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Personal locator radiobeacons application in extreme situations


The Global subsystem of increasing personal defense in extreme situations - “RODONIT”

Tech Area / Field

  • INF-SOF/Software/Information and Communications
  • INS-OTH/Other/Instrumentation
  • INF-SIG/Sensors and Signal Processing/Information and Communications

3 Approved without Funding

Registration date

Leading Institute
Inter-Regional Public Association of Assistance in Development Technology for Prevention and Liquidation of Emergency Situations, Russia, Moscow

Supporting institutes

  • Headquarters for Civil Defence and Emergency Situations of Moscow, Russia, Moscow\nCompany TEKOS, Russia, Moscow reg., Korolev\nMorsvyazsputnik, Russia, Moscow\nCentral Administrative Board for Civil Defence Affairs and Emergencies in Sakhalin Region, Russia, Sakhalin reg., Yujno-Sakhalinsk\nCentral Management on a Civil Defence and Emergencies Situations of Krasnoyarsk Region, Russia, Krasnoyarsk reg., Krasnoyarsk-26\nScientific Research Institute for Space Device Engineering, Russia, Moscow\nCentral Research Institute of Machine Building (TsNIIMash), Russia, Moscow reg., Korolev


  • US Department of Commerce / National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration / National Environmental Satellite, Data and Information Service, USA, MD, Suitland

Project summary


Ministry for Civil Defence Affairs and Emergencies of Russian Federation (EMERCOM) is planning to design and implement the System of an inpidual radio-alert in extreme and emergency situations “RODONIT” with Personal radiobeacons utilization.

As a first step, in order to carry out the System RODONIT development, EMERCOM intends to organize an experimental zone on the territory of Russia to approve main ideas and approaches in construction prototype of a robust system. This subject is the content of the proposed Project.

For this purpose EMERCOM has engaged a public association, instituted especially to assist in development the technologies for prevention and liquidation of emergency situations (IPAADT). IPAADT involves recognized specialists and experts of the subject and has developed the concept of the RODONIT system.

The system RODONIT mission is to provide an immediate help for people, both local citizens and foreign tourists and firms representatives, if they are stand in emergency or dangerous situation, under the threat of health, body or property safe or/and then collective security needs an immediate action.

Whichever person or group of people have fallen to emergency prey, lost your way in unknown area, a child got lost, you have been a witness of violence or catastrophe, somebody has needed an urgent help, - in any of those cases an inpidual will be able to press a knob on you personal radiobeacon panel and safe the emergency situation.

The System development is targeted to accept the urgent world requirements in increasing of the human safety factor and expire the results of this project over the all countries interested in building of a national human security system. The results of this project will assist in taking together world forces in a straggle with growing terrorism to increase the inpidual human safety.

The System RODONIT covers two principal parts:

A). Subsystem to serve people with an urgent help in less populated or uninhabited areas.

B). Subsystem to service people alerting in inhabited areas.

Finally the both parts will exist in a form of an integrated system with common information support services, utilized mixed standards, heterogeneous technologies (including GPS and GSM) and equipment with public and private legislation of use of search and rescue services. The System RODONIT shall cover international requirements.

Strategically the part A is the First Stage of development under the name “ The global subsystem of monitoring and enhancing protection of life and property in extreme situations with utilizing radiobeacons in the international “COSPAS-SARSAT” system structure”. The part B is the Second Stage called “ The local subsystem of monitoring and enhancing citizen’s mutual aid and protection of life and property in extreme situations with utilizing personal (private) radiobeacons”.

At the last annual 50th World Exhibition of Innovation, Research and New Technologies or Brussels Eureka that has been taken place at Brussels Expo (Heysel) in November 2001 with about 800 participants from 40 countries, there were exposed the most innovative technologies of leading specialists and creators in research, the Project, exposed by IPAADT and described above as the Second Stage of the RODONIT System, was awarded the medal and won the third place.

The main task of this Proposal to evaluate the First Stage of the RODONIT System as an experimental pilot project on the territory of Russian Federation. The results will be utilized in deployment of the Full functional system of interest of the world human community.

Utilized equipment and resources:

1. The International satellite system of location and emergency notification “COSPAC-SAPSAT”.

2. Utilizing of organizational, methodical and technical experience of the Ministry for Civil Defence Affairs and Emergencies of Russian Federation (EMERCOM), obtained in search and rescuing operations.

3. The organizational structure of EMERCOM, including regional search and rescuing services, equipped with technical and rescue tools.

