The German Joint Information and Situation Centre (GMLZ), which was established in 2002 as an entity of the German Federal Office of Civil Protection and Disaster Assistance (BBK), fulfils three core tasks: In addition to handling situation and resource management, it is also the German National Contact Point (NCP) for around 20 national and international notification and warning procedures. The GMLZ was restructured in 2015/2016 and equipped with cutting-edge technology so that it could continue to meet the increasing volume of relevant requirements and carry out the corresponding tasks.
“Thanks to the modernised technical setup and the expansion of the space, we can now serve as the centralized, specialist national situation centre for civil protection in Germany in an even more effective and efficient manner.”
Christoph Schmidt-Taube, Director of the GMLZ
New intuitive video wall in the control room
The GMLZ desks were upgraded and a number of new technical features were introduced to the site. The new video wall in the control room features a total of 12 55” TFT LED screens; this setup not only saves on space, but is also versatile and easy to upgrade. National and international news channels can also be continually streamed on four additional monitors. A 20” Crestron widescreen touch panel is used to operate the video wall. The user interface provides a clear display of video and audio signals across regions, as well as a selection of pre-configured scenarios such as situation briefings, single layers, and so on. The user interface’s self-explanatory structure enables intuitive operation and significantly reduces the need to train employees who have not yet worked with the system.
Crestron media control system and signal processing
The equipment room now includes, among other things, a Crestron CP3N control system with firewall functionality for media control as well as a 4K-capable modular multimedia matrix, each of which features 64 inputs and outputs for digital signal processing. The video signals distributed across compact Crestron interface modules can be displayed on the media wall regardless of their resolution.
A split computer enables the simultaneous display of up to 18 video signals on the media wall, while a video conference system integrated into the media control system can be operated using a 20” touch panel.
Video conference system and digital situation desk
Video conference systems are available for all of the regions relevant to operations. Like all of the technologies integrated into the media control system, the video conference system is also intuitive to operate and only requires minimal user training. It supports multipoint video conferences with up to 30 participants as well as audio conferences with up to 120 audio participants. All of the video signals that are produced in the GMLZ can be recorded on a digital recording system.
The digital situation desk developed in cooperation with the Fraunhofer Institute is also integrated into the GMLZ media control system. This desk provides various different map backgrounds as well as the option to integrate satellite images and other geo-referenced information. Users can enter information on situations directly into the desk via touchscreen, and create maps containing additional information that can then be distributed to partners. Thanks to its new technological equipment, connection to the German Federal Modular Warning System (MoWaS) and internal connection to the Technical Relief Service (THW), the GMLZ numbers among Europe’s most cutting-edge situation centres.
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