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Introducing the BDE societal challenges: Secure Societies

The Horizon 2020 programme reflects the policy priorities of the Europe 2020 strategy and addresses major concerns shared by citizens in Europe and elsewhere. The programme identified seven challenges.

The Societal Challenge “Secure Societies” is one of the challenges and its primary aims are:

  • to enhance the resilience of our society against natural and man-made disasters, ranging from the development of new crisis management tools to communication interoperability, and to develop novel solutions for the protection of critical infrastructure;
  • to fight crime and terrorism ranging from new forensic tools to protection against explosives;
  • to improve border security, ranging from improved maritime border protection to supply chain security and to support the Union’s external security policies including through conflict prevention and peace building;
  • to provide enhanced cyber-security, ranging from secure information sharing to new assurance models.

This Challenge should bring together all security stakeholders: industry – including SMEs, research organisations, universities, as well as public authorities, non-governmental organisations and public and private organisations in the security domain. The active involvement of end-users is of high importance. The Secure Societies Challenge will contribute to the implementation of the policy goals of the Europe 2020 strategy, the Security Industrial Policy, the Internal Security Strategy and the Cyber Security Strategy.

In the frame of the H2020 BigDataEurope project, the EU SatCen is the partner responsible for the “Secure Societies” societal challenge. The mission of the EU SatCen is to support the decision making and actions of the EU in the field of the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) by providing products and services resulting from the exploitation of relevant space assets and collateral data. Thus the EU SatCen can represent in the framework of the BigDataEurope project, and in line with the Secure Societies H2020 Societal Challenge, the Stakeholders involved in the decision-making process of the EU in the CFSP field.

The data used for space and security applications complied with the definition of Big Data in terms of:

  • Volume – Data received each day from satellites are on the order of terabytes (the sole Sentinel 1 and Sentinel 2 will deliver 2.6 Tb of images per day);
  • Variety – Data are coming from different sensors in orbit on several governmental and commercial satellites;
  • Velocity – Data have to be delivered and processed in a short time frame to allow providing users requiring fast responses with 24/7 information;
  • Veracity – Decision making and operations require reliable sources;
  • Value – Information to be provided has to be useful and clear.

Moreover datasets to be used for security applications can be composed not only by satellite data but also by aerial imagery (e.g. from Remotely Piloted Vehicles), data from intelligence sources (e.g. GEOINT, HUMINT and OSINT), in-situ data and data from other sources (e.g. media, public data, web-based communities, user-generated content, Automatic Identification Systems –AIS- data, phone communications, video sharing sites, wikis, blogs and publicly available sources).

The massive amount of data related to specific positions on the Earth’s surface has been defined as Spatial Big Data; new challenges in hardware and software developments, data analysis, data management, data exploitation and information extraction have therefore to be faced.

SatCen is currently building a “secure societies” community, gathering its user requirements in order to develop a technical Big Data platform implementing relevant demonstration applications/pilots coordinated with the University of Athens, the secure societies technical partner. The security community has been building through several events, as yearly workshops (the first workshop was held in Brussels on 30th of September 2015), hang-out webinars and discussions in the frame of SatCen internal events and participations to conferences, workshops and other H2020 projects.  The so far collected users’ requirements led to the development of the first pilot, where particular importance has been given to the integration and fusion of data from remote and social sensing in order to add value to the current data exploitation practices.

To engage with the BigDataEurope project:

  • Subscribe to the BigDataEurope Newsletter;
  • Participate to other planned BigDataEurope events as stakeholders workshops, webinars and hang-outs;
  • Follow us on the Social Media (Twitter, LinkedIn);
  • Participate in one of the BigDataEurope Pilots (please contact us directly for details).

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