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GPS receivers in units?

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  • GPS receivers in units?

    Is anyones department using GPS receivers in their fire or ems units for emergency calls?

    If so, what brand, model and software are you using? Does an address have to be manually entered or is there a wireless means to interface with CAD? How quickly can the information be put in to find a route or address? Do they work for emergency calls (acurate information, reliable function, easy to use) or is it a waste of time.

    I've never used one, and don't know much about them, but I think if there is something out there that works quickly and reliably... it might be better than trying to remember where things are.

    This question has come up at our department a couple of times. Our rookies (and a few older guys too) often follow us in the engine on EMS runs because they don't know where they are going. We have good district maps in all the units, but it's easier for them to follow us than look it up for themselves. However, we do cover alot of area with lots of development going on and knowing every street is almost impossible.

  • #2
    Yes we do have them but I will have to find out what brand. The information comes from dispatch for the call into the MCT computer located on the Captains side. No co0mplaints from the crews that I know of so far. Pretty much straight up and forward. I will try to get the information from the communications folks for you.

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    • #3
      The city department here runs a commercial solution, part of our CAD system, with commercial GPS which is essentially a little hockey-puck size item with a wire that plugs into the laptop, sending regular lat/long to the computer for the CAD program to use as it sees fit. Routing is handled by the CAD program, where we can simply click a button that says "Route To Event" and the machine uses the map defined by our city geomatics department to develop the route.

      If you are on a budget, and you don't mind using consumer-grade equipment, you could get a GPS unit from pretty much anywhere - either handheld/car-mounted, or a similar design as the one I mentioned above (I have one on my car called the Garmin GPS18... google for it). On a laptop you could run software, offered by most GPS manufacturers, which takes the GPS signal the same way the commercial version I mentioned above does - which would just use the maps the GPS manufacturer provide. The problem is, you couldn't guarantee that the addresses in your state/county would exactly mesh or be perfectly correct compared to what your dispatch center is using (which is hopefully VERY up to date - with us, it's never more than 90 days old). Plus you'd have to type in the address in the mapping program.
      --jay.

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