End User Workshop in Athens, Greece


On the 16th of February 2015, an End User Workshop took place in Athens, Greece. The workshop, was addressed to end users and stakeholders from the search and rescue sector (Police, Fire Brigade, Coast Guard, Forest fire monitoring centers & institutes, Rescue Centers, Civil Protection Agencies, etc.), with more than 30 participants from all over Europe. An IDIRA promotional video was presented in a special session of the workshop and dissemination material was distributed to the audience, proven to be a good opportunity for a soft dissemination action.



ENCELADUS 2014 IDEX - Large-Scale Exercise Fire/Earthquake in Skaramangas, Greece


On the 25thand 26th of November 2014, a large scale exercise (LSEx), called "ENCELADUS 2014 IDEX (IDIRA Directed Exercise)" took place at the Naval Base of Skaramangas, in Greece. The LSEx focused on the simulation of emergency response procedures during fire and earthquake incidents, using the "IDIRA" platform, which has been developed within the framework of the relevant research programme.

LSEX Greece

The exercise was co-organized by the Hellenic Ministry of Defence (HMOD) through the competent Hellenic Navy's authorities and the National Kapodistrian University of Athens (NKUA), responsible for the technical related issues.

During the first day, participants from various organizations, units and countries had the opportunity to attend a brief presentation of IDIRA platform's capabilities and an overview of the "ENCELADUS 2014 IDEX"'s scenario. Furthermore, extended classroom training was held, where the participants tested the functionality of IDIRA components according to the defined LSEx scenario.

During the second day, multinational and multi-institutional units performed the "ENCELADUS 2014 IDEX" in the field. Apart from the personnel of the Naval Base of Skaramangas, a number of operational teams coming from various entities active in disaster resilience, have participated: Mobile Disaster Response Team (MDRT), Special Squad for Chemical, Biological, Radiological Defence (SSNBC), The Hellenic's Navy Hospital of Athens (ΗΝΗΑ), General Secretary of Civil Protection (GSCP), National Center of Emergency Care (NCEC), Region of Western Attica, Municipality of Perama, Hellenic Police, Hellenic Fire Service, Hellenic Coast Guard, Hellenic Railway Organization, Voluntary Team from municipality of Korydallos and Voluntary Team from municipality of Peristeri.

In addition, fully equipped Search and Rescue (SAR) teams from the Italian Fire Service (CNVVF) and the Austrian Red Cross (ORK) also participated in joint rescue missions, accomplishing the multinational and interoperable aspect of the exercise.

A detailed report on the exercise is available in the "ENCELADUS 2014 IDEX" newsletter.



Large-Scale Exercise Flood in Dresden and Görlitz/Zgorzelec


The IDIRA project features three large-scale exercises. While the first exercise simulated a pandemic situation in Austria, the second exercise focused on flood. It was held on 3-4 October 2014 in Dresden and Görlitz (Germany), organized by DRK Saxony branch and Fraunhofer IVI.


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During the first day, participants from different units and countries had the chance to familiarize with IDIRA components and get an overview of the scenario prepared for the field training. It was demonstrated how commanders benefit from the IDIRA system, especially in large-scale disasters such as flood. Participants tested the functionality and usability of the components. The main component is a map-based common operational picture (COP) that displays incidents, tasks, needs and observations of all involved organizations. The functionalities can be easily accessed with any laptop computer or tablet. An important topic was to exercise the data exchange with already existing command & control systems, e.g. with the MobiKat System for command & control by Fraunhofer IVI, since improving "interoperability" is the overall objective of the project. In addition to the exchange with MobiKat, interfaces to systems related to Missing Person Tracing and the application of IDIRA-internal functionalities, as e.g. Decision Support Systems, have been exercised.

For the second exercise day, all participants met in Görlitz, a town located directly at the Polish-German border. During the whole day, units from different domains were involved (fire brigade, THW, German and Polish red cross, rescue dogs units) and exercised the use of the IDIRA tools in parallel to their rescue activities on almost every operation step. The scenario included water rescue activities, decontamination, medical treatment and missing person tracing activities. On a second exercise area, Polish and German units worked together to search and rescue trapped persons from collapsed buildings. An autarcic broadband radio network has been set-up by Austrian Red Cross with the help of IDIRA developers. This newly developed technology called "wireless gateways" connected the main exercise area and the search-and-rescue with high-speed data connectivity.

