INA, the intervention app for the fire brigade View project

Posted on - Ides Bauwens
The new intervention app from the Antwerp Fire Department is one to be proud of. The clever combination of a chat application with an interactive map resulted in an innovative application. This allows the Antwerp Fire Brigade Area (BZA) to extract the most accurate and up-to-date information during the more than 10,000 annual interventions. Information that can save lives.

"In an intervention, every minute counts and a good image of the incident is therefore of vital importance. We want to be able to form the best possible picture of the situation during the deployment and prepare ourselves to act efficiently and in a targeted manner once on site," states Captain Lieven Hilgert of the Antwerp Fire Brigade Area (BZA).

Interventions are available in different types, from "fire vehicle" over "wasp nests" to "storm damage". The officer-in-charge of an intervention has access to numerous sources of information including various procedures, hazardous substances sheets and an extensive Geographical Information System. It is not easy to quickly find the right information and at the same time ensure good communication and information sharing between the teams.

In 2018, the Leuven startup Gemsotec asked if nazka mapps could provide the geo-component for a new intervention application for the Antwerp Fire Zone. We decided to join forces and write a proposal. We won. After an intensive collaboration between BZA, Digipolis, Gemsotec and nazka mapps, INA will be fully rolled out this summer.

The interactive map, built with Nazka's Mapframe, is controlled directly by the chat application. When new interventions arrive via dispatch, they automatically appear in the chat application and on the map. Assigned units are immediately routed from their real-time position to the intervention site, relevant information layers are cleverly displayed depending on the type of intervention. In this way there is no unnecessary oversupply of information and the map remains clear and well-organised. Up-to-date meteorological information is displayed at all times. 

BZA has direct control over the layers displayed on the map. From the ArcGIS environment at Digipolis, new layers are edited or added and then processed and displayed on the map in INA.

INA is a progressive web app which means that it is also available offline. In this way, the fire brigade can always have access to the most crucial information in all circumstances. The application has been developed generically and is abstract from the peripheral systems involved. Together with BZA and Digipolis, Gemsotec and nazka mapps developed an innovative intervention application that can also be rolled out easily in other zones.


Parts of this article were taken from the article by Fireforum. The full article can be found in Fireforum Magazine 72 (April/May 2020). 

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