Project Information

Information about the Project


Development of the ICMS


COBRA becomes ICMS - Short History

The Belgian national «Incident & Crisis Management System» platform is based on the COBRA-software, of which development started in 1998. A first version was operational in 2000.

CEMAC and (at that time) DGI (now through merger-and-acquisition "Dynamis") signed in 2014 a strategic agreement on the development of the software for Europe an other parts of the world.

From within this existing structure the partners proposed as part of a European tender and purchase process for the core system for the Belgian ICMS. COBRA was selected above twelve other national and international candidates.




COBRA becomes ICMS - Project phase 1

The process of modifying the existing standard software to meet the specific Belgian requirements has started in january 2016. The definition of functional requirements is done by the Belgian Ministry of the Interior and the future users. This is done through weekly working group sessions with these representatives and experts of TCD to discuss desired modifications and operational augmentations to the sofware, module per module.


Several mixed (Belgo-American) teams from CEMAC and Dynamis work on software modifications, training materials development, translations, technical roll-out preparation and other aspects of the implementation of the ICMS.


The project is run via Agile project management with sprints of typically 2 to 3 weeks.





ICMS since 01-JAN-2017

ICMS became operational on 31 december 2016.

As of that date, ICMS is available 24/7 to Belgian authorities, emergency services and "directly concerned partners" in crisis management.

4,000 functional entities were connected from the onset.

Some examples ...

  • All Belgian fire zones
  • All hospitals with an Emergency department, Dir-Med, Red Cross, ...
  • Alle departments of the federal police and all local police zones
  • The units of the civil protection
  • All military units, including specialised entities such as MIK, SAR, EOD
  • All 112 centres
  • All provincial emergeny planning agencies
  • All Belgian municipalities
  • All emergency planners
  • Specialised entities such as CCB (Cyber), FASFC (Food safety), FANC (Nuclear inspection)
  • National ministries (Federal Public Services): Interior affairs (project sponsor), Public health, Defence, Mobility, Economy, ;..
  • Nuclear facility operators
  • Critical infrastructure operators
  • High tier Seveso companies
  • Utility companies (Fluxys, Elia, Distribution System Operators)
  • Belgian airports and sea ports
  • Management agencies for waterways, road, ...




Additional Developments

A development of additional functionalities and totally new modules - initially not in the scope of ICMS - has started in 2017 based on developing new 'user requirements'.

The 2017 DEV (development) programme involves:

  • 180d & BE-Alert: linking ICMS with the BE-Alert platform and activation of the automaticd data validation in ICMS (also to establish GDPR compliance);
  • Risk Indicators: addition of a national risk indicators dashboard, some of which with a real time situation feed into ICMS ;
  • RPAS - Chem.DET: real time link between ICMS and Civil Protection's Remotely Piloted Aerial System (drone) with chem detectors;
  • Safer-integratie: integration of chemical dispersion plumes;
  • W..S: extension of real time links through new geod and data oriented Web Services;
  • MedOps1: real time management of national capacity in hospital beds and in medical treatment capacity.


All of these modules are scheduled to be integrated in the operational system before end of 2017.






A Unique Project


Various elements in this project make the creation of ICMS a truly unique endeavour:


  • The system will offer a unique suite of tools to an entire country in one roll-out. This is unprecedented in any other national system implementation abroad.


  • The "time to implement " - which it the time between supplier selection and actual initial operational status – is, given the scale of the implementation, unique and extremely ambitious. This is of course also a major motivator for all persons involved and a major trigger towards swift decision making for key aspects of the system.


  • The working groups are composed of representatives from the various levels of authority and emergency services and not only treat the technologocial aspects of the system, but also discuss the methodological aspects of crisis management in Belgium..


  • The client chose not only to implement to the maximum possible EDXL in database structures but also to establish as much connections as possible with external databases (via web services).


  • The conceptual choice to adapt multiple tools to establish conformity with contemporary standards (UN, EU, NATO, ...) will improve significantly both the capability of domestic crisis management as the possilibities for international collaboration via ICMS.


  • Novel concepts of data management and the link with data ownership will be implemented: data owners will be invited by the system to verify and updated the data stored about them in ICMS themselves.


  • ICMS will also be the pivotal system between data flows from various other systems and other sources relevent in crisis management. One premier example will be the linking between ICMS and BE-Alert the new Belgian alerting system for the population..









EDXL - Emergency Data Exchange Language - is a package of global standards aimed at facilitating the exchange between digital systems and focused on emergency management data sets.

Systems in which the data sets are built in conformity with EDXL can very easily communicate with other systems and exchange data between databases and applications, both in connections with human users as with machine-machine communication.


From the onset of the project, the Belgian Ministry of the Interior has decided in consultation with CEMAC and Dynamis, to implement EDXL to the maximum, and thus to adapt existing modules or to develop new modules:


  • EDXL-CAP (Common Alerting Protocol)
  • EDXL-DE (Data Elements)
  • EDXL-GIS (Cartografie / Risk Mapping)
  • EDXL-HAVE (Hospital Availability)
  • EDXL-RM (Resource Management)
  • EDXL-SITREP (Situation Reporting)
  • EDXL-TEP (Tracking of Emergency Patients)


This choice is innovative and this alone makes the bulding of ICMS a very state-of-the art project ... at global level !


In addition, the functional requirements integrate other standards and recommendations, such as the "Only Once – Once Only" directive, elements from INSPIRE and evolving Belgian guidelines and standards on data systems.




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