The fruitful exercise showed how former trainings contributed to the development of IDIRA tools in real-life application. The partners received extensive feedback by the end users, which helps to draw valuable conclusions.


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photos: ©Fraunhofer IVI



IDIRA at the International Conference on Wireless Networks


The IDIRA Wireless Gateways (WGWs) were presented at the International Conference on Wireless Networks, which took place in Las Vegas, USA, from 21st to 24th of July 2014. Special emphasis was put on the self-alignment algorithm of the WGWs. The IDIRA research results were heavily discussed with conference participants from USA, Japan, Korea, India, Taiwan and Jordan and thus proven to be a good opportunity for dissemination outside of Europe.

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IDIRA MICS and IDIRA Communication Network Proven to be Ready for Deployment


On June 15th, an IDIRA training in the north of Salzburg, Austria, was performed. Members of the ERU ITT of the Austrian Red Cross installed the MobileInformation and Communication Structure (MICS) and the IDIRA communication network consisting of Communication Field Relays (COFRs) and Wireless Gateways (WGWs). The system which was set up spread across an operational area of about 6km².

Finally, during a small exercise, the Common Operational Picture and the Voice Communication functionalities were also tested and vital feedback from end users, needed for the further refinement of the system towards the large-scale training, was collected. The IDIRA training has proven that core parts of the system are ready to be deployed by non IDIRA team members, an important step towards the execution of the IDIRA large-scale exercises.

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Technical Meeting on IDIRA Trainings


A technical meeting was held on June 5th and 6th, 2014 in Vienna, Austria, at Frequentis premises. The meeting was attended by representatives from the IDIRA technical partners Fraunhofer (project coordinator), IES (technical coordinator), Frequentis, Satways, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, and Salzburg Research. Brimatech and the Austrian Red Cross were also present, representing the end users.



The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the outcomes and related technical implications of the latest important IDIRA events, namely: the local and multi-national training in Salerno (Italy) in October 2013 during the TWIST exercise; the local training in Leipzig, Germany as well as the EUAB and workshop with the end users held in Rome, on the 5th and 6th of May, 2014.

The organization of the upcoming large-scale exercises, to be carried out during the last year of the project in Greece, Austria and Germany, was also taken into consideration while discussing the implications of the users' feedback, and for planning the next project activities.



The meeting was quite fruitful, as the IDIRA partners around the table were able to decide on how to address the feedback collected during the above-mentioned events. A detailed technical plan was defined, with deadlines for the next development iteration, together with the organizational plan for the upcoming large-scale exercises.



End-user Advisory Board Meeting in Rome


EUAB RomaThis year's annual End User Advisory Board meeting was held in Rome on the 5th and 6th of May 2014. The Austrian Red Cross, one of the end user partners of the IDIRA project, hosted the meeting in the beautiful hotel Savoy.

Sign post for the large-scale exercises

The goal of the meeting was to gain user feedback for the last circle of technical development before the three large-scale exercises in autumn this year. 24 Users were grouped in heterogeneous groups of four and had to circulate between these technical stations:

• Common Operational Picture (two stations)
• Decision Support System & Sensors
• Missing Person Tracing
• Evacuation Simulation
• Interoperability

On each station, a component owner (technical representative) guided through the instructions and a station facilitator led the group discussions and documented the user feedback. At the end of each day, a panel discussion summed up the main feedback and gave the chance to compare different user opinions.

The small groups and the concrete exercises led to valuable in-depth user feedback that provides the basis for the technical development to fulfil user needs and requirements in the large-scale exercises in autumn. To guarantee this, all user feedback was transformed into action items for the technical partners in a follow-up technical meeting in Vienna in June.



