Our goal was to identify real pain-points that emergency services operators struggle with in disaster scenarios. When we spoke with mentor's they frequently addressed the fact that GIS data was difficult to comprehend, especially when mapping communications. This seemed like a feasible, real world problem. We learned that GIS filters are difficult and complicated to manage effectively in a disaster scenario, so we designed a tool that would automatically filter and identify populations who would not be able to receive communications. This is a strict upgrade from traditional systems that only display the operability of communications infrastructures.

What it does

Using ArcGIS, Communic8 identifies areas on a map where communication infrastructure has failed and is not providing alerts to communities that need to be sheltered or evacuated. In particular, we identify communities that are less likely to receive specific kinds of communications based on the likelihood that they are going to use that type of communication. In other words, if an elderly population does not receive radio or television signal, they are much less likely to be alerted.

How we built it

We developed our POC using Esri ArcGIS in order to locate and filter geographic locations without coverage.

Challenges we ran into

We found that information asymmetry between GIS users, operators, and executive decision making is exacerbated by the difficulty of presenting visualized GIS data. Creating a way to clearly display points of interest was a challenge.

Accomplishments that we're proud of

As we validated our idea with GIS users and emergency operators, we frequently heard the feedback that “I struggle with this in my career”. This gave us the confidence that we were doing the right thing.

What we learned

We learned that understanding communications is incredibly difficult to understand. Creating a visual language that clearly identifies areas of interests proved to be a challenge. Additionally, we learned a lot from each other. Half of our team are engineers, and half of our team are management consultants. It was an incredible experience gaining an understanding of the unique talents that our team had and using the skills to create a cohesive product.

What's next for Communic8

We plan on using the $15k grant to jumpstart our company, flesh out the product, and begin pursuing contracts.

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