SkyPlexNet aiding disaster relief
21 Jun 2004
The first demonstrations of a network which exploits the power of satellite imaging to provide assistance during natural disasters have been made to Italian Civil Protection Authorities in Piedmont Italy. In addition to imaging capability, Italian Rescue Services can use the network to coordinate operations between emergency units and a central authority over the whole country.
The ESA Telecom funded project SkyPlexNet made this possible. SkyPlexNet is a relatively simple and low-cost use of On Board Processing technology to avoid centralisation of data management. The application of the SkyPlexNet technology to Rescue Services is the latest example of organisations extending their broadband reach using this technology.
According to Alenia Spazio, the Italian company behind the project, "The satellite network for the Italian Fire Brigade opens a new era in emergency and disaster relief in Italy and works towards bridging the Digital Divide."
The demonstration took place in early June 2004 and the network will provide bi-directional connections between 119 regional offices of the Fire Brigade and the headquarters of the Ministry of the Interior (Viminale). It is the first such system in the world which uses On Board Processing. The network also makes use of a new generation of Set-Top boxes wholly developed and produced in Europe.
|The operational system is currently located on off-road vehicles which act as production and transmission centres. They are equipped with satellite terminals designed to transmit and receive live images to the Fire Brigade Offices and can also provide broadband communications within the areas of operations.
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In time of emergency, the vehicles can provide video, data and voice communication, making it possible to video-conference with a central authority. The system can also interoperate with the existing terrestrial broadband networks.
Another development includes the Civil Protection Authority in Piedmont which has signed a Cooperation Agreement with the Ministry of Interior to integrate their satellite project Emercom.sat into the SkyPlexNet network. The plan is for the Emercom.sat to become compatible and inter-operable with the Fire Brigade network.
Franceso Rispoli of Alenia Spazio said, "SkyPlexNet allows coverage of the whole of Europe and the Mediterranean basin. It is the first satellite network for emergency applications on a global basis. The next step is to extend this experience to European institutions."
To read more about SkyPlexNet click on the links on the right of this page.
Last Update: 27 May 2009