Prague to use virtual reality to deal with emergencies

Some 46 projects will get Kč 2 billion in EU funds by 2020

Prague is preparing dozens of projects under EU programs. The total cost of the projects is Kč 2.74 billion, and the EU will pay roughly Kč 2 billion. City Hall will pay Kč 750 million and the state will add Kč 194 million. Programs using new technology to deal with floods and other emergencies are a key part.

“The projects currently being implemented or prepared by the capital can be divided into four thematic areas — innovation, security, environment and education. The degree of co-financing from the European or national budget and the budget of the capital differs from project to project, but in general over 70 percent of the costs of will come from EU programs and the state budget,” City Councilor Irena Ropková, responsible for drawing money from EU funds, said on the City Hall website.

The EU funds will come from Prague – the Pole of Growth and other operational programs. Two-thirds of 46 three-year projects started in 2017 and most of them will be completed in 2020.

The largest projects include the construction of a parking lot at Černý Most and modification of city buildings for more economical operation.

Dealing with the potential of floods and other emergencies is also part of the focus. Prague was hit by large floods in 2002 and 2013, and also has flash floods.

One project uses advanced imaging and virtual reality technology to deal with crisis situations. City Hall calls it “an evolutionary shift in the field.” that can send 3D images in real time from the scene of a crisis situation.

“This project will dramatically expand the possibilities of assessing crisis situations. Now we are dependent transmitting information verbally, or sending a text description or 2D image from security cameras,” Daniel Barták, head of crisis management at City Hall said.

The project is budgeted at Kč 43.7 million of which Kč 21.9 million is financed by the City Hall. The project was launched Nov. 1, 2017, and will be completed by the end of 2020.

A digital flood plan will provide an effective tool for the Flood Commission. This plan will cover the entire administrative area of Prague except for Prague 3 and Satalice. It will include individual river basins and address the threat to the population in all 57 city districts.

“The reason for the digital flood plan is the need for the capital to operate quickly and with sufficient information to respond to all types of flood threats. This plan electronically processes text, data and graphics, and joins these through links, registers and searches,” Barták said. The total budget for the digital flood plan is Kč 19 million, and the city will contribute Kč 3.8 million. The project runs from 2016 and is scheduled to end in 2020 when a final evaluation will take place.

Another flood management program is currently being prepared “The Operational Flood Management Project provides a tool, for example, in the case of flash floods caused by torrential rain. The aim is to provide information on the flood situation to the relevant crisis management authorities in advance,” Barták said.

The project should allow for the prediction of the rapid development of rainfall and flood events in relatively small areas. The estimated costs of the project will be CZK 17 million, while a state subsidy from the State Environmental Fund may cover up to 85 percent.

The Project Management Department seeks new ways to finance the needs of the City Hall. It provides project management services for European projects and streamlines, accelerates and simplifies drawing of funds, according to City Hall.

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