IDIRA Bilateral Training Austria  Germany


Austrian Red Cross Headquarters and the German Red Cross, Saxony Branch, jointly conducted a bilateral training within IDIRA on 7th of March 2014. Main objective of the staff exercise, which simultaneously took place in the operation rooms in Vienna and Saxony, was to use the core IDIRA web service – the Common Operational Picture (COP)  under real conditions to jointly coordinate the response actions in a simulated heavy snow storm scenario placed in central Europe. Staff members from different units of Austrian, German and Polish Red Cross were able to give vital feedback regarding the usability of the COP and the needs for further refinement of the system. For the technical team, which assisted the participants in the operation room, it was a good opportunity to gain insights into the processes and information needs of the staff at tactical and strategic level.


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Review Meeting in Brussels

The second review meeting was held in Brussels, on the 13th and 14th of November, 2013. This was held at one of the EU offices (KoWi) and was led by Fraunhofer IVI staff who chaired the meeting. It was attended by representatives from the IDIRA partners IES, Fraunhofer IVI, Salzburg Research, Frequentis, University of Greenwich, Brimatech, Austrian Red Cross, German Red Cross, Satways, EPPO, University of Athens, WAPMERR, CNVVF, KEMEA, the Greek Ministry of Defence and TLP.


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The purpose of the meeting was to report on the work completed in the last year to the Project Officer and to the External Expert. On the 13th November, members of the consortium met to prepare for the official review meeting to be held on the 14th November.

The review meeting was split into a series of presentations, reflecting the active work packages and then the demonstration of several significant software developments. It was therefore important to coordinate the presentation material and confirm that software functioned as expected, justifying the preparatory day on the 13th November. This was especially important given the need to demonstrate interoperability and the reliance of software components upon each other.


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The presentations successfully reflected the work conducted and produced some lively discussions – both on the approaches adopted and the advancements made. The demonstrations were successful – in terms of representing the software components and in demonstrating the improved interoperability produced. The Project Officer and the External Expert provided detailed and positive feedback that will prove extremely useful as we move forward.







Multinational training at the TWIST exercise 2013


IDIRA members took the chance to carry out the project's multinational training in Italy in the context of the international TWIST exercise. The exercise of the project TWIST – Tidal Wave In Southern Tyrrhenian sea – took place in Salerno, Italy, from 24th to 27th October 2013. It was organized by the Italian Civil Protection Department with support from the European Commission and addressed primarily the Italian Civil Protection Department, the Italian Fire Brigade, Armed Forces, local authorities and representatives of the EUCP team of six European states. During the exercise, operational scenarios with simulations of search and rescue have been set up both at sea and on land.


During the TWIST training, IDIRA tested systems and functionalities supporting the management of the search for missing persons using the MTP (Missing Person Tracing) module. End-user participants deepened their knowledge on response systems in international disaster management. An overview was given on current IT solutions in use, as well as on IDIRA systems under development. The training situation not only provided an added value for the end-users, who were able to test the IDIRA software in an international response action, but also for the project staff. The IDIRA team members thus had the opportunity to evaluate the operability and usability of their software components under conditions close to reality and receive immediate feedback to improve the quality of their solutions.


As a major outcome, the interoperability of the IDIRA MPT with the Xenios person tracing system has been demonstrated. The rescue and search team used the MPT mobile app to register information on missing or found persons and make it available via the MPT GUI.


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IDIRA at the Future Security Conference


201309 FutureSec gruetzn hedel-4The Fraunhofer Group for Defense and Security invited international experts to participate in the 8th Future Security Conference from September 17 – 19, 2013. The event, which was held in the Representation of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia in Berlin, brought together scientists and decision makers as well as stakeholders from authorities, industry and end users to discuss all aspects of security-related research and technology. Leading institutions of security research gave insight into their innovations in scientific presentations and a poster session was held to present ideas and projects through individual conversations. The IDIRA partners, represented by Dr. Ralf Hedel of Fraunhofer IVI, took this opportunity to introduce the project to numerous visitors and discussed various application scenarios with potential end users of the system.



