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iTRACK

Integrated system for real-time TRACKing and collective intelligence in civilian humanitarian missions

Background

The enduring humanitarian crisis in the Middle East, the unrelenting high levels of violence in Syria and new outbursts of violence in Yemen have made the work of humanitarian aid workers full of danger. In 2000 41 significant attacks on aid workers were recorded across the globe. By 2014, that number had risen to 190. In this 15-year period, over 3,000 aid workers have been killed, injured or kidnapped. Despite the increasing availability of tracking and monitoring technologies, the number of humanitarian workers that fall victim to attacks continues to rise. Clearly, a novel and innovative approach to tracking and decision-making was needed. The EC awarded funding to 12 partners making up the iTRACK consortium to develop a solution.

Objectives

Based on principles of Privacy by Design, this project aims to build the iTRACK system, an integrated intelligent real-time tracking and threat identification system to improve the protection of responders and assets and provide information management and logistics services such as real-time information updates and analyses as well as navigation, routing and scheduling. iTRACK will achieve this through an interdisciplinary, socio-technical approach, which will draw on the latest advances in sensor development, GIS, security & privacy, artificial intelligence, information management, risk analysis, and humanitarian logistics.

Our Role

The iTRACK solution requires end-users to give up personal information related to identity, place, and their habits. The compensation for all of this is their safety on a mission. However, even a technology that can save lives needs to be controlled particularly from the point of view of ethics, privacy and data protection. To that end, TRI is responsible for the iTRACK privacy and ethical impact assessment (in Work Package 3), including an examination of issues relating to data protection, and socio-cultural considerations for future developments in this area. In addition, TRI is responsible for implementing Research Ethical Requirements and monitoring the same (in Work Package 1). Both work packages draw on TRI’s extensive experience and expertise in ethical conduct involving human subjects and well as undertaking impact assessments.

Outputs

  • A single integrated system for use in civilian missions, bringing together open-sourced solutions into a cost-effective, real-time, integrative system that can be used by humanitarian organisations operating civilian missions. The iTRACK platform uses multiple advanced technologies for tracking and monitoring
  • Advanced technologies (e.g., sensors) for tracking and monitoring of assets and personnel
  • Advanced location and navigation solutions, particularly, emerging European GNSS (EGNOS and Galileo-based), GPS and GSM technologies
  • Real-time threat detection solutions (e.g., by deep learning & transferable belief networks)
  • Secure mobile and web-based communication facilitating online and offline collaboration
  • Workflow mapping with a focus on Information Management, Logistics & Risk Management in the humanitarian field
  • Humanitarian Information Management Policies & Case Brief
  • A report on the consideration of Socio-cultural considerations for technologies such as iTRACK
  • An Ethics and Privacy Impact assessment methodology for technology in the humanitarian field
  • A board game to test the processes and procedures of decision-making in the humanitarian field
  • Final conference in Spring 2019

FACTSHEET

Impact

iTRACK will improve the protection and safety of humanitarian missions with intelligent socio-technical solutions to support tracking, threat detection, navigation, logistics, and coordination in humanitarian disasters. iTRACK is designed to be a cost-effective open-source system, supporting organisations although resources may be limited. To further facilitate its uptake by humanitarian organisations operating in conflict and complex disasters missions, we co-designed the technology and policies with humanitarian practitioners with pilot applications with the World Food Programme and iMMAP in on-going conflict disasters in the Middle East.

For more information and updates visit the iTRACK project website, Twitter and LinkedIn.

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The iTRACK project - Integrated system for real-time TRACKing and collective intelligence in civilian humanitarian missions - has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 700510

Julia Muraszkiewicz

Head of Sociotech Insights Group

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