Quickly building a reliable assessment of an incident is a key skill for Firefighters. Reconnaissance missions done under extreme rough conditions and very poor visibility are central tools for this task. Despite the technological tools available today, navigation under such condition represents an important source of risk in firefighting practice.
Navigation is an Art
Navigation is an agency in which experience, senses and training play a very important role. Technology supporting this agency must take this into account to provide the required levels of safety. The goal of the Landmarke Project is, based on Ubiquitous Computing, to develop a navigation and orientation infrastructure that leverages the use of the cognitive abilities of firefighters. It focuses on providing firefighters with an infrastructure to support the construction of dynamically growing ad-hoc reference systems.
While performing a reconnaissance mission, first responders mark relevant points of reference using interactive landmarks. These landmarks are small, deployable tokens containing sensors and networking technology. Interactive clothes on the firefighter call their attention and allow them to interact with the landmarks. Sensors carried by the firefighters and the landmarks exchange information, building a layer of information that provides a richer perception of the environment. Using radio communication or in debriefing sessions, firefighters can use this reference system to talk about the space and to understand it collaboratively.