Tactical mapping aids

Manufacturers of floor planning software

     The system is designed to provide information on demand by agency need, says Cal Shoemaker, chief operating officer for FloorView.

     "For example, fire officials may need to know where the fire suppression is, while police will need another kind of information," he explains. "We've created what we call 'named views' of buildings, with the information contained in layers that can be turned on or off as needed."

     Some examples of these layers include standpipes and hazmat locations, windows, stairwells, phones and phone extensions, door swings, firewalls and interior or exterior wall types. Data layers can be customized to request.

     "Another layer we have is measuring capabilities for exits and escape routes," says Neiman. "For example, if visibility is compromised because of smoke, the commander can tell the responder how many approximate steps it is to the exit and if the door swings in or out."

     The system offers the capability to communicate and monitor in real time. For example, it can let command or on-scene responders know when a room has been cleared, when an exit has been suddenly blocked, or when activity has been detected via cameras in specific locations.

     The process starts with blueprints or floor plans. The company inputs this information and sends it back to the agency for review and confirmation. Additionally, FloorView supplies end-users with a 360-degree camera with which they can pan and zoom around critical rooms. The company will perform this service if end-users don't want to take the photos themselves.

     Depending on the extent of the mapping, departments will have completed floor plans within approximately 60 to 90 days, says Shoemaker.

     Currently, the company is in the process of installing the system in Florida's Broward and Miami-Dade counties. Agencies such as the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) have approved the use of this system and will provide funding through grants.

Ness Technologies

     This global provider of IT services and solutions, headquartered in Hackensack, New Jersey, distributes the Facility Navigator system, developed by Columbus Application Provider. Meir Levy is the telecom infrastructure department manager of the Ness Technologies & Systems Group.

     This is a Web-based platform that gives end-users the ability to pre-plan evacuations in the case of natural disasters, attacks and other emergencies to create detailed facility maps as well as "what-if" scenarios. Authorized users anywhere can access this information via Internet browser from PCs, laptops or tablet PCs.

     "The system also serves all other branches of the organization with one unified platform," Levy explains. "The Facility Navigator takes the CAD and enables various teams to use the relevant information. For example, maintenance personnel can use the electricity and communications module; IT personnel, the IT module; management, the space and assets module. Security uses parts from all the modules mentioned and more." For example, in the case of a hostage situation inside a building, responders can find out how to disconnect an area from light, air conditioning or water. It's possible to get all the information they need with just one or two touches on the screen, Levy adds.

     "The platform has easy built-in macros to get the information faster," Levy explains. "This information includes drawings, pictures and all relevant data that was put into the database, from CAD entrances and exits to industrial information, such as electricity, air conditioning and infrastructure. To summarize, the Facility Navigator platform turns drawings into knowledge."

     The system requires CAD drawings of the facilities. Ness Technologies can either build up the database, or end-users can manage this aspect. If no facility records exist, the company can conduct field surveys to collect this information.

Prepared Response Inc.
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