The IDIRA Communication Network

During large-scale disasters, the on-site communication infrastructure is often destroyed or overloaded. Consequently, emergency response organisations cannot rely on having a communication network operational. IDIRA supports the activities of international disaster response units by hardware and software solutions, which need an existing communication infrastructure to ensure the maximum benefit for the response units.

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 © Salzburg Research


In IDIRA, an independent easy-to-install mesh-based broadband communication network for emergency response organisations has been developed. This system can be installed within a few minutes. As it is based on WLAN technology, there is no need for an application of frequencies. Self-aligning antennas ensure that the system can be installed by non-expert users. So-called Wireless Gateways are spread across the operational area and span a mesh network. The tablet devices of the response units can access the network for interacting with the IDRIA system. The Wireless Gateways can be mounted on vehicles, existing poles or small transportable poles provided by IDIRA.

The communication network will be further enriched to provide as much offline functionality of the IDIRA system for the end-users as possible. The Wireless Gateways will be extended by so-called Communication Field Relays, which provide different uplink technologies and ensure that the basic IDIRA functionality can be accessed, even if the mesh-network and the uplink connections are not operational.


First-Time Application of IDIRA components: Donation Management Module


studie bild3During the June flood in Dresden, the IDIRA partners Fraunhofer IVI and DRK-SN (German Red Cross, Saxony branch) applied components developed in IDIRA for the first time in the field.

When it comes to disaster relief, damages have to be recorded in order to distribute donations adequately. Resources were provided within the EC-funded project IDIRA to analyze methods for speeding up and simplifying this process with the help of hardware and software systems. Fraunhofer IVI realized a fully operational prototype of the Donation Management Module within just a few days. This system should be running on tablet PCs and thus support German Red Cross DRK staff directly during operation.

Looking at the architecture of the Module, the central system is a database application, which is used to store and exchange data. This part is the base for two important components - the administration software for managing the applications and to plan the routes for the teams on site, as well as the software running on tablet PCs, guiding responders on site and offering the option to record applications digitally on the spot. The tablet application so far existed only as a simple prototype for Android systems, so the developers had to create an application running on Apple devices used by the DRK.

Two domains must be covered and optimized by the system: The routing determines which group is recording applications at which houses and what is the current location and status of the team; the other central domain is the digital recording of applications. Although the staff got along very well with this technology, the user guidance has yet to be optimized. While talking to the affected persons and handling the tablet at the same time, psycho-social counseling was sometimes neglected. Because the focus should be primarily on the affected persons, psychological aspects must be taken into consideration when improving the process technologically. The live application of the Donation Management Module thus provided valuable experience for the future improvement of the system beyond the prototype status.



Regional End-User Training in Austria


On 30th of June 2013, right after the Taranis, IDIRA organized a regional end-user training. The trainees, coming from different branches of the Austrian Red Cross and the Bavarian Red Cross, were able to use the IDIRA system in a similar disaster situation (large-scale flood) as during the Taranis exercise. The training allowed showing how IDIRA could improve the information flow in large-scale disasters, specifically targeted towards weaknesses shown up during the Taranis.

The IDIRA system was able to show concrete improvements especially on the communication part, the situation awareness or information visualization. The feedback showed that a system like IDIRA could have made the work during the Taranis much more efficient.

The conclusion of the trainees was that the core of IDIRA should be a simple and robust information hub. Add-on functions as sensor integration, simulations, decision support etc. are well appreciated.

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EU Taranis 2013 and IDIRA

Taranis is the name of the large scale European disaster field exercise that was performed in order to train and to test the EU Civil Protection Mechanism under realistic conditions. More than 1.700 persons (900 rescue workers, supporters, background actor "victims") out of 8 European nations were mobilised in Salzburg, Austria, from 27th to 29th June. Fire brigades, USAR (urban search and rescue) teams, CBRN (chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear hazards) units, Red Cross ambulance services, the Austrian armed forces, and specialised rescue services worked together. The cooperation of local forces and international assistance modules was actually deployed and tested within the various exercise scenarios.


