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Developing effective early warning and alert systems save lives and protect citizens, property and the environment in the event of natural and man-made disasters. In its document “Towards Better Protection of Citizens against Disaster Risks: Strengthening Early Warning Systems in Europe”, the Commission points out that it seeks to follow a multi-hazard approach, to develop near real time alert systems, to ensure a near real time dissemination of alerts to Participating States, and to improve its rapid analytical capacity.

Disasters are notorious for extending across multiple jurisdictions and the modern disaster response operational environment is fraught with agencies with different mandates. Multi-agency coordination systems emphasize the need for joint incident action planning. A common operational picture facilitates collaborative planning and fosters situational awareness.

The amount of content that must be reviewed in order to track a hazard and prepare for a disaster is dramatically increasing. Traditional natural disaster data collection and existing models or systems and external open sources all contribute to the available information. Disaster preparedness and response naturally carries a geographic component. Every flood or earthquake happens somewhere and Civil Protection workers need location information to accomplish their mission. Information analysis is currently done in a virtual text-only world rather than in the context of geo­spatial data and digital maps. Therefore, analysis tools to handle the vast amount of information available at all levels of the organization are needed. With recent reorganizations and personnel shortages, improvements to analysis tools are even more vital.

Models for single hazards do currently exist. This project focuses on the use and adaptation of EXISTING MODELS, SYSTEMS or TOOLS in an INTEGRATIVE and SYNERGISTIC capacity for prepare for disasters and plan for MULTI-HAZARD incidents. In addition, the proposal addresses/deals with the challenge/gap/issue to integrate risk assessment with the common operational picture. The use of a gee-spatial early-warning decision support system (GE-DSS), combined with a geographic information system (GIS) solution, fuses text and geographic information into one view. This enables local, regional and national Civil Protection authorities to detect patterns in large collections of documents based on their relationship with locations. Now a standard analysis tool in many intelligence organisations, Civil Protection can leverage geospatial technology with large databases and a DSS to improve situational awareness and preparedness.

Finally, Civil Protection authorities have varying degrees of early warning capabilities, while the level of preparedness and interoperability within the European Union and beyond could be increased by using remote sensing and/or geographic information analysis.

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