*An article by Boris Pietrzak, Geomatician at RESILIENCY, a subsidiary of Deveryware Group
With events such as natural disasters, industrial accidents, and other crises, environmental and industrial risks pose a highly topical issue for communities as well as for businesses. Many structures are investing in modern means to prevent such risks.
Geomatics is one of them. And yet this innovation, which is not yet very well-known to general public, represents real progress in the risk prevention sector.
What is geomatics?
A catch-all word or neologism like you often see to describe fashions that are as fleeting as they are anecdotal?
This term describes the processing of data (geographic or demographic) in order to show it on a dynamic map with symbology to suit, using computer tools such as software or relational databases.
*mesure_population.png: Tool for automatically calculating the population using 200m by 200m tiles based on the last population census.
Source: INSEE – IGN
*relief_vigicrue.png: Level curves as well as real-time water level via vigicrue sensors.
Source: Vigicrue – IGN
What may seem complex at first glance actually has the very simple purpose of monitoring people’s safety in terms of climatic, natural or technological risks.In fact, depending on what you use it for, you can use geomatics in multiple different fields:
- prevention (planning and identification of hazards and issues)
- operational response (characterisation of a space)
- post-crisis management (optimisation of business continuity, mapping experience feedback).
For example, everyone remembers the earthquake in Haïti in 2010, but not many know how instrumental geomatics was in organising the rescue effort.
During the earthquake, the worldwide geomatics community made the rescue task much easier by using post-quake satellite images and comparing them to the original maps (before the quake) so they could much more quickly see where there were collapses and which roads were still passable.
CAIAC, a move towards accessible geometry
At RESILIENCY we collaborated with the CS Group, our partner who has been approved by PASSI (the information systems security audit service provider), to create the CAIAC platform, an indispensable project management tool.
CAIAC is a 100% online map collection that is compatible with most geographic formats. It can be used to plan and anticipate issues as well as to manage crises.
It has over 400 information layers, 15% of which are in real-time. As it has a 3D engine, it is 100% configurable and can be annotated.
You can aslo create themed custom spaces using preselected layers. The aim is to centralise and filter data to optimise decision-making and keep businesses going.
To give a more concrete example of what it can do, during the Covid-19 crisis, geomatics enabled RESILIENCY to create and stream updated statements of the national and worldwide health emergency in real time:
- It has been used daily to assess the numbers of hospitalised people, intensive care patients, deaths and recoveries by region.
- And it is used weekly for hospital saturation rates, communities that have a curfew, etc.
Is geomatics just for the public sector then?
Contrary to what you might think, geomatics isn’t just for the public sphere. Any business sector may need to call on a geomatician, whether it is private sector (logistics, mining or agro-food) or public sector for crisis cells, marketing or prospecting.
Our CAIAC platform is also aimed at large network operators and CAC 40 groups as well as local authorities and firefighters, e.g. all entities that have to manage a territory or infrastructure within a territory.
We are even considering implementing CAIAC in ministries at the national level. The MTES (Ministry of Ecological Transition) is already one of our clients.
CAIAC, a success story
CAIAC has already been used many times in response to crisis situations (natural disasters and industrial incidents) by public services as well as emergency services.
We can list several other instances where CAIAC was deployed as well:
During summer forest fires in Corsica or the south of France, we are able to track the spread of the fire and burnt areas in near real time thanks to sensors from NASA and Copernicus:
Hot spots and burnt areas are detected by satellite radar sensor every 1 hour 30 minutes and shown on the map.
This data, combined with the location of the fire brigades as well as the forest fire DFCI grid (Aquitaine region forest patrol path network) enables us to swiftly provide updates on the situation…
Lubrizol (Seveso Rouen site – 2019)
During the Lubrizol site incident, we used CAIAC coupled with our geolocated monitoring articles to highlight all the communities that were locked down or that had special instructions.
We were also able to estimate the impacted population within a 500-metre perimeter using our resident population calculation tool.
January 2018 Seine flood
During the Seine flood in January 2018, the ERCC (The European Emergency Response Coordination Center) used Copernicus to post maps showing the extent of the flooded areas several times a day.
We took these maps and integrated them into CAIAC on a daily basis for our clients and we were able to compare the theoretical flood models with the areas actually underwater to find out the extent of the flood compared to previous floods (1910).
We are now working on an improved version of CAIAC which will very soon include:
- road traffic
- a simulation model
- better resolution (thanks to an integrated 3D engine).
*trafic_webcam.png: road traffic and road cameras in real time, as well as rivers.
Source: V-trafic, APRR, SANDRE
Visit the RESILIENCY website to find out more about CAIAC
Boris Pietrzak joined Resiliency in 2017.
As a geomatics specialist, his role is to feed the CAIAC platform (the cartographic tool for crisis management) with geographical data as well as to manage the project as a whole.
Boris is also the technical manager for all of Resiliency’s digital tools and services: digital ecosystems or the SAGA Crisis handrail.