The technology will also provide information about the vulnerability of critical underground infrastructures such as water, gas pipelines and urban utility networks.
Research Manager of the Project from the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Melbourne, Dr Tuan Ngo, says predicting the impact of a bomb blast, and knowing the most effective evacuation route from any CBD location in Australia could save thousands of lives during a disaster.
“Using precise mapping systems of Australian cities which include precise details of all natural and man-made features the technology can predict the impact of a bomb blast and provide real time information about safe evacuation routes,” he says.
“The accuracy of this technology is based on analysing variables such as the type of explosive, the fragmentation effects caused by the device and varying effects of the urban environment. Imagine if they knew how the buildings were going to collapse during September 11, a lot of lives would have been saved.”
The team will spend the next two years making this information available to all Australian police and emergency management services after being awarded the largest 2010 Research Support for National Security Grant from the Australian Government. The grants were officially announced at The University of Melbourne yesterday.
The tool is also capable of predicting the size of charge which caused a blast, which can prove vital during police investigations. Dr Ngo says he believes it is the first system in the world to combine evacuation information, building and infrastructure vulnerability as well as post blast analysis.
The software platform has already been successfully used by state police authorities during various counter-terrorism exercises, and this funding will enable the team to create an online program which can provide this vital information to all emergency and police services across the nation in real time.
Dr Tuan Ngo, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Department of Engineering on 03 83447950 or 0411987732
Emma O’Neill, Media Unit, University of Melbourne on 03 83447220 or 0432758734.