The purpose of the iTRACK project is to ensure that the tracking and threat detection system developed during the project provides decision support to civilian humanitarian missions, enabling information-driven self-organisation and coordination, as well as rapid adaptation to dynamically changing situations and better protection of civilians. This cannot be done without considering social and ethical issues through the objectives, methodology and intended impact.
The iTRACK project seeks to develop a single integrated system for use in civilian missions. This will bring together open sourced solutions into cost effective, real-time, integrative system that can be used by humanitarian organisations operating civilian missions, as well as carry out a privacy and ethical impact assessment of the iTRACK system. Such an approach ensures that attention is paid to the ethical and legal considerations associated with tracking people and assets. Ethical concerns in relation to this could be associated with the nature of the background technology used (on which the open technology depends). The project will endeavour to use open background technologies to develop the iTRACK system.
As iTRACK is a research and innovation action, it is essential to share the high quality results of the project with stakeholders who are likely to benefit from it.
iTRACK's technical team has succesfully delivered a prototype of a first version of the iTRACK system. This includes many technologies that help humanitarian teams do their job logistics-wise and also be aware of any potential threat that could put the team in danger. These are technologies that help the team to be in touch 24/7, report threats to any affected iTRACK user and also do the follow up of all missions that are in the field aiding benefitiaries and trying to come back safe home.
The team has developed a logistics user interface (Backend DSE: Backend Decision Support Engine) that gathers all the information from missions in real time (routes conditions, missions' progress,etc.) that also includes a wizard for fast mission set up. This tool also includes a security assessment module that enables the creation and validation of threats coming from many information sources such as official reports, social media and intra-network messages. This component includes a machine learning based module that recognizes patterns in plain text and deliver alerts about potential threats. Moreover, logistics is supported by a mobile application that enables the registration of goods inside all missions and the reporting of lost/damaged goods.
The iTRACK team also implemented a navigation mobile application for drivers that includes a threat aided re-routing mechanism that communicates with the logistics center in real time when the mission schedules another route in the presence of a threat alert. It also connects with the On-board sensing and threat detection device that is a smart camera that can detect threats in the field and localize a vehicle with no GPS signal. This component employs computer vision complex techniques to deliver enhanced localization and threat detection capabilties.
Finally, the team delivered a mobile application for mission's staff to communicate in real time and also to report threats both to mission control center and horizontally with other mission's members.
In the next phase, the iTRACK team faces many challenges for delivering a robust solution for humanitarian workers. The system will be tested in a simulated environment and will provide iTRACK with more insights on how to improve. A second version of the system will be implemented and tested for the final evaluation event.
The project is on schedule and a sound number of deliverables have been already submitted and presented below. For reasons of security in a conflict context some deliverables need to remain confidential. Nevertheless, we are guided by the principle of transparency and are happy to disseminate information about the project. For this purpose we have produced public deliverables, which are already available on our project website and the list will be updated continuously.