Professor Priyan Mendis and Dr Tuan Ngo, of the Department of Infrastructure Engineering, are world-leaders in infrastructure protection research. They lead a team of researchers working on a program that will provide decision-makers in crisis situations with accurate predictions of which buildings, bridges, tunnels, pipelines, power or telecommunication towers could fall following a bomb blast or a fire. The technology will also provide information about the vulnerability of critical underground infrastructures such as water, gas pipelines and urban utility networks.
Predicting the impact of a bomb blast, a fire or a chemical spill and knowing the most effective evacuation route from any CBD location in Australia could save thousands of lives during a disaster. Using 3D GIS mapping systems of Australian cities which include precise details of all natural and man-made features, the technology can predict the impact of a disaster and provide real-time information about safe evacuation routes.
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. This kind of information can be used to help save lives in the event of a bomb blast.
The tool is also capable of predicting the size of charge that caused by a blast, which can prove vital during police investigations.
It is the first system in the world to combine evacuation information, building and infrastructure vulnerability as well as post blast analysis. The data collected will be made available to the Australian police and emergency management services.
The software platform, HPVAT, has already been successfully used by state police authorities during various counter-terrorism exercises, and the team is developing an online program which will provide vital information to all emergency and police services across the nation in real time.