How We Made Mobile a Firefighter’s Tool

Written by: on July 25, 2013

The Golden Fire Department has a new tool at the ready to help with the next fire or emergency...a mobile app.

Double Encore partnered with the Golden Fire Department (GFD) and the Colorado School of Mines to create a map-based application that will assist firefighters in quickly locating and getting to emergencies. When responding to calls, the GFD uses maps built by the city’s Geographic Information Systems department that detail every single building, road and fire hydrant. Until this summer, these maps were printed, copied and put into “map books” in every fire truck. Some of the maps were even hand-drawn!

“That’s not acceptable when we are responding to a fire or a heart attack,” says Chad Wachs, a lieutenant with the Golden Fire Department. “We need to know exactly where your house is to get there as fast as possible, every time.”

Double Encore’s Summer Field Session Interns from the Colorado School of Mines presenting on the Golden Fire Department mobile app they helped construct

“I knew there had to be a better way, but after searching online and talking with other fire departments, I couldn’t find it.” Wachs mentioned this problem to his neighbor, which just happened to be our COO Eric Daugherty.

“Chad’s need presented us with a perfect opportunity for our summer coding session with the Mines students,” says Daugherty. “We also loved the idea of working with the fire department and solving a local problem.”

A firefighter with the Golden Fire Department showcases the new application we created through a partnership with GFD and the Colorado School of Mines

This last spring, thru a collaboration with the Colorado School of Mines, our interns from the school built GFD a custom application for the departments existing iPads® to take paper maps into the digital age. “It was better than anything I could have imagined,” says Wachs. “Now we can easily get to any address in the city and find the closest fire hydrant. The Mines team also built the application to allow us to update maps and even add new maps in the future without having to re-write any code.” The iPad app uses Cloud technology to update maps in all fire trucks with the click of a button so no matter what type of incident the fire department responds to, the map will always be up-to-date.

The application will allow firefighters to quickly and accurately find addresses of emergencies, without any GPS or Internet connection

Thanks to a great partnership with the GFD, the Colorado School of Mines and Double Encore, you can rest a little easier knowing the fire department can get to you quickly. And Colorado School of Mines students can be proud knowing that years after they graduate, their work will still be saving lives in the City of Golden.

Disclaimer:  Portions of this article were repurposed from the official Golden Fire Department press release for the application’s launch.

Jason Ary

Jason Ary

Jason is the Director of Mobile Strategy for Double Encore, Inc., a leading mobile development company. Jason has been actively involved in the mobile product and marketing space since 2007, where his guidance and expertise has since earned him multiple #1-ranked iOS applications, Webby recognition and millions of downloads.

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