Vencore and IBM are collaborating to offer a First Responder Challenge Nov. 16 – Dec. 14 with the goal to help first responders better accomplish their missions using geospatial applications. In this inaugural competition, being developed in coordination with USGIF and the Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials, teams will craft an operational application that meets the needs of first responders.

“The GEOINT Community is key to helping first responders get the products they need,” said Chris Vasko, Vencore’s application services senior project manager. “Everything first responders do is geolocation-oriented, such as locating an accident or fire or orchestrating a search and rescue team. Using geospatial technology is how first responders will get their problems solved.”

Vencore and IBM encourage universities, industry, and anyone with app development experience to participate in the challenge. Teams will develop their solutions using Vencore’s Intelligent Data Exploitation and Analytics System (IDEAS) application ecosystem, which includes IBM’s Bluemix application development service.

There are five categories of unmet first responder needs participants can choose from: improving 911 services, tracking, first responder assistant apps, easier access to information, and preparation and prevention of fires. To win the challenge, participants must build the best solution that addresses one or more of the five unmeet needs, have a fully functioning app installed and running on IDEAS or Bluemix, and submit a written description of how the app functions.

Dr. Maxwell Baber, USGIF’s director of academic programs and one of the judges for the upcoming challenge, said it will be a great opportunity for university and college students to demonstrate their skills and abilities.

“Teams of students can compete with GEOINT professionals to develop analytical applications supporting emergency responder community needs, directly connecting students with real-world challenges to develop innovative GEOINT solutions,” Baber said.

The grand prize winner will receive $5,000. Additionally, there will be four other “best app” categories under which winners will receive Go-Pro Hero action cameras or tickets to USGIF’s GEOINT Foreword event, as part of the GEOINT 2016 Symposium.

Participants must be United States citizens and at least 18 years or older to sign up for the challenge. Registration closes Dec. 11.

Read trajectory magazine’s 2014 cover story “Safe + Found” to learn more about how geospatial applications are essential to the first responders community.

Photo Credit: Public Eye

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Posted by Lindsay Tilton Mitchell

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