4. Administration support in regions, where experiments will be conducted.

Short description

The project task is to research and development of a pilot variant of the subsystem RODONIT to provide personal rescue services to the people equipped with personal radiobeacons (PLB).

While receiving a distress signal from a personal radiobeacon (PLB) the “COSPAC-SAPSAT” system determinates position of its source. The subsystem “RODONIT” should provide connection between existed COSPAS-SARSAT system with its operational data centers with search and rescue guards (SAR), that are dislocated under the orders of Regional administration boards for Civil Defence Affairs and Emergencies of EMERCOM RF.

The Subsystem “RODONIT” will include following base elements:

- Personal radiabecons, to be found in personal (group) using;

- Management Information System (MIS), including central and territorial databases;

- Public and private telecommunication channels;

- Legal cover of the project;

- Experimental sites for conducting experiments;

- Search and Rescue services and other structural elements of the EMERCOM RF.

One of the basic element of the project is the Management Informational System (MIS), allowing to transfer data to the regional rescue centers, to conduct operational and statistical records. Development and support of the MIS is necessary, that as according to COSPAS-SARSAT international standards, concerning the rules, that information data about a radiobeacon’s owner should be stored in a database. According to this requirement the digital signal includes an identification code of the beacon, information on the type of emergency, a country code and other information.

As a scope of project work it’s suggested evaluate content of a distress signal by including an additional information. For this purpose the new designed PLB key-panel could select one of the standard emergency types: private threat, health threat, terrorism threat, fire etc. This data could be included in the frame of a digital signal as an additional information, what is permitted by tcurrent standard of the “COSPAC-SAPSAT” system. Elaboration of the structure of an additional data field encapsulated in transmitted distress signal is one of the valid task of the project.

Other project tasks:

1. Development of new PLB’s models according to user’s interests and search and rescue services demand.

2. Elaboration of terms and rules of registration, service and periodical verification of the proper condition of PLBs.

3. Elaboration of legal rules, regulating of PLB’s usage on the territory of Russian Federation.

4. Utilizing the project results for future putting into operation of the robust system RODONIT.

5. Evaluation of international cooperation, concerning utilization the COSPAS-SARSAT system for utilizing in inpidual rescue services.

“COSPAS-SARSAT” and International experience

The International satellite “COSPAS-SARSAT” system was initially developed under a Memorandum of Understanding among Agencies of the former USSR, USA, Canada and France, signed in 1979 for detection and positioning of ships, aircrafts and others objects in distress situation on all surface of globe. The system allows to obtain a distress signal from radiobeacons, store signals on-board COSPAS-SARSAT satellites and then later retransmit it to a ground station. The system transmits distress alerting signals on frequencies 121,500 MHz and 406 MHz.

Various national requirements exist for the different types radiobeacons not otherwise subject to international conventions, and some countries have authorized the 406 MHz emergency Personal Locator Beacons for use onland, in remote or rugged areas.

The system based on the “COSPAC-SAPSAT” PLBs successfully operates in Canada and USA. Now in USA goes on a continuous project on making proposed rules for providing a legal status for inpidual PLBs using and guarantee reaction from SAR services.

Taking into account experience of these countries in PLB application, IPAADT invited The National Oceanic and Atmospheric of the United States Department of Commerce (NOAA) to take part in the project as a collaborator.

Necessary conditions

1. To succeed in realization of the project it is necessary to set reliable interaction between services responsible for “COSPAC-SAPSAT” alert signal reception and SAR services.

The State enterprise “Morsvyzsputnik” is the resident representative of the “COSPAC-SAPSAT” system from Russia and responsible for a space segment of the system. As a department of “Morsvyzsputnik” there is the International Coordinating Computer Center (MKVC) as a one of an operator, or Mission Control Centers (MCC) within the COSPAS-SARSAT system. MKVC has communication links within COSPAS-SARSAT data transmission network and manages capability to receive and operate distress signals from the orbit COSPAS_SARSAT satellites. With these organizations were established regular relations and received concurrence to take part in the project.

At this stage will be obtained necessary organizational and technical actions to develop the MIS for to input, transmission, storage, modification and output particular information to establish data interface between MKVC and SAR services of EMERCOM.

2. Shall be developed and accepted the legal rules of regulations: acquisition, registration and utilization of PLB in state/private organizations and by inpiduals.

3. To work out the models of personal radiobeacons, corresponding to standards of the “COSPAC-SAPSAT” system and at the same time meeting requirements, elaborated by Russia, for example: time of continuous work, parameters of activation, dimensions and weight, the environmental conditions of work, data density and capacity, security and others.

