The iSAR+ Project aims to research and develop guidelines and an associated platform that, in emergencies or crises, enables citizens using new mobile and online technologies to actively participate in the response effort, through the bi-directional provision, dissemination, sharing and retrieval of information essential for critical Public Protection and Disaster Relief (PPDR) intervention, in search and rescue (SAR), law enforcement and medical assistance.

Empowered by the new communication media, such as mobile phones with cameras, text messaging and internet-based applications connecting to social media platforms, citizens are the in situ first sensors, but their added-value involvement in crisis response efforts is often disregarded by PPDRs, as they struggle to timely develop an adequate situational awareness. iSAR+ innovates the approach to the dynamics between citizens and PPDRs in crises, allowing:

  1. The leverage of PPDRs’ levels of shared awareness and performance, benefiting from citizens’ published information
  2. The exploitation of mobile platforms’ ubiquity to search, locate and effectively communicate with citizens
  3. The redirection of citizens’ large energy and information flow into PPDRs platforms.

Joining large, medium and small companies (SMEs), Universities, Research and Technological Organisations (RTOs) and a wide community of end-users and experts from Europe, Chile and the United States (US), the iSAR+ Consortium is one of the Project’s strengths, for it is a multi-disciplinary and complementary collective, with solid competences and experience developing research and development (R&D) projects. Its ambitious goal is to create guidelines and a platform that, respecting the organisational culture of crisis response and the European Union (EU) legislation and concerns on privacy, considers the related organisational, human, technological, legal and ethical dimensions to enable a gradual evolution towards the full implementation of the iSAR+ services, an efficient and effective solution to articulate the involvement of new media users in the effort to ensure citizens’ security in SAR and crisis situations.