1. #1
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Oct 2005

    Default On-board mapping software?

    This is a cross post from over here - http://forums.firehouse.com/showthread.php?t=101081, but I thought sub-forum might get better nerd traffic. So.....

    Our FD has struggled for years to get our dispatch (which handles the county fire & city fire, county law and city law enforcement) to implement a platform that would allow us to start using MDT's in our engine. The big $$$$ associated with implementing a glamorous mobile data terminal system just isn't available. So we're looking at other options (see my chief saying we're not going to wait on them any longer)

    I am looking for departments that are using some ANY of mapping tool/software in their engine. Any uses that are outside of the norm would be greatly appreciated.

    Just some ideas we have been throwing around:

    - Wireless connection through a mounted laptop
    - Using Google Maps
    - Investigating all other GPS/Map software that may work

    The main things we are trying to accomplish are:

    - Want an electronic, searchable map with directions to the call (priority 1)
    - Ideally a map w/ directions would be pushed to the engine automatically when the dispatch comes in. However, this may = too much $
    - Will eventually need to access preplans of buildings etc

  2. #2
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Nov 2007

    Default Mapping and MDT

    We did just what you are talking about, email me your information I will call you to dicuss this.

    William Smith
    Fire Marshal
    Township of Fairfield

  3. #3
    MembersZone Subscriber

    Join Date
    Mar 2001


    Here is a link to a company that we are using, www.OnSceneXplorer.com

  4. #4
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    lower bucks county, pa


    i went to the site and i noticed right off the bat the companies getting the system all won grants to be able to afford it. can you let us know the cost of the system as well as the yearly fee.

    when i inquired last year it was in excess of 7k for 6 trucks plus and 750 yearly fee, and you still had to do all your own pre-plans and purchase the computers on top of that.
    Lower Bucks County - proud home of Pennsylvania’s 9/11 memorial site – “the garden of reflection”, Zico and hhmllc

  5. #5
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Oct 2005


    Thanks Blackwood - I got a demo from OnScene Explorer (Iron Compass) a few weeks ago and was pretty impressed. They seem small and relatively new to the scene but have a good product I think. They quoted around $30k for 7 units (included Toughbooks and software and I think the mounts).

    Now that I have a better understanding of the software capabilities from Incident View - http://www.alseageo.com/products/IncidentView.php and http://www.onscenexplorer.com/ I would like to see if anyone has experience with different laptops.

    My chief wants to see if we can keep cost down and possibly go with something that is less toughbookish, you know maybe a semi-rugged laptop. Any thoughts on this?

  6. #6

    Join Date
    Jul 2008



    In regards to your question, semi-rugged laptops have worked for us in many instances. It all depends on what your intention is. If you expect to take them out of the apparatus while on-scene in the rain or in a wet environment and use them then my recommendation is the fully rugged since they can get wet. If you just plan on using them to navigate to the call, and then call up your preplan information and never take them out unless updating something then the semi rugged laptops will work for you. You can pick up a semi rugged Toughbook in the price range of mid 2's to mid 3's.

    Hope this helps you out a little. I would be more than happy to assist with any other questions you might have.

    Jon Latsha
    On-Scene Xplorer

  7. #7
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Jun 2008


    Quote Originally Posted by LowKey View Post
    My chief wants to see if we can keep cost down and possibly go with something that is less toughbookish, you know maybe a semi-rugged laptop. Any thoughts on this?
    We have been using "CompUSA" Brand laptops, and another generic brand for a few years. About three years ago we switched to Dell brand. They ride in the front of the apparatus in a bracket meant to hold laptops in a vehicle. We budget to replace them every five years, and they last about that long. For $600 per truck you can get a lot of use before they need replacing, and it is a bargain compared to the toughbooks. We do run toughbooks in the command vehicles, since they get exposed to the weather when they move from inside the vehicle to outside the vehicle.

    As far as mapping goes, we have developed our own software. You type in the street, it then lists every building on the street with a pre-fire plan. You select either the pre-fire plan or the street.

    If you select the pre-fire plan it cylces through each page of the pre-fire plan as you hit enter. Usually there is an aerial picture, ground photo, building plan, info page with description, info page with truck assignments.

    If you select the street name, it cylces though the street info as you hit enter, usually this would give you a scanned image of the street map, a hydrant list, and address information.

    We don't have GPS and we don't have route mapping. We have to maintain the map and add streets, but we do have total control of what the map looks like and add streets on our schedule, instead of waiting for the mapping company to roll out the new streets to the online service. Another benefit is that after the address or business name is typed, everything else is controlled with the enter key to cycle through the pages, which is great for after the truck is in motion. The Escape key pops you back out to the start screen where you can type a new address or business name.


  8. #8
    MembersZone Subscriber
    rwjennette's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Charlottesville, Virginia

    Default Remote Access

    Our department uses a program called Remote Access by Group 1 Solutions, Inc out of Illinois. We researched several vendors including OnSceneXplorer, Cad Zone/First Look Pro and Firehouse Mobile. The software allows us to utilize our local GIS data and attach preplan/premise information for viewing. It uses CadZone, PDF's Word or just about any other type of drawing you may already have. we utilize GPS tracking and also receive CAD pushes that auto populate the address search and allows us to view the call information from dispatch. There are also some ICS tools and ERG features that we really liked. The folks at Group 1 were really helpful throughout the whole process. Their website is www.group1inc.com if you want more info or email me and I can give you some info on our system.

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