Specific characters, following approaches and methodology

Preliminary analysis demonstrates, that the function reliability of the subsystem “RODONIT” depends on the complicity of interactivity of the components that are the existed parts of the system architecture. From this point in a grate importance the approaches and methodology focused on the proper data flow description, both on horizontal and vertical levels of the data diagram scheme. The other an important condition is an organizational legal base, regulated relations of the participants and elements of the system.

To take into account those and others parameters, corresponding with reliability requirements, responsiveness, safety and others the following preliminary works and organizational actions have been undertaken:

1. The technical and organizational concept has been elaborated.

2. There was elaborated the plan of the project realization, including the following stages:

· determination of the subsystem requirement;

· development of the basic PLB prototypes;

· development of the breadboard components within the subsystem;

· development of the prototype subsystem’s components;

· organization of experimental sites*;

· experiments preparation and execution;

· the legal questions analysis, elaboration of basis parts of legal rules;

· summation and project results analysis.

* Zones there are planning to organize experimental sites in the Moscow city, Krasnoyrsk region and Sakhalin area.

3. The organizations and institutes, taking part in the project have been designated.

The expected results

1. The PLB models designed with necessary technical and others requirements. Certification.

2. The adjustment of all elements of services, encapsulated in the system.

3. Development of the pilot prototype of MIS and distributed database (DB).

4. Discovering of weak points in the system during real-time experiment execution.

5. Elaborating of the legal basis rules.

6. The reporting and other documents preparation for subsequent organization, deployment and exploitation of the subsystem “RODONIT”.

7. Project results agreement - consists of the memorandum, described subsequent utilization of the project results, terms and budget.

The preliminary evaluation, estimated by the specialists of MKVC and EMERCOM, gives basis to believe that during the first 5 years of the project open exploitation could be 75000 existing PLB users. The international experience as well as estimations of foreign specialists, partly of the USA similar project producers, are given more than optimistic prognoses.

Yet, in very first years of the system maintenance the project producers recommends to restrict free PLB use by the general public and recommend to distribute PLBs between state organizations and organized group of the people. It’s necessary to analyze possibility of PLB licensing.

The question of PLB exploitation and ownership is distinguished in a single task of the project at the level of legal elaboration.

The Project participants

1. The project leads by IPAADT - Inter-regional public association of assistance in development technology for prevention and liquidation of emergency situations (represents the interests of the EMERCOM RF). Being in a head of the project IPAADT is a public, non-commercial, voluntary based association of citizens. IPAADT was founded in 1997 year. The general target of IPAADT activity is assistance in development, creation of the methodology and facilities for prevention and liquidation of emergency situations.

2. GUP “Morsvyzsputnik” (RF Ministry of Transport) – the state enterprise of space connection and navigation systems “Morsvyzsputnik” provides space segment support in the COSPAS-SARSAT system. The International Coordinating Computer Center COSPAS-SARSAT (MKVC) is represented as a department of “Morsvyzsputnik” and at the same time is the Mission Control Centers (MCC) within the COSPAS-SARSAT system. MKVC has communication links within COSPAS-SARSAT data transmission system and responsible to operate distress signals from the orbit COSPAS-SARSAT satellites.

3. NII KP – The Federal Unitary State Enterprise Institute of Space Device Engineering (Rosaviacosmos) – is the leading firm in RF in a field of designing devices and equipment for space systems, for positioning ships and aircrafts in distress situations, satellite navigate and geodesic systems and apparatus for users of such systems, telemetry of satellite apparatus.

4. TSNIImash – The Federal State Unitary Enterprise “Central Research Institute of Machine Building” (Rosaviacosmos ) – is the leading Russian institute in a field of designing space systems.

5. “Company “TECOS” – the Russian enterprise with a large experience in developing and deployment corporate projects of distributed information systems for the state structures of Russian Federation.

6. CA CDEs - (Central Administrative boards for Civil Defence Affairs and Emergencies) of the federal administrative subjects of Russian Federation. (Sakchalin, Krasnoyrsk and Moscow).

Project results application

Realizing that the world community rapidly developed towards international cooperation in a straggle with inforcing terrorism appearance the project results can be find its application in any field concerning people or private estates security especially in a zone of potentially dangerous for human health and life both on land and sea.


For the optimization of the project management and simultaneously achievement all targets of the project it will be taken into account first of all multi-objective aspect of the solving tasks and necessity of search of an alternative at designing the MIS, DB and PLBs. The contents of works, number of the executors are determined by minimization of costs while executing the scheduled dates as a whole.


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