Mapping Application Lets Emergency Responders See Scenes Virtually

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – 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, created by Dr. Richard Smith, Assistant Professor of Geographic Information Science and Geospatial Surveying Engineering at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, is the first product for a newly created company, CartoFusion Technologies (CartoFusionTech.com).CartoFusion Technologies will soon conduct product feedback analysis to determine SituMap 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.

SituMap acts as a tablet-like digital command center that shows law enforcement officers maps of crisis areas. SituMap is an easy-to-learn, multi-user, multi-touch software mapping application focused on cultivating participation, collaboration, conversation, and rapid decision making.

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.

“The goal is to make the world a safer place,” Smith said.

There is nothing else like it out there, Smith said.

“That’s one of our biggest challenges; to find a competitor to compare ourselves,” he said. “But we are just not able to find one. That’s scary and exciting at the same time. We’ve found our niche, but we’re going into unchartered territories.”

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 said 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.

“We are proud of the progress of SituMap,” said Dr. 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.”

Smith and CartoFusion will also set up in the Coastal Bend Business Innovation Center to take advantage of the resources of marketing, mentoring, and business guidance.

“We have lots of angles to explore, and we are excited that the Innovation Center can help with many important tasks such as market analysis, business plan development, and access to office space,” Smith said.

About Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi:Offering more than 80 of the most popular degree programs in the state, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi has proudly provided a solid academic reputation, renowned faculty, and highly-rated degree programs since 1947.  The Island University has earned its spot as a premier doctoral-granting institution, supporting a UAS test site, two institutes, and 13 research centers and labs. Discover your island at http://www.tamucc.edu/.

About the College of Science and Engineering: The College of Science and Engineering is preparing students in an array of life-changing studies such as aerodynamics, software development, genomics, and marine science. Engineering majors are finding solutions to problems using unmanned technologies. Marine scientists are working in the Gulf of Mexico and the Pacific to identify new species and harmful algal toxins. The University is also home to a nationally certified Computer Science program, the Plasma Engineering Research Lab, the nation’s premier Geographic Information Sciences (GIS) program, and the Center for Coastal Studies.

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About Philip Hayes

Phil is currently an active career Captain with the City of Stamford Fire & Rescue Department. He spent more than 20 years with Stamfords' Rescue 1 and has experience as a former Paramedic, EMS Instructor, Rescue Diver and Fire Officer. Before moving to Connecticut to join the Stamford Fire & Rescue Department, he spent many several years as a paramedic in Southern Westchester County, NY. Phil is also experienced with graphic design, multimedia development, digital video and audio. Phil brings both vision and implementation experiences of internet technology solutions and is critical in developing the web-strategy plans and operational infrastructure to Sirius Innovations and the Village sites.