TECH | Jul 17, 2020

Big Data and AI for the protection of territories and seas: the Andromeda case

How can data analysis and the use of Artificial Intelligence contribute to the defense of borders?

19 partners from 9 different countries for a project that aims to create a common environment for sharing information for border command, control and coordination systems in Europe.

Andromeda, this is the name of the project, uses various digital technologies as an aid to monitor borders and above all to create collections of information that can be shared in order to structure not just local surveillance networks, but to take operative activities towards protecting the environment and ensuring the safety of people.

In fact, in addition to being a scenario of migratory flows, both maritime and land borders can be where illicit trafficking, such as that of drugs, goods or weapons, takes place; something which not only must be monitored but which can be, thanks to data collection useful for real time decision-making.

Four Italian partners are actively involved in the project: the Italian Navy, Engineering Ingegneria Informatica, the CMCC Foundation and Codin.

“The main objective of Andromeda – explains Giuseppe Vella of Engineering, which participates in the project as a technological partner – is to improve the information-sharing environment by extending the CISE (Maritime Common Information Sharing Environment) approach to land borders as well. This is in order to sustain the maritime and land operational authorities to reduce the detection time of new events supporting the decision-making process and the interventions of the on-site forces.”

Towards the construction of a common system for sharing information on the maritime sector

It was 2010 when the European Union decided to set up CISE, a system for collecting information concerning maritime surveillance to be shared between the various Member States, in order to increase not only the level of safety but also to ensure respect for the environment, by involving the various institutional players engaged in this border control activity.

After several years, CISE has made important progress, now entering its transitional phase (2019-2021) which will see the integration of different information systems, in order that data and other information should easily be available to those who need these to tackle missions at sea.

“As a partner of the project, the Italian Navy – continues Giuseppe Vella – will be able to benefit, for example, the CISE evolutions, thanks to the integration with the SMART command and control system created by Engineering, with periodic tests starting next September and a three-day demonstration to be held in Rome, Athens and Lisbon in January 2021″.

What data will Andromeda be able to collect and why?

The project aims to encourage the faster detection of new events – also obtained through a greater sharing of information coming from various actors involved – so as to implement Data Governance which can not only reduce risks at sea and land borders, but also strengthen intersectoral and cross-border collaboration between authorities operating on the territory and at sea, such as Coastal Guards, Cross-border or Customs Police Forces, in order to direct resources towards the same goal, thus improving efficiency and reducing costs and waste of resources.

All obviously whilst complying with the fundamental EU values linked to the free movement of people, the protection of personal data as well as the protection of citizens’ safety.

What technologies are used for Andromeda?

The digital technologies used in the project are an across-the-board element, able not only to contribute to the creation of an information environment which can portray a clear real situation, without a duplication of tracks and events, through the collection and analysis of Big Data and their exchange through Web Services, but also view the reconstructed environments in 3D in order to evaluate the conditions and the actions to be taken.

The data from the various Command & Control systems shared by the competent Authorities, as well as from radars, surveillance cameras or sensors of various types, are exchanged in XML format through the use of Web Services between the active components of the Andromeda architecture.

The data are also combined with Artificial Intelligence algorithms which can make the difference in border surveillance and in the protection of territories and people.