Unfortunately communication during a disaster is challenging. Emergency dispatchers are often flooded with calls, making it difficult to determine where to allocate resources. While these calls may help responders have an idea of what’s going on at the incident site, there is no substitute for real-time on the ground intelligence.
“Disasters affecting a large number of people spread across a wide geographical area present a significant challenge for emergency responders,” said DeEtte Gray, president of BAE Systems’ .
In April, Intelligence & Security sector unveiled a new mobile app prototype that can be paired with Google Glass devices for hands-free geospatial intelligence data collection and photo reporting from anywhere in the field. The GXP Xplorer® Snap app transforms Google Glass devices into crowd-sourced information gathering tools capable of generating photo reports that are instantly reviewable at a command center, and shared across with other response organizations in real-time.
Using the GXP Xplorer Snap app and Google Glass device, a first responder can quickly snap photos and record a report title and brief description of what they are seeing on the ground using only their voice. The report is automatically geotagged, time-stamped, and uploaded to a GXP Xplorer server, where it is immediately shared and accessible to the rest of the enterprise.
“A first responder’s head is on a swivel. They rarely have time to stop and take photos, and they may not even have the time to call something into the command center,” said Jungck. “Our app, paired with Google Glass, offers responders a hands-free solution to reporting in key data.”
GXP Xplorer Snap works as a companion app to the GXP Xplorer data discovery and management application, which is part of the suite of BAE Systems GXP Enterprise Solution products that simplifies the image analysis workflow and increases workforce productivity, allowing more products to be created in less time. When images are streamed to a command center from the app in the field, they can be automatically populated over existing geospatial products. Imagery analysts within the command center can also compare the new images and on-the-ground intelligence with existing maps to make accurate damage assessments, identify potential safety threats, and coordinate response plans. New maps and geospatial intelligence reports can then be disseminated to command centers and first responders in the field, allowing them to work from a common operating picture, to increase situational awareness and maximize mission success.
“We can greatly enhance a responder’s safety and their effectiveness if we can show them what they’re walking into before they arrive on-scene,” said Jungck. “Our new app is enhancing our library of GXP products and making them even more valuable to first responders.”
In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Operations Center used BAE Systems’ SOCET GXP software for disaster relief efforts. Current and archived high-resolution satellite imagery from New Orleans to Mobile, Alabama, was loaded into SOCET GXP and used by analysts to pinpoint sources of flooding. Preliminary findings and data were extracted from the images, exported to PowerPoint®, and disseminated as the basis for a situational awareness briefing for decision-makers and engineers repairing the levees.
Additional input is being collected on the GXP Xplorer Snap App before it is commercially released. The developers are working closely with the military, aviation and law enforcement communities to identify additional features that may benefit them.
“We want the technology behind the app to be modular so that it can easily be adapted to operate with other wearable devices, or more robust military heads up displays,” said Jungck.
One upgrade already planned, would allow intelligence analysts at the command post transmit geospatial maps and additional information back to the Google Glass wearer in the field. For example, a law enforcement officer at the site of a shooting could send an image back of a building where a suspect is hiding along with precise coordinates of the structure and information about the general environment, such as location of the officer and bystanders. Analysts could then use that data and fuse it with other information extracted through the GXP Xplorer data management system to devise an optimized a rescue plan that was then sent back to the officer’s Google Glass device in the field.
The GXP Snap App is available for download for iOS and Android devices in the Apple App Store and Google Play marketplace. The GXP Snap App for Google Glass is expected to be released later this year.