In brief, Eagle uses software and infrastructural components to allow communication between organizations in extreme situations on the one hand, and facilitate complex geospatial analyses on available data on the other.
Visualization of the Eagle Architecture
Eagle and Microsoft Groove
Microsoft Office Groove, Microsoft’s collaboration product, perfectly fulfills the role of a peer-to-peer network in a complex crisis situation. Groove offers specific advantages for disaster management, including high security, utilization of several transport and application-layer protocols, efficient data exchange and the possibility to work both online and offline.
Groove is designed for situations where different organizations do not share a common security infrastructure and where offline access is important. Without user intervention Groove handles the available Internet connection and begins synchronization when it detects a connection. When a connection is not available the user can continue his work offline. The Eagle Suite is built on top of Groove. Eagle uses Groove to share the Common Operational Picture among the organizations involved.
Eagle and Microsoft SharePoint
Microsoft SharePoint is another essential technical piece in the crisis management puzzle, providing a suite of features for storing documents, information, contacts, task lists etcetera. Because it has a web-based front-end, it is easy to make its content available to anyone in the Command Center or anywhere on the Internet (assuming network connectivity).
Eagle and Microsoft Office SQL Server
SharePoint data can be stored within a SQL Server database. This is especially useful if there is a lot of data. A variety of data can be stored in SQL Server 2008, anywhere and anytime, from structured, semi-structured to unstructured documents (such as geometries, images and rich media), directly within the database. SQL Server 2008 delivers a rich set of integrated services enabling queries, searches, synchronizations, reports, and analysis.
Eagle and ESRI ArcGIS
The Eagle applications contain a substantial amount of geographical information and spatially enabled components. Using the interactive maps, users can zoom, pan, select objects, add and edit spatial data, or change symbolization. For all this functionality a variety of ESRI’s ArcGIS products are used as mapping engine, displaying all geographical information on various map backgrounds (such as aerial photographs).
ArcGIS is an integrated collection of Geographical Information System (GIS) software products that provides a standards-based platform for spatial analysis, data management, and mapping. ArcGIS is scalable and can be integrated with other enterprise systems such as work order management, business intelligence, and executive dashboards. ArcGIS products and tools are available for desktop-based, web-based, or mobile field solutions.
Eagle and Microsoft Virtual Earth
Microsoft Virtual Earth contains high resolution spatial data of the earth and can display these, 2D or 3D, within a browser. The Eagle Suite contains several applications, such as Eagle Wall and Eagle Live, which can use the Virtual Earth platform combined with ESRI’s Virtual Earth API to display the geographical incident data as custom layers on the Virtual Earth background. This gives users rich functionality for panning, zooming, analysis, 3D view and birds eye view, with all incident data being displayed within its spatial context and selectable by space, time, and textual characteristics.
Eagle and Microsoft Silverlight
Microsoft Silverlight is used in Eagle Wall and Eagle Playback. Its functionality is convenient to display incident data with an attractive and useful user interface, enabling fast responses and “Deep Zoom” capabilities. ESRI’s Silverlight API is used to play back changes in geographic information minute-by-minute and to provide rich spatial analysis, displayed on the Virtual Earth map background.
Eagle and Microsoft Surface
The Microsoft Surface multi-touch table product allows multiple users to manipulate images and maps using fingers, hands or specific pointing devices. Multiple people can simultaneously gather around and interact with the table, which thus takes the role of a conference table. With this innovative new technology, tactical and strategic command can get an overview of the disaster on a table-wide map, zoom in and out using one or two fingers, and indicate locations for staff to go to.
Eagle Surface uses Microsoft Surface, in combination with Geodan’s multi-touch mapping engine, Virtual Earth backgrounds, and spatial data synchronized from the Groove incident workspace to compose a perfect overview in a virtual command center.
Eagle and Geodan Movida
Geodan Movida is Geodan’s tracking-and-tracking system, tracing people and assets (such as vehicles). Tracing of staff in the field is essential during a crisis. In case of large amounts of staff, it is not feasible to trace all staff every second, because the network load due to Groove’s synchronization processes would be too high. Therefore Geodan Movida allows selecting the tracking rate, and filtering by covered distance or by individual.
Geodan Movida enables alerting based on people entering or exiting certain areas (such as the extent of a poisonous gas cloud), or within a certain distance of each other. It is possible to see and store those alerts in either Groove or SQL Server database. All these data is then available on demand in Eagle Playback or for real-time analysis.
Eagle and Cyclorama’s
In crisis situations an overview of the disaster site and its environment is extremely valuable. The combination of aerial imagery of Virtual Earth and Cyclorama’s (spherical panoramic 360◦ images) contribute to this Common Operation Picture. These complementary visualisations integrated with many geographical information layers, give decision makers and supporting personnel a concrete and realistic view of the disaster site and its environment. This allows them to analyze and predict the consequences of certain actions and reduces miscommunication – everybody is talking about the same situation.