Mobile GEOINT for First Responders

First responder app challenge winners announced


Vencore and IBM collaborated to host a virtual First Responder Challenge from Nov. 16 to Dec. 14 with the goal of offering first responders innovative geospatial applications to better accomplish their missions.

Developed in coordination with USGIF and the Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials (APCO), the four-week challenge invited participants to create an operational application to meet the needs of first responders. Challenges included improving 911 services, tracking, first responder assistant apps, easier access to information, preparation and prevention of fires, and inclement weather.

Intrado was named the grand prize winner for its Responder’s Alert Tracking System (RATS), which integrates GIS with GPS responder tracking. RATS provides information on first responders in a graphical form, allowing for the coordination of a rescue and evacuation plan. The live streaming of videos received from first responders helps leaders maintain control over a situation and seek additional forces if needed.

Teams developed their solutions using Vencore’s Intelligent Data Exploitation and Analytics System (IDEAS) application ecosystem, which includes IBM’s Bluemix application development service. According to Vencore, the challenge was a great example of how a virtual ecosystem makes it possible for innovators and first responders to connect, collaborate, and deliver solutions using the IDEAS developer tools.

Almost 45 organizations participated in the challenge, while individuals representing Vencore, IBM, USGIF, and APCO acted as judges. Other winners included iHealth Ventures for “Best app using IBM Bluemix Services,” LanguageMAPS and Hitech Systems for “Best app for first responders,” and VTS for “Best app using the IDEAS Application Ecosystem.” The complete set of applications can be accessed via the IDEAS catalog.

“It was a great success,” said Chris Vasko, Vencore’s application services senior project manager and corporate lead for support to the public safety community. “It was a great opportunity to make an application ecosystem available to the public safety community and see it in action.”

Vencore plans to conduct additional public safety challenges this year. The company encourages first responders and solution providers to continue collaborating and submitting their unmet needs and solutions.

Photo Credit: Public Eye

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