An Integrated Systems Approach for Early Warning and Risk Management Systems

An Integrated Systems Approach for Early Warning and Risk Management Systems

Walter Hürster (Private Researcher and Independent Consultant, Germany), Thomas Wilbois (T-Systems, Germany) and Fernando Chaves (Fraunhofer IITB, Germany)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-1562-5.ch005
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An integrated and interdisciplinary approach to Early Warning and Risk Management is described in this paper as well as the general technical implementation of Early Warning and Risk Management Systems. Based on this systems approach, a concept has been developed for the design of an Integrated System for Coastal Protection. In addition to this, as a prototype implementation of a modern environmental monitoring and surveillance system, a system for the Remote Monitoring of Nuclear Power Plants is presented here in more detail, including a Web Portal to allow for public access. The concept, the architectural design and the user interface of Early Warning and Risk Management Systems have to meet high demands. It is shown that only a close cooperation of all related disciplines and an integrated systems approach is able to fulfil the catalogue of requirements and to provide a suitable solution for environmental monitoring and surveillance, for early warning and for emergency management.
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Interdisciplinary Cooperation And Integrated Approach

In a first step, the relevant stakeholders and experts from all related disciplines and organizations will have to meet and to produce a catalogue of requirements, as a prerequisite for a more detailed functional specification and for the technical design of the solution, including the specification of the communication links with the corresponding interfaces. Not only the technical problems but also the amalgamation of informational and communicational aspects with the organizational ones will add to the complexity of such a system. Organizational implications tend to have a serious impact on the design of the system.

Facing the complexity of the challenge, it is obvious that only a network of computers with dedicated individual tasks and appropriate communication structures can provide a promising approach to solve the problem of monitoring, surveillance, threat prediction, decision support, early warning and emergency management. However, defining an adequate logical structure for those networks, a variety of subtasks and prerequisites have to be fulfilled in each case in order to include intelligence in various ways and to reach the goal of an integrated operational system:

  • Development/integration of adequate sensor systems and sensor networks (autonomous or remotely controlled) providing data and background information. This may include mobile sensory platforms and remote sensing systems (air space surveillance and satellite systems). Figure 1 shows an example for the integration of remote sensing systems (radiological surveillance / area scan by helicopter). The variety of sensor types to be used clearly depends on the disaster type and the involved scientific disciplines. Synergy effects can be obtained by interdisciplinary cooperation, e.g. by upgrading radiological measuring stations with meteorological equipment or by using already existing meteorological stations and installing additional sensors for pollution, air quality and so on.

Figure 1.

Radiological surveillance, helicopter flight path


The subsequent tasks are:

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