisis situation, including the threats (fires, explosions, hot and cold zones, flooding) as well as the assets (fire trucks, ambulances, aeroplanes etc.) is represented by symbols on this map. These symbols can differ in their meaning: for example, a pictogram of an aeroplane can represent one aeroplane, while a miniature fire engine might represent a special, tactical set of more than one vehicle. However, those symbols are not consistent and their interpretation varies between crisis managers from different regions and organisations and also depends on the supplier of the COP tool.

In order to allow for an improved coordinated response in particular for cross-border crisis situations, a proposal for a standard is to harmonise those symbols. The aim of this is to enhance a shared understanding and to increase the emergency responder (syntactical) interoperability between different organisation as well as different European Member States cooperating in the framework of the EUCPM (EU Civil Protection Mechanism). Consequently, it will improve the crisis response capacity of the European Union and will allow for an accelerated decision making in crisis situations.

Requirements on Anonymisation for Social Media Data

Social Media is becoming more and more important in Crisis Management, not just as a tool to communicate with the public during a crisis, but also for tasking volunteers and for improving the situational awareness of the responders. In crisis situtations they are used to pushing information (advice, alerts, information) but also to collecting information (crowd sourcing) from the public. A role is dedicated to this task: the Social Media Managers. When they are scanning Social Media, posts of relevance need to be identified and cross checked with other information to become relieable so that they can support the management of the crisis.

Social Media data are most often considered as Personal Data as they can reveal either in their content or in their metadata the identity of their author. In order to be able to use this information for Crisis Management purpose and use it in a way that is in line with the GPDR, it is therefore necessary to perform some kind of anonymisation of these data.  Depending of the usage, the level  of anonymisation which must be performed depends on the purpose. The DRIVER+ partners propose to standardise some levels of anonymisation at a scale, which would help both the prescription for anonymisation and its implementation by solution providers.

Requirements on information exchange across borders and organisations

DRIVER+ partners identified that the communication between different organisation, regions and countries – with their specific processes and tools – as a major challenge in crisis management. But efficient communication and access to critical information is a key requirement for the operations of public safety and security services in disasters.  Several examples demonstrate the relevance of adequate information exchange, e.g. Altay & Labonte 2014  for the management of the devastating earthquake in Haiti or Tso & McEntire 2011 related to the Chi-Chi earthquake in 1999. Information exchange remains a key factor in present time, as shown by Wolbers & Boersma 2013 or Smith 2012.

The DRIVER+ partners have therefore proposed standardising a process to implement interoperability and hence formulate requirements on this process, whilst also looking at the technical sides of communication – the communication of different tools with each other via a common information space. The overall goal is to ensure syntactical as well as semantic interoperability in crisis situations.

Social Impact Assessment Framework

Under which circumstances is it acceptable to use drones in Crisis Management (CM)? Answering this or similar questions related to the societal impact of a particular solution is crucial and complex. What societal impact does the technology itself – the drone – have? And what societal impact does its implementation have? Selecting a CM solution in a societal responsible way requires a systematic assessment approach that will allow an evaluation of the way the solution may impact the society. Therefore the SIA framework was developed within the DRIVER+ project. The framework contains a structured methodology for assessing societal impact of CM solutions in order to avoid negative societal side effects. The framework consists of two main elements: functions and criteria. These two elements are portrayed in a user-friendly table that allows a quick identification of a societal responsible solution. The assessment is designed to enable its application to any particular solution. The potential standard will raise awareness on the importance of societal impact assessment in CM.

TrIAl Guidance Methodology

What is the best way to assess Crisis Management solutions in such a way that they meet the end-users expectations? This is one of the challenges DRIVER+ project is taking on. Therefore the project partners are developing a methodology to guide practitioners to be able to trial innovative solutions. This methodology is a structured approach to trial and evaluate crisis management solutions in a very practical way. A solution in this case is seen as a socio-technical entity: a tool, software, training, a procedure or a combination of these. They can be at very different Technology Readiness Levels (TRL), so the trial can either focus mostly on guiding the development or on introducing innovation to the end-user.

