Start-up Apps Improve Emergency Management

Emergency response planners and managers have long used the ArcGIS platform to understand disaster events, improve response, and create disaster plans. The following innovative companies are using the ArcGIS platform to create new web apps that help responders save lives and property.


Response agencies use the D4H emergency response team app to monitor and track equipment, assets, and personnel. It ensures that all response team members and contractors have up-to-date information about an incident. A Canadian company’s oil sands emergency response team uses the D4H app to keep track of equipment as well as record personal injuries and individual incidents. A hospital emergency response team (HERT) in South Carolina uses D4H for inspection and repair of its equipment. The D4H app is also a useful tool for managing response team training and certifications. It monitors team reactions to obstacles and obstructions and the team’s ability to meet objectives. Managers can see responder skill information, who is qualified to do what so they can stay on top of training schedules and manage profile information.

FireWhat Inc.

In April 2013, FireWhat Inc. purchased and revamped it by fully integrating it with ArcGIS Online. This makes available a new level of defensive emergency response. The website gives users direct access to the nation’s largest database of real-time fire information. The web map shows real-time location and details about current wildfires in the United States. In addition, users can access authoritative datasets such as meteorological observations, radar imagery, and real-time weather patterns. FireWhat GIS apps map emergency incidents and track responders and assets in and out of the field. Users work with FireWhat tools to report, receive, and relay information. For instance, emergency personnel use the app’s Initial Attack tool to quickly capture essential information, put it into ArcGIS, and relay a report on conditions.


Real-time sensor networks have opened new vistas for emergency management and law enforcement. Valarm is a sensor and monitoring solutions company. The Valarm app is an Android mobile app and integrated suite of web-based tools that can track almost anything via GPS. In addition, it facilitates rapid deployment of real-time, ad hoc, mobile sensor networks for remote environmental monitoring, mobile data acquisition, and asset/vehicle tracking. It maps vehicle speeds from a GPS sensor or ride-roughness data from an accelerometer. The Valarm Command Center shows the real-time locations of all of an organization’s active devices. Users can view the fleet and other assets as they travel, in real-time, including direction, speed, and current traffic situation. By configuring a sensor in a given way, consumers can use Valarm to monitor property or track lost or stolen property.