Posts tagged ares

Some feedback from a customer in Maine

Our ARES/CERT Communications group used the Depiction software this past weekend for the first time. It is amazing. The ability to go from topographical, street and satellite imagery is amazing. We were able to track our groups along tree lines and in fields as they did their search. In Maine we had a girl about 20 months old that disappeared during the night. Her father says that someone took her but there was no evidence to support that. The police have done multiple searches for her but have had no luck. There was someone in the home town where the girl disappeared that had seen a car at a business that was closed and he had reported it to the police. They did not search the area where he saw the car. He asked for our help and we responded to his needs. We spent about 5 hours searching an area about 100 to 150 acres. The software along with our Byonics  All in One Trackers was a great mix to allow for accurate viewing of the search and the ability to post positions of interest that we came across. We used Depiction along with APRS Live to accomplish this. There are a few things I would like to see changed for search and rescue use but it is way better than anything that we have had until now.

Thought you might like to hear about our use of your software. Keep up the good work.

Thank you

Bob Gould

Oxford County ARES/CERT Communications

Oxford County IMAT

Maine Communications Unit Leader

“As valuable as the radios we use”

Doug Carter, the Emergency Coordinator for Crown District ARES in Florida, has a really fantastic post about how his group is using their copies of Depiction. He gives a great overview of the software and how his groups are implementing it, but here’s the part I liked best:

First let me just say that this software should be in the tool chest of every EmComm group. This software is as useful to our execution as the Radios we use. Depiction software is a one stop shop for the planning, deployment and execution of any event or exercise. In a single Depiction a full graphical plan can be developed to take care of every aspect of an event or exercise.

When a ham says that something is as valuable as their radios, I think you’d better pay attention!

User-submitted public service depiction available for download

Last weekend, Depiction user Dennis Conklin, AI8P, coordinated 45 amateur radio users running communications for the Tour de Cure fundraiser event south of Cleveland. Dennis then submitted his depiction to us, and we’ve placed it for preview and download on the Depiction Downloads page, as a great example of a how Depiction can be used during such public service events.

Here’s what Dennis had to say about the event in our forum:

This is a very complex biking event which features a 100K ride, a 50K Difficult ride, a 50K Moderate ride, and a 25K ride. The starts are staggered so that most rides are completed near the same time. This means that 4 rides are ongoing simultaneously. There are about 50 stations on the various routes which are manned by Amateur radio operators. We ran 2 separate nets and I used custom icons to code each station for which net it was on. Some parts of some routes overlay, but generally there are several different routes that have to be tracked and the first rider and last rider need to be identified for each. I have worked the Net Control for this event for several years, and I never really felt that I had the level of Situational Awareness that I desired. This year I had everything mapped in depiction and I was much more aware of exactly was going on and what the implications were. I was able to immediately know when stations could be closed. Also, I could mark each station as INACTIVE when it closed, which was a great visual feedback on the status.

Many people came by and were impressed by the zoomable map and the ability to display street names or aerial photography….

A fabulous advantage – terrific Situational Awareness was achieved by using depiction.

Dennis also writes, “I couldn’t even spell GIS before I got your program, so you can certainly make the point that a non-GIS person can do substantial work with your program.” That’s what we like to hear!

And he’s has been busy recently–he’s only had the software for a couple months, but he’s already made a presentation to his local ARES group about the software.

If you’d like to submit your own depiction to be profiled on our Downloads page, just click here!

Mike & Key was great

We had a fun day at the Mike & Key Electronics show Saturday. I enjoy working with amateur radio operators and seeing their gear, too. Here’s a picture we took in the parking lot of a couple of vehicles and their antennas:

Vehicles in Mike & Key Lot

And here is our booth setup, with yours truly presenting Depiction:

Depiction Booth at Mike & Key

Depiction Booth

Then one of our new customers got a shot of Timothy and I loading out:

Show load out

Loading out the show

Thanks to all who came out and talked with us, purchased Depiction, or helped run the booth!

Depiction in Virginia

The past week, I’ve been in Virginia and Washington, D.C., meeting with a wide variety of folks about Depiction.  I got back home to the west coast about 3:00 AM on Wednesday morning. I was chased out of DC a day early by last weeks storm, then out of Richmond and Norfolk, with the fear of the “snowpocalypse” nipping at my heels each time, forcing Greyhound, Amtrak and United Airlines to shut down and cancel service the day before anything hit, “just in case”.

Despite all the snow, I was able to meet with many remarkable people—Senate staffers, Army officers, folks at DARPA and VMASC, amateur radio operators, civil engineers, CERT volunteers, emergency managers and more.

Too much happened to fit into a single blog post, but I wanted to highlight a few people I had a chance to spend time with.

Joe I. is a Depiction user and the person who invited us out to Virginia in the first place. Joe is a leader in the regional ARES districts (Amateur Radio Emergency Services) and involved in a ton of other emergency preparedness and response related efforts. I greatly appreciate his enthusiasm for Depiction and his generosity in connecting us with people all across the state. Thank you, Joe!

Keith V. is the chair of the Portsmouth CERT group, and has a lot of energy and passion for growing the CERT team and increasing their training. Thanks to an introduction by amateur radio operator and new Depiction customer Terry L., I was able to show the power of Depiction at their monthly CERT meeting. Keith unrolled a laminated 3’x4’ map of the city with its color-coded neighborhoods, along with dots scattered about representing locations of CERT volunteers. The problem is that the map is rather outdated, and Keith is having trouble getting the busy city staff to provide him with an updated hardcopy map with all the new CERT member locations. He was excited about Depiction being able to visualize his teams and neighborhood resources on a map that he could easily manage. We’re looking forward to working with Keith and his group.

There were many, many other wonderful people I had the chance to meet – it was exciting to see their reaction to the software and hear their many ideas for how it could be used. We look forward to working with folks in Virginia and across the world to help them meet and overcome the challenges they face every day.