The Trial Guidance Methodology (TGM) is conceived for high-level crisis managers, as it supportsthe investigation of innovations, in terms of new capabilities leading to improved crisis management operations. It focuses on a step-by-step approach to carry out Trials in a pragmatic yet sound and ethical way in three main phases:

  1. The preparation phase, which consists of the iterative and co-creative DRIVER+ six-step approach (i.e., identify the Trial objective, formulate research questions, formulate data collection plan, formulate evaluation techniques and metrics, formulate the scenario and select solutions).
  2. The execution phase, which consists of two Dry Runs and the actual execution of the Trial. The Dry Runs are the rehearsal to be carried out before the Trials to check both technical and methodological issues.
  3. The evaluation phase, which covers the analysis of the Trial and also includes communication strategies.

The aim of the TGM is to ensure an objective assessment, which enables the end-user to find the right solution that is really able to help with the challenges being faced, by assesing it in a scenario that is as realistic as possible. The solution could be in the development phase or in the procurement process – depending on the TRL and the end-users interest. The idea behind this is to bring innovation to the end-user – more quickly and more effective than nowadays.

Building a Common Simulation Environment

How to prepare for a crisis situation? This is one of the questions crisis managers are facing every day. For this preparation, they train and test different response procedures, decision making and (creative) problem solving, together with using operational systems and innovative crisis management solutions. Many of those solutions can be trained with and tested in a virtual reality, by using a simulated crisis situation instead of a physically staged or even real incident. The DRIVER+ Test-bed Infrastructure provides a data exchange interface for multiple systems to connect to (i.e. operational crisis management systems and simulators providing a virtual crisis) via standardised connections.

To produce a suitable virtual crisis, one could use different simulations, benefitting from the advantages of multiple simulators. A Test-bed Infrastructure for example might consist of one simulator calculating and showing the flow of water during a flood, another simulator that provides critical information (e.g. capacity, reachability) of hospitals, police stations, power stations etc, and a third simulator imitating relevant resources moving to and from incident sites. These three simulators need to work together using one shared time and coordination system and exchange information, as for example the water levels may influence the traffic flow, to present the crisis managers a consistent common simulation space.

DRIVER+ partners would like to standardise how these simulators work together, which information they exchange and what the technical basis of their interaction looks like. This standardisation would ease the cooperation between different simulators and therefore facilitate the quick creation of a common virtual training/test environment, which comes closer to its real-world equivalent. These standardised connectors are designed to be easy to implement, taking into account budget availability of civil emergency services and that some simulators are not designed to be interoperable by design (although some military simulators are interoperable by design). Being able to connect different simulators without major integration efforts, improves the capability development process, positively contributes to the trialling of new and innovative solutions and improves the preparatory work especially for large-scale exercises.

Further information regarding the test-bed implementation can be found here.

Requirements on Scenario Description

If a Crisis Management professional plans to test a particular solution, a crisis scenario providing the context in which the solution is intended to operate, is needed as basis for this test. Scenarios are developed both in many European funded research projects and by public safety organisations building scenarios to test (innovative) solutions. But they are not doing it in a consistent way and therefore the assessment of the solution, as well the results of this assessment, are not directly comparable.

Therefore DRIVER+ partners propose standardising the requirements with respect to the development of such scenarios – and that enable the assessment of potential solutions in a realistic environment. This standard idea will focus on the methodology of the scenario building and therefore plans to provide criteria on a scenario description and steps to be followed in a systematic way. The goal is to use this potential standard to improve comparibility of solutions, because they would be all tested in the same way with the same criteria and features of a scenario if they follow this standard. This would enhance the shared understanding of different solutions in European CM area. Additionally it is planned to simplyfy the preperation of a Trial from a practioner perspective, by providing the criteria in the form of a check-list.