PathAway Mapping Software used for Disaster Relief Assessment in Haiti and Abroad

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MuskokaTech’s PathAway GPS Mapping Engine is in use by Global Relief Technologies to aid field workers in collecting relief assessment data.

Global Relief Technologies, of Portsmouth, New Hampshire, uses a customized module developed by MuskokaTech in conjunction with its own Rapid Data Management System (RDMS) software to conduct site assessments for use in disaster management operations. The software is designed for use on Windows Mobile handhelds and Smartphones.

Designed for use in disaster management operations, RDMS consists of a set of rugged personal digital assistants (PDAs) equipped with Global Positioning System (GPS) chips and loaded with RDMS and PathAway Mapping software. Users can conduct site surveys and tag buildings with geolocation data and communicate the information via the integrated cell phone or use RDMS’s ability to link to a broadband global area network (BGAN) Inmarsat satellite terminal.

The mapping module developed from the PathAway core, named RDMSMAP, is used so field workers can pinpoint disaster locations on a map, as well as draw annotations, and collect information about disaster affected areas. RDMSMAP is able to load maps from a variety of map services including GRT provided services, so GRT can provide the most up to date high resolution images. For the Haiti relief project, GRT acquired high resolution images from its partner GeoEye to integrate into the mapping system. Pathaway’s mapping engine is designed to handle a very large amount of images either stored on a handheld, or downloaded dynamically from the internet.

“It’s very exciting that we can play a part of the relief effort in Haiti and around the world”, says Scott Northmore, MuskokaTech’s CEO. “The PathAway Engine to date has been used only in our own projects. This module developed for GRT shows off the power and robustness of our core engine.”

“Our field workers are very pleased with the mapping module provided to them. Having the visualization in the field assists greatly in providing more accurate and detailed assessment data.” states Martin Seul, GRT Senior GIS Engineer. “We are very pleased with the robustness and performance of the RDMSMAP module. It has sped up the delivery of our technology significantly as opposed to developing it ourself.”

"And as we do assessments in the field with these PDAs, they will pop up as icons on a high resolution map. You can drill down and look at an individual assessment," said Adam Cote, senior vice president of Global Relief Technologies. “Those assessments could include identifying the hundreds of thousands who are now homeless or injured in the earthquake. The assessment data collected will serve as the documentation to back up the distribution of the relief funds.”

GRT also dispatched a team to Haiti in cooperation with New England Brace Company and the non-profit organization, Healing Hands for Haiti to speed up the collection of information. In order to obtain assistance, individuals must be fully assessed, along with the location information and their injuries. By using GRT’s RDMS, PathAway’s mapping system, along with GPS, this information is easily obtained and verified.

U.S. Marine units are using RDMS to conduct site assessments of local infrastructure and facilities.

Michael Hartnett, vice president of GRT, explains that the Marine Corps became interested in the RDMS for its potential to assist the Corps in its disaster response and humanitarian efforts following its experiences providing aid after the Asian tsunami in 2004. The service purchased the first RDMS terminals in 2008. The GRT system transmits data on a secure but unclassified network that allows the military to share information with nongovernment organizations. Personnel using the PDAs can fill out survey information, such as the location and status of major buildings. This data includes a structure’s GPS coordinates and a range of photographic, video and map information.

In addition to disaster relief, the Marine Corps also is examining other missions for the system, such as civil affairs work in Afghanistan, says Lawrence Paul, vice president of business development for Vizada, which supplied the BGAN satellite terminals for the RDMS. As Marine units clear a region of Taliban forces, the PDAs will allow Marines to mark buildings such as schools and government facilities for reconstruction and repair by organizations such as the U.S. Agency for International Development.

About MuskokaTech Inc:
Founded in 1999, MuskokaTech is a leading global provider of GPS navigational, mapping, and tracking software for mobile computing devices running on Windows Mobile, Symbian, Palm, and iPhone. The company's flagship product, PathAway, is used by outdoor adventure enthusiasts engaging in activities such as hiking, cycling, touring, aviation, boating, rally racing, athletic training and more. Professionals use PathAway in areas such as mapping/GIS, tourism, mining, military training, wildlife study, location surveying, site inspection, field data collection, search and rescue and more. MuskokaTech's developer kits are being used by third-party mapping companies for tighter integration between their applications and PathAway's extensive GPS mapping capabilities. PathAway is distributed internationally on http://PathAway.com and through retail partners. It is available in 9 different languages.

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SCOTT NORTHMORE
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