US: The US Department of Homeland Security’s Science and Technology Directorate has developed the Geospatial Location Accountability and Navigation System for Emergency Responders, or GLANSER technology, which is designed to provide three-dimensional location data for firefighters without interfering with their normal operations. GLANSER technology possibly could be implemented in commercial devices such as smartphones and tablets, which would greatly increase the economies of scale for the components, which traditionally reduces their costs dramatically.
DHS worked with Honeywell to develop GLANSER, which features units attached to a firefighter’s SCBA that operate on 900MHz unlicensed spectrum.
With GLANSER, incident commanders are able to see a three-dimensional map that indicates the route each firefighter is taking inside a building and includes an altitude reference point. The location information is designed to be accurate within 3meters, which is about the height of a normal floor in a multi-story building. The graphical interface does not state what floor a firefighter is on, but it does indicate whether a firefighter has gone up or down stairs relative to the point at which he entered the building.
“That ability to get that third-dimensional view of the building is truly the difference maker in this technology,” said John Sullivan, deputy chief of the Worchester (Mass.) Fire Department, which participated in a demonstration of GLANSER.
Another key feature of GLANSER is that it did not interfere with normal firefighter operations and did not require any engineers to operate — something Worchester fire officials mandated for the demonstration, according to Mapar. The only DHS S&T personnel allowed on the site were in the incident-command area to answer questions about features and capabilities, he said.
Expected to be commercially available next year, the GLANSER system may not be limited to just locating firefighters and other first responders, Mapar said.