Existing emergency response processes rely on relatively old technologies and in the case of locating cell phones, depend on data from cell towers that are often imprecise and difficult for 911 dispatchers to interpret. The caller's location is the critical piece of information that will enable help to reach the caller. The goal of GPS Health is to first channel widespread cellular GPS tools to report accurate location information to the 911 dispatcher and emergency responders. Location is visualized via map features on a web application that is updated with medical information and updates from the caller via mobile app. Seamless integration and real-time application can expedite emergency services, advance public safety and save costs.
What it does
The mobile app was built for iOS and hosts a number of features including recording user data, Wi-Fi calling, location detection and data updates. When a user calls 911 through the app, a Wi-Fi call is made using the twilio platform and the 911 dispatcher is given the URL to a web-app that displays the location of the caller (Google Map widget). Medical information and live-updates about the caller's situation are also posted on to the web-app for emergency responders to view.
How we built it
In order to determine the position and transmit additional medical information about the caller, we implemented an iOS app using Swift and the iOS location services. While dialing 911 the caller could enter additional information about what type of emergency it is, detailed information about the location (floor and room number) easily via the app. As a backend we use Firebase to exchange the information between the caller and EMT/ dispatcher and twilio as a communication platform. The web app which displays caller's information and location is built with React using Google Maps API.
Challenges we ran into
The challenges we faced when developing our product included: 1) Coordinating APIs including Google Maps, Twilio, and Firebase with npm libraries, 2) coordinating multiple actors when getting website off the ground, and 3) merge conflicts.
Accomplishments that we are proud of
We are proud of our early prototype and the positive feedback we received when exploring our product with a professional 911 dispatcher.
What we learned
During our need-finding process we came to understand some of the various inefficiencies and needs of the emergency response process. During the building process we learned how to integrate Twilio calling as well as fundamental
What's next for GPS Health
Beyond testing and developing the features further, we seek to develop partnerships with public safety departments in order to train