About TRL

The SFU Telematics Research Laboratory (TRL) and its PolyLAB unit are providing the core systems development expertise for the project. For over two past decades Simon Fraser University has been involved in many advanced projects addressing the need for transportable, integrated, computing and communications solutions, ranging from emergency response through to space exploration systems development.  This work has been undertaken principally through TRL, a world pioneer in the development and implementation of advanced networking techniques for enabling communications in extreme environments.  Principal researchers are Peter Anderson, TRL Director and Associate Professor, School of Communication and Steve Braham, Adjunct Professor and Director of TRL’s PolyLAB for Advanced Collaborative Networking unit.

SFU TRL expertise is spread over 35 years, and R&D performers have had major impact on methodologies, architectures, and implementations of mission-critical situational awareness tools.

Building Disaster Resilient Critical Infrastructure to Save Lives, Property and the Environment

Some of the TRL’s most notable communications contributions and collaborations include: the Emergency Preparedness Information Exchange (EPIX), the world’s first Internet service devoted to emergency management; hosting the first Internet gateway to enable the UN to distribute its disaster situation reports and appeals for assistance worldwide; providing one of the world’s first Internet mirror sites to facilitate backup emergency communications support for California State emergency services during the Northridge Earthquake response and recovery phases; developing and hosting the first Internet sites for key Canadian and international emergency management organizations, including Emergency Preparedness Canada (now Public Safety Canada), BC Provincial Emergency Program (now Emergency Management BC), Emergency Preparedness for Industry and Commerce Council (EPICC), BC Emergency Social Services Association (ESSA), NATO Civil Protection Committee, and the UN International Decade for Natural Disaster Reduction and UN International Strategy for Disaster Reduction programs; improving tsunami warning techniques in the Pacific and Indian Ocean regions; designing and implementing advanced mobile communication gateways and systems to support multi-agency response and recovery operations; conducting critical communication infrastructure risk assessments and developing just-in-time mitigation strategies during major emergencies and disasters.

Building Mission Critical Network-Centric Solutions in Space Exploration

In the area of space systems, the TRL, through its award-winning PolyLAB unit, has established an international reputation in advanced computing, communications, and mission concepts for Solar System exploration and advanced internal spacecraft systems, for a range of space agencies. This includes highly visible deployment of advanced field communications to support the SETI Institute and Mars Institute-lead NASA Haughton-Mars Project (HMP) on Devon Island in the High Arctic (http://marsonearth.com).  HMP is the largest analogue planetary study in the world, and includes a wide range of international partners.  The TRL’s PolyLAB unit is responsible for the integration of all fixed and portable communication systems linking simulated spacecraft computing facilities that are located in simulated planetary surface habitats, on human-crewed rovers and robotic elements, and worn by spacesuit researchers on-site in Haughton Crater with Mission Control facilities at NASA and space research centres. A major focus of this work involves ensuring robust communication in extreme environments with a concentration on the needs of life-critical safety communication.  In addition to HMP, PolyLAB has been a major leader in the development of the latest emerging systems architectures for Solar System exploration, and has received funding for multiple development projects and studies from the Canadian Space Agency (CSA). This includes presently ongoing design and development of Canada’s prototype lunar/Mars surface communication networking systems withMacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates Ltd. (MDA). Dr. Braham represents SFU as an Associate Member on the Consultative Committee for Space Data Systems (CCSDS), supporting CSA in discussions and development of international standards between the world’s space agencies, in all aspects of computing, networking, and communications in spaceflight. He also worked for many years as a member of the CSA’s nine-member Space Exploration Advisory Committee (SEAC), providing community leadership and representation in aspects of human space exploration in Canada.