IDIRA team members from seven consortium partners were granted access behind the scenes of this impressive exercise by participating in the international observers group. Through this opportunity IDIRA was able to get first-hand insights into the real-life working procedures of disaster responders and into the challenges of international and inter-organisational cooperation – competences were impressively demonstrated, co-ordination challenges were successfully tackled.

IDIRA will help to support co-ordination activities in future international disaster response operations by providing concepts and IT-based solutions for an optimized inter-organisational information management – such as seamless communication, easy-to-use acknowledgement from the sites, accurate status information and a single common operational picture.

More information: www.taranis2013.eu/en


First-Time Application of IDIRA Components During Real Large-Scale Disaster


After several days of heavy rain in late May and early June 2013, ongoing flooding in Germany began. Flooding and damages have primarily affected southern and eastern Germany, including the State of Saxony. The flood then progressed down the Elbe River, leading to high water and flooding along their banks. Thousands of people were affected and damages into the millions have been caused.

During this difficult time, IDIRA results were for the first time applied in practical use to support real large-scale disaster management. The members of the IDIRA team, Kamen, Patrick and Marcel, were present in the affected region almost all of the time and supported the disaster management forces. Thereby Fraunhofer components that are integrated in IDIRA and other proven components for disaster management and control and communication were used by the staffs in Dresden, by the German Red Cross, by the local and regional command and control of fire brigades in the affected region at the border to the Czech Republic.

In addition, IDIRA components are currently used for donations management for the support of the flood victims in close cooperation with the German Red Cross. IDIRA components are also currently used for collecting information about flooded areas from social media sources.



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© Fraunhofer IVI

Bilateral Classroom Training in Greece, 4-5 June 2013


The Bilateral training (Greece - Italy) of the IDIRA project took place at the Center of Security Studies premises. The aim of the event was  to give a condensed overview on the procedures of international disaster management, especially regarding current and evolving IT systems for assisting it with the use of the IDIRA systems and functionalities. Existing knowledge on international disaster relief, covering both the Red Cross/Red Crescent as well as EUCP contexts, were deepened and in the consequent training and evaluation part, the end user participants had to solve the posed problems in a forest fire scenario-based tabletop exercise, using the provided IDIRA software prototypes. The end users not only had to demonstrate their individual leadership and collaborative skills, but also prove the intuitive usability of the tested IDIRA IT-Systems.

During the training, the consortium partners had the opportunity to present the results of the IDIRA project so far to numerous potential users coming from diverse domains (fire brigades, military, earthquake experts, police, rescue teams, etc.). The partners received valuable feedback from the users which will support the progress of the IDIRA development. Fruitful discussions and extensive training sessions are a promising starting point for the trainings that follow the coming months, and for the further development of the IDIRA architecture and system in general.

More info can be found on the KEMEA website.


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CAP Implementation Workshop, Geneva, 23-24 April 2013

Presenting the use of CAP in IDIRA


The Common Alerting Protocol (CAP) Implementation Workshop was held at the Headquarters of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), Geneva, Switzerland (23-24 April 2013). The Workshop was organized by the WMO Public Weather Services (PWS) programme, which is responsible for developing service delivery capacities and capabilities of National Meteorological and Hydrological Services (NMHSs) of WMO Members. The focus of PWS includes how official alerting authorities disseminate alerts and warnings to the public, the media and the Disaster Management and Civil Protection Authorities. The Workshop was a technical meeting among experts, chaired by Mr Eliot Christian, Adviser to WMO on CAP. The Workshop addressed various aspects of CAP including: experience gained in implementing CAP by various countries; the tools for dissemination by major aggregators of alerts and warnings, as well their needs for improved application of CAP; the efforts that CAP sponsoring organizations are taking to advance the CAP standard and its uptake as a standard of communicating all alerts through all media. Massimo Cristaldi, CTO of IES solutions, presented the use of CAP within the frame of IDIRA. The presentation is available here:


More info on the workshop:





IDIRA at EENA Emergency Services Workshop in Riga, 17-19 April 2013


The EENA Emergency Services Workshop is one of the most important events in the world of emergency services. Targeted mainly to the needs of the first responders, the conference dealt with a number of interesting themes, both towards the research and the operational world. IES Solutions, technical coordinator of IDIRA, had a meeting room for the three meeting days. Together with the company institutional communication, the meeting room has been used for six 30 minutes long sessions on the use of EDXL related standards in interoperability. Throughout the sessions, IDIRA concepts have been presented to the attendees (normally small classes with 8-10 people) as an example of the need for interoperability in large scale disasters.

