Indigo: End-user exercise in Stockholm
11 October 2012
Under the lead of CRISMART, an exercise based on a scenario where a bomb exploded under Tegelbacken in central Stockholm was conducted on October 10. The purpose of the exercise was to test a number of new technological tools that have been developed to facilitate crisis management and collaboration during crises.
Fredrik Bynander, Scientific Director at CRISMART, led the exercise, which is part of a research project known as INDIGO. "The purpose of INDIGO is to develop technical tools to facilitate collaboration in crisis situations," according to Dr. Bynander. "During this exercise, we pulled together different types of end users - for example, rescue workers, police and city public servants - and the major question we wanted to answer is simply whether or not these tools are of use for strategic crisis management."
INDIGO is a research and development project funded under the European Commission Seventh Framework Programme (FP 7). The project is conducted by a consortium of leading private and public organizations in the fields of crisis management, 3D visualization, simulation, and geodata. Consortium members are from Sweden (CRISMART), the Netherlands (Crisis Plan), France (Ceren, Diginext, Immersion) and Italy (CRS4 and Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche). CRISMART's role in the INDIGO project is to contribute knowledge and expertise on crisis management research and training.
INDIGO seeks to promote inter-organizational preparation and support for cross-border crises and disasters in various environments. The project enables inter-organizational training, information sharing, and analysis - with respect to both horizontal and vertical relationships, which have traditionally been underdeveloped in both the preparedness and response phases of crisis management. The operational level has not been sufficiently incorporated into large-scale strategic exercises involving multiple levels of authority, as such exercises are very complex and expensive to organize and lead. To overcome this obstacle, INDIGO has developed tools within an integrated system that can be used by first responders as well as tactical and strategic crisis managers. The long term hope is that the system can be adapted for use during real crisis situations.
Three key issues in crisis management
Werner Overdijk is the Director of the Dutch crisis management consulting firm Crisisplan, which has had the task of conveying crisis management knowledge to the engineers who in turn have developed the various tools. Standing before a large screen, he gives a demonstration of one of the new crisis management tools.
He points to the area on a map of central Stockholm where a bomb just exploded, with various symbols indicating the available units present – police, ambulances, fire trucks, and others. An event log is located in one corner of the screen, and in the other corner there is a list with the most important statistics and a list of the key uncertainties.
"Crisis management is basically about three things," says Werner."What has happened? What should we do? How do we communicate decisions? These questions are continuously repeated throughout a crisis event."
Tools developed within the INDIGO project include an array of visual aids with documentation and filtering functions in order to facilitate fast response, contribute to a more accurate operational picture, and increase situational awareness during crises.
Final phase of the project
After almost three years the project is approaching the final stages of completion. The plan is to have a final product ready by May 2013. The fictional attack on Tegelbacken was the final exercise, and the end-users are impressed with the INDIGO tools they used.
"Yes, the preliminary results are good," says Fredrik Bynander. "We received a lot of positive feedback from the end-users."
More information about the INDIGO project can be found at: http://indigo.diginext.fr/EN/index.html
Photo (top): Diginext
Institutionen för säkerhet, strategi och ledarskap, CRISMART