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ESA's concept for an Integrated Space Technologies Operational System (ISTOS) Wide Area Network is designed to improve the utilisation of space technologies by end users working in the field of emergency management. However, "integration" in the ISTOS sense means more than just the combined use of space technologies - it also encompasses the integration with complementary terrestrial systems such as disaster information collected by airborne or ground sensors and communications services offered by terrestrial fixed and wireless providers.
Space technologies such as Earth Observation, communications and navigation are uniquely positioned to support organisations involved in all aspects of emergency management. The ability to provide both long term monitoring and warning capabilities, while at the same time being able to rapidly deploy observation and communications assets enables space technologies to support:
Rather than focus on purely technical aspects the study must also address, financial, legal, regulatory and procedural requirements. Furthermore, study will focus on combining Earth Observation services, Satellite Communications, and navigation with terrestrial infrastructure.
The plan of this study is to produce an architectural and operational model for an ISTOS Wide Area Network for emergency management applications. Further benefits include:
The consortium has developed a study plan that ensures that the team members undertake roles and responsibilities within the project that optimise the use of their existing skills and expertise. Thus: Avanti Communications will undertake all work packages associated with ISTOS communications services, ISTOS operations and financing Astrium will perform the tasks requiring an understanding of emergency management users and applications, reviews of existing infrastructure and the space domain technologies that can provide resources to ISTOS end users. EADS Defence and Security Networks will undertake core technology tasks requiring and appreciation of the technology, architecture and implementation of telecommunications systems for public safety, emergency management, and security.
Conclusions The ISTOS study has identified a wide range of benefits that space-based services can bring to End User organisations working in the field of emergency management. The development of an ISTOS WAN is an opportunity for institutions, Resource Providers and industry to improve emergency management operations and increase the service market by:
Following the successful conclusion of these actions, the full scale deployment of ISTOS can be pursued:
The ISTOS study has identified a wide range of potential End User organizations that might benefit from the application of space technologies to the field of disaster management. The challenge now is to develop a system which meets their needs and provides an operational resource that can be called in to protect human life and property whenever a disaster strikes.