The Small Scale Test #17 (SST#17) of the INGENIOUS project was dedicated to the Social Media Application (SMA) testing and validation and took place on 28-29 September 2022 at Ertzaintza facilities in Iurreta, Bilbao, Spain.

SMA, developed by our partners in CERTH, collects posts in real time from Twitter, based on some keywords that have been defined by the end users. The collected posts are analysed to extract useful information such as locations that are mentioned in the text. The analysed data are stored in a database. In parallel, an additional module is running, clustering the collected data based on their geoinformation and their timestamp. The purpose of this module is to detect events, monitoring the flow of the collected tweets. When a new event is detected, it is sent to the Fusion Engine – FE (EXUS) where the Common Operational Picture System – COP (STWS) reads it from and displays it.

When it comes to the SST, CERTH posted synthetic tweets with codenames in the place of the location names to avoid the spread of panic and misinformation. Two bunches of synthetic tweets are sent that each one corresponds to an event message. One with information regarding the start of the incident (in our case, a terror attack) with the first citizen observations, and a second with more details about the attack, after the First Responders (FRs) have arrived on the scene. Therefore, the use of the SMA in this use case and in general, is to send an alert to the FRs that something is happening when the incident starts, and then give them more details and updates on the status of the incident.

Since the SMA is very stable, there are no major changes since the first round of SSTs. Except for minor improvements and changes, the most important one was that we added the Update feature in the event detection method. That means that when new tweets arrive for an already detected event, if these tweets are close in time with the event, then they are not sent as a new separate event but as an update to the previous one.  

End Users’ perspectives and experiences from using, testing and validating the INGENIOUS NGIT

Our partners in Ertzaintza were the responsible End Users to test and evaluate the solutions of this SST. After testing, they came to the conclusion that all the technologies have a possible functional application, at least for the police; however, they are also necessary for the other services involved in all kinds of emergencies, facilitating the coordination and knowledge of the situation in real time, especially of the most important value, people. The tests have shown the need to carry out more trials and multi-agency practices in conjunction with companies and technological entities (multidisciplinary and transversal work).

The development of these kinds of tools that facilitate speed and efficiency in responding to situations of danger to society must always continue to respect the fundamental rights and privacy of the individuals concerned. Technology is fundamental, but if we approach it only from the technological point of view, it is a cold and aseptic tool that could, in some cases, cause the rejection of society, not succeeding in advancing, but taking steps back.

Read about the results from the 1st round of SSTs and SST#7 & SST#8 for the testing and validation of the INGENIOUS Social Media Application here.

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