SenSafety is about opportunistic sensing for safety in public spaces. Its goal is to collect, analyze and disseminate data by means of a sensor network. The sensor network is heterogeneous and is a collection of sensors in the existing traditional infrastructure, wired and wireless sensor networks and mobile phones. The incorporation of this heterogeneous set of sensors, including mobile phones offers the opportunity to collect information in places normally not covered by other sensors.
The potential of thousands of sensors and the resulting overwhelming amount of sensor data puts the project for a number of scientific and technical challenges: Semantics: How to find higher-level meaning out of all data. Scalability: How to let a network of thousands of nodes behave efficiently. Dissemination: How to spread information in this network to inform people efficiently. Opportunistic communication: How to communicate when the normal infrastructure is down.
Safety gets its inspiration from recent incidents, where a normal situation suddenly becomes an emergency. Although first responders are trained for these incidents, every incident is unique. Key to handle such an incident is to get a reliable overview of what is happening as quickly as possible. Only when the situation is understood sufficiently, it is possible to inform first responders and the general public.
An example is the fireworks explosion in Enschede. Because the mobile phone networks were overloaded, or even down by the explosion, no detailed information and overview of the situation was available. A second source of inspiration is the fire in a chemical storage facility in Moerdijk. Nobody understood the situation because of lack of sensor data.