New Mapping App Gives Emergency Responders Virtual Look At Scenes
A mapping application that lets first responders quickly and easily “see” an emergency situation with a digital command center is heading to the commercial market.
The app, called SituMap, was created by Richard Smith, an assistant professor of geographic information science and geospatial surveying engineering at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi. It acts as a tablet-like digital command center that shows law enforcement officers maps of crisis areas. It is an easy-to-learn, multi-user, multi-touch software mapping application focused on cultivating participation, collaboration, conversation and rapid decision making.
SituMap is the first product for a newly created company, CartoFusion Technologies. The company will soon conduct product feedback analysis to determine app pricing, how it will be advertised and other factors. Within the next six months, the company will begin to drive for sales to the wider community.
“We are proud of the progress of SituMap,” says Flavius Killebrew, president and CEO of A&M-Corpus Christi. “It is a significant moment for the Island University as the first of many unique and innovative products developed by A&M-Corpus Christi researchers that will be available in the global marketplace.”
With the touch of a finger, the table-size display can be zoomed, rotated and drawn on. Like a personalized version of Google Maps, officers can search for locations and measure distances. But it goes further than Google Maps. A pin can be created in the application that could represent a person, police car, or groups of people. The pin can be strategically positioned around the area and directions can then be relayed to officers at the emergency location.
With SituMap, first responders can see real-time information on traffic congestion and weather, which will aid in planning and responding and can result in faster response times. The app can also import multiple sources of information directly into the app, such as UAV imagery, floorplans and other Web maps.
Smith says the app is currently focused on emergency management and first responders, but there is room to branch out to hospitals, municipal planning offices, oil and gas companies, and any other area requiring mapping capabilities.
One use, for example, is in a public planning meeting, where SituMap can show existing bike paths and highlight where future bike paths are planned, allowing for manipulation in real time based on input during the meeting.
The company has lined up investors and partners, including A&M-Corpus Christi, the Texas A&M University Texas Engineering Extension and Texas A&M System Technology Commercialization. Smith is also a partner and founding team member in the company.