Nowadays the available Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) (e.g. GPS, Glonass, Beidou) are a consolidated technology for applications where precise location is needed, demonstrating their reliability in the positioning and tracking of moving objects. Looking closer, as part of the European GNSS (EGNSS) program, the European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service (EGNOS) is nowadays a reality and has been more and more used in aviation applications, whilst the European satellite system GALILEO is going to complete the launching phase and it is now ready to be fully operative since the first satellites in orbit started to broadcast navigation signals. GALILEO together with EGNOS will provide more robust positioning capability enhancing the adoption of satellite technologies in services where signal continuity and signal integrity are required, such as those related to Public Regulated Service (PRS) and Safety of Life (SOL) applications (available from EGNOS since 2011). This will have an impact on various sectors and applications, including emergency and disaster management, Search and Rescue Service (SAR) tasks (linked to the GALILEO SAR service) and location based services (LBS) supporting responders in mission critical operations. Finally, the availability of GALILEO full services, expected by 2018 for both PRS and SAR opens the door for a two year (2016-2018) demonstration phase where new solutions can be introduced and tested.
In this scenario, the SPARTACUS project started in November 2013 with the ambition of studying, designing, developing and testing in real case applications a complete set of modular solutions for enhancing Location Awareness in emergency management and crisis operations, replacing the use of the traditional terrestrial networks, which are supposed to fail or been denied during disasters with satellite-based navigation and communication technologies, that can be deployed in operative missions. In order to achieve this overall objective, SPARTACUS lays its foundation on satellite-based technology that ensure precise positioning and timing capabilities to secure tracking, tracing and functionalities, customized to address three main social needs:
Tracking, tracing and localizing critical transport assets (locomotives/wagons/containers) in case of major failure of existing networks (communications and power)
Tracking the flow of relief support goods from the sending side to the receiving/end place
Supporting coordination of first responders in disaster management operations, ensuring their safety