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[aprssig] FEMA Fusion center/wildland fire information ?

Hawkins, John W. JWHawkins at mccormicktaylor.com
Wed Mar 17 14:03:07 UTC 2010


Yes, this is the same problem we have in Search and Rescue, keeping
track of our teams in the field.

I put together a grant proposal for APRS trackers, hilltop digipeater,
and command post hardware for my SAR team, through our Terrorism Task
Force, of which we are a member.  Unfortunately it all needed to be
cobbled together from individual parts from several vendors, and in the
end the proposal was rejected, I believe because it looked like an
amateur setup (pun intended).  Our criteria were that we wanted "normal"
hiking GPS's which could be used in the field with or without APRS
connectivity, and we wanted "Normal" Type-accepted portable radios which
we could use as a backup radio on our team's licensed VHF frequencies.  

By the time I had quotes for all the equipment, pelican boxes, power and
connecting hardware, it appeared to be a mess.


Yes, there are vendors who sell all-in-one solutions, but in our
application where we wanted some fall-back capability for both the GPS
and radio, we had no prepackaged solution.  Beyond the Garmin Rino, and
the discontinued GISTEQ PTT explorer (I just received a reply to my
customer support email a few days ago, 7 weeks after my inquiry!), there
don't seem to be any good options for my application.


As an aside, my favorite quote from one of our teams in the field during
a training exercise:  "Thee's a barbed wire fence at 330 degrees from
us" - now how am I supposed to locate you guys based on that gem of
information when I'm looking at a 1:24000 topo map?



John
K3JWH
Central Region Emergency Strike Team, Centre County, PA



-----Original Message-----
From: aprssig-bounces at tapr.org [mailto:aprssig-bounces at tapr.org] On
Behalf Of Chris Kantarjiev
Sent: Wednesday, March 17, 2010 1:13 AM
To: aprssig at tapr.org
Subject: [aprssig] FEMA Fusion center/wildland fire information ?

This was a new term to me, mentioned tonight in passing at a
presentation about
  mapping technology for crisis management. In particular, what caught
my attention was an anecdote about information passing in some wildfire
situation: 
firefighters on the ground were giving voice reports, retired
firefighters in the Fusion Center were interpreting the voice reports
and drawing on a map, and that information was being relayed back out to
the field by voice.

I was dumbstruck. We on this list know that there is better technology
(APRS), even if there isn't a nice package for this particular
application. With all the money that DHS is throwing around, why hasn't
an APRS-like system appeared for this kind of situation?

In-building location is ridiculously hard, I know. But this doesn't
require anything better than GPS provides, and VHF comms - possibly to a
flying digipeater?

Just thinking out loud, dumbfounded.

73 de chris K6DBG

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