Preparatory actions

Three preparatory actions were performed:
     P1 - Review of existing plans and methodologies, identification of OPERA requirements, 
     P2 - Data collection for the Italian case study, 
     P3 - Data collection for the French case study.

The first action was realized through direct consultation with European, national and local institutions responsible for air quality planning. Its aim was to identify strengths and weaknesses in the currently available methodologies and to propose a set of requirements to improve them. The analysis was mainly focused on the tools already available by the partners of this LIFE proposal, e.g. the NINFA system of ARPA-ER (I) and the AtmoRhénA system of CNRS, as well as the RIAT system by JRC.

P2 and P3 actions were aimed to provide the databases required for the application of OPERA to Emilia-Romagna (action I3) and Alsace (action I4) regions.

The core

The core of the project were the improvement of existing tools and their implementation, which can be summarized by its four main actions:
     I1 - OPERA methods and design,
     I2 - OPERA software implementation,
     I3 - Application to Emilia-Romagna (I) region,
     I4 - Application to the Alsace (F) region.

The design of the system and the software development were realized following EU standards on data exchange (Directive 2007/2/EC establishing an Infrastructure for Spatial Information in the European Community - INSPIRE Directive), using open source software and released to the end-users under a public license.

A main focus of the project was to ensure the versatility of the approach and in particular the possible application of the methodology to other European locations than those considered in this proposal. The two local applications considered here were therefore intended to test the methodology and tool and to finalize the technical documentation and application guidelines.

These steps were indeed essential before the dissemination of OPERA to a wider public, stage which was performed by means of two main actions: During project communication (C1) and After LIFE+ communication (C2). These activities will be realized by dissemination of the tool and accompanying guidelines directly to public administrations and via internet. Training courses will be organized for new users (public managers and technicians) and workshops will regularly take place to ensure an efficient sharing of experience among users as well as a continuous forum where new developments may be presented.