More information and media:






End User Advisory Board Meets in Vienna

This year’s annual End User Advisory Board meeting was held in Vienna on 21st and 22nd February 2013. The Austrian Red Cross, one of the end user partners of the IDIRA project, hosted the meeting in its headquarters.


Sign post for future development

The goal of the meeting was to gain as much user feedback as possible to be able to align upcoming technical developments with the user perspective. To achieve this, the whole meeting was accompanied by group and panel discussions as well as a questionnaire to be completed by participants.

After an introduction of IDIRA’s achievements so far, the first day focused on the topics taxonomy, master data, ontology and information filtering. Icon catalogues, possibilities to filter information and the amount of information important for each level of command were discussed. The following session on Communication infrastructure and voice communication dealt with a tool which enables WLAN infrastructure via communication nodes when there is no connection available in the field. In the afternoon, presentations on the Incident-, Resource- and Task management as well as the Simulation Engine – demonstrated in a video – were given, followed by extensive discussions.


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Demonstrations on day two

After an evening tour of the famous Leopold Museum and a splendid dinner, the participants had the opportunity to see the IDIRA applications in demonstrations with a strong emphasis on Person Tracing on the second day of the meeting. Further demonstrations included Sensor Integration, Early Situation Awareness, Structured Communication and Decision Support subsystems, showing the different components in action. The final round of feedback strongly acknowledged the development within the project and gave valuable recommendations to various aspects of IDIRA.



IFRC Disaster Management Working Group Meeting in Washington

The Austrian Red Cross, in its role as IDIRA end user representative, participated in the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) Disaster Management Working Group conference. The meeting, hosted by the American Red Cross, took place in Washington D.C. and brought together practitioners from international and domestic disaster management from all over the world. European Red Cross societies were strongly represented, with disaster managers from Austria, Belgium, Finland, Germany, Great Britain, the Netherlands and many other European states participating in different panels.

After discussing urban disaster response, which is relevant for densely populated urban areas and therefore important for Europe, panels of the second and third day were themed around the issue of organizational interoperability in disaster management. The main emphasis was on the role of Red Cross Societies during disasters and enhancing cooperation between neighboring RCRC Societies as well as other in-country partners such as voluntary organizations and government counterparts. One central topic is the need for a joint situation overview to improve coordination of disaster response. Within this context, the IDIRA approach was presented, providing an overview of the R&D activities achieved within the project so far. Several European and international disaster managers showed interest in IDIRA and will be included both in future dissemination activities, such as the regular End User Advisory Board newsletters as well as in upcoming end-user evaluation and testing activities of the prototype software solutions of the project.



First IDIRA Review Meeting in November 2012

Everyday work of fire rescue services and humanitarian organizations in Europe is increasingly influenced by modern information and communication technologies (ICT). Such innovative systems can facilitate, for instance, the search for people in danger and the optimized planning of the use of rescue equipment, pumps and other resources. The difficulty is increased if relief forces from various countries have to work together in large-scale crisis situations. The multitude of different IT systems causes the electronic communication of information across organizational boundaries to be inefficient or not possible at all, as unified standards for interfaces or, in some cases, the necessary infrastructure for data transmission are lacking.

The EC-funded project IDIRA addresses precisely these issues. 18 organizations from 7 EU countries are searching for solutions over a project duration of four years. On 22nd November 2012, an official review meeting was held in the German Red Cross headquarters of Saxony in Dresden, where the first IDIRA results were successfully demonstrated to representatives of the European Commission. This important milestone is paving the way for the project consortium to continue their work in the coming months. The project results will be tested and validated within small and large-scale exercises in 2013 and 2014.