Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Date of Award

Fall 2010

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Department of Integrated Science and Technology


James Wilson

Tony Teate

Ron Raab


Accurate information can mean the difference between life and death for emergency responders and the people they serve. At the Harrisonburg Fire Department, laptops with customized databases for street maps and building preplans are one source of information for first responders. Another available resource is a Geographic Information System for the City of Harrisonburg and Rockingham County. However, ESRI’s ArcGIS® software is far from user-friendly in a mobile atmosphere. The objective of this research is to develop new software that integrates the ArcGIS® tool suite with custom street map files and structure preplan databases into a single application on a mobile platform for first responders that allows them to take advantage of the benefits of GIS. This new software is specifically designed for use on laptops or tablets where a touch screen is the primary input device, thus no keyboard or mouse is necessary to use the system. The software development cycle begins with a needs assessment and requirements analysis conducted with users at the HFD, and continues with system design, testing, deployment, and maintenance. The solution implements many resources into one software package, featuring GIS maps with searchable address and street layers, the ability to import and search files such as building floor plans, documents, hazardous materials instructions (etc), and identify and display structure preplans with fire apparatus assignments, property owner contact information, sprinkler system connections, and much more. Integrating these tools into one robust application literally puts vital information at the fingertips of emergency services personnel by making GIS more accessible, and helps them respond more effectively and quickly to emergency calls while improving incident management.