The goal of the project was to take stock of state of the art EO, ICT and navigation technologies, for developing an appropriate and adaptive geospatial information platform, capable to effectively support decision making, both during surveillance mission planning and in-field border patrol operations. The enterprise implementation of such a platform and the deployment of its functional background are envisaged in a continuum approach, allowing future expansion over the entire national border space, either maritime or terrestrial (blue and green borders), so as centralized Command & Control be facilitated via its imminent incorporation on the EUROSUR. In this perspective and taking into account the extensive border space of Greece, the development plan of the platform will be focused over the most challenging areas (blue and green), where the main irregular immigration activity occurs, i.e. in the maritime domain the emphasis will be focused over the Aegean Sea, while in the terrestrial over the Evros River border zone (FRONTEX annual risk analysis, ARA, 2011).
The effectiveness perception of the proposed platform builds upon two core elements: 1) Capability to spotlight decisive features for spatial/temporal target area apprehension and 2) Interoperability, i.e. integration with the other parts of border surveillance and data infrastructure, via ICT and navigation links, for providing in situ picture of the situation. In this outlook, the strategy for developing the proposed platform consists of the following objectives:
Establish criteria for categorization of land/sea border segments from macro to micro scale, in terms of irregular crossing risks on a year-round basis taking into account trend analysis and seasonal changes.
In the maritime domain, utilize EO data to survey maritime border areas, out of ground based radar stations, in order to identify potential hot spots of suspect movements of unidentified ships.
In the terrestrial domain, utilize EO data, combined with field observations, to identify, analyze and register, natural and man-made elements as well as environmental changes, leading to operational area-specific apprehensions of border vulnerabilities and risks, for optimizing and secure surveillance and patrol operations.
Establish specifications and realize enterprise implementation of the geospatial platform in terms of interoperability and deploy its components and functions, allowing plug-ins for real-time communication to/from in-field operations, with other surveillance means, as well as with data infrastructure, in a corporate manner.
The diverse threats of border security, which become increasingly of more unconventional nature, sift the demands of relevant task forces towards substantially technologically oriented approaches. A principal issue for effectiveness improvement is the capability to accomplish Command & Control, via rapid and comprehensive situational awareness. This can be achieved by integrating all parts of reconnaissance, surveillance and intelligence, in central Command-Control-Communication-Computer & Intelligence systems (C4ls), with appropriate purpose-oriented geo-information platforms at their core. The challenges, associated with the implementation enterprise of such C4I systems, form a field of scientific and technological excellence, highly demanded by the thriving border security market. Therefore, the main expected return for the consortium partners by the proposed project is to advance collectively their knowledge and excellence in this sector, while stepping forward in the exploitation of the achieved results and experience, to promote their presence in such a thriving market. In the context of genera! socioeconomic benefit, it is obvious that strengthening border security leads to mitigation of a wide spectrum of risks to the society, particularly under expected rising of irregular immigration flows, due to the political volatility in the SE Mediterranean region.