iTRACK – Trilateral’s new Crisis Management project
by Julia Muraszkiewicz
It was 10 am in the morning, when the first iTRACK alert signalled new attacks to a small town in the Middle East. The alert was sent from staff working in a hospital in town. Immediately, other civilian responders working in the regions received the report, and were advised to take protective measures. At the same time, a humanitarian convoy en route to the hospital was automatically informed and re-routed to the next warehouse with free capacity. Using the iTRACK devices, control centres could monitor their exact positioning and movements. The iTRACK intelligent threat prediction provided real-time updates on safe shelter locations, accessible areas and roads. Using the iTRACK navigation feature, the responders were safely directed to those places. Meanwhile, the activated iTRACK sensing devices on the assets and vehicles in town, combined with satellite imagery allowed for continuous updates of the threats and risks.
The iTRACK project (Integrated system for real-time TRACKing and collective intelligence in civilian humanitarian missions) is a three-year project that kicked off in May at the Universitetet i Agder in Kristiansand, Norway. The iTRACK project involves 12 partners from Norway, Spain, UK, Finland, Luxemburg, France, Netherlands, Italy and the US, and aims to develop technologies and innovative measures to assist humanitarian workers in crisis zones. In 2000 41 significant attacks on aid workers were recorded across the globe. By 2014, that number had risen to 190. Over 3,000 aid workers have been killed, injured or kidnapped during this period. The imagined scenario above highlights the need for trusted and direct data from the ground, rather than humanitarian response replying on reports from unreliable sources and unfiltered social media feeds. The iTRACK system will analyse threat patterns, the damages that have occurred, and provide a rapid assessment of humanitarian impacts and needs, in order to produce an integrated intelligent real-time tracking and threat identification system. iTRACK aims to improve the protection of responders and assets and will achieve this through an interdisciplinary, socio-technical approach, drawing on the latest advances in sensor development, GIS, security and privacy, artificial intelligence, information management, risk analysis, and humanitarian logistics. The iTRACK system will be deployed, implemented and tested in simulations with humanitarian practitioners in the on-going conflict disasters in the Middle East. Trilateral leads two work packages in the project: WP1: Research ethical requirements and monitoring and WP3 – iTrack privacy and ethical impact assessment.
The original version is available at the Trilateral Research Ltd official website