Introducing VTGemini, an emergency preparedness iOS mobile application for the Blacksburg campus
The Office of Emergency Management and the Virginia Tech Police Department in partnership with Virginia Tech’s Mobile Software Engineering Lab in the Department of Computer Science in the College of Engineering and Communications Network Services recently released the VTGemini application (app) for use on the iPhone, iPad, iPad Mini, and iPod Touch.
VTGemini is free and can be downloaded from iTunes.
”This is a tool that puts emergency preparedness information into the hands of the Virginia Tech community,” said Michael J. Mulhare, director of the emergency management.
VTGemini is a universal iOS software app developed to provide clear and concise guidance and preparedness information to those on the Virginia Tech Blacksburg campus during emergency situations, such as severe weather and natural disasters (winter storms, hurricanes, tornados, etc.), a hazardous materials or chemical release, or when the community may be at risk due to a criminal event.
The app was developed by Kyle L. Schutt, a graduate student in the Department of Computer Science; Osman Balci, professor of computer science and director of the Mobile Software Engineering Lab; and Carl E. Harris Jr., chief technology architect for Communications Network Services. Content and graphics were created staff in the Office of Emergency Management.
"VTGemini is designed to operate even if there is a loss of network connectivity," said Balci.“It guides the user through what-to-do information in case of a campus emergency."
Users can receive emergency know-how guides, hazard-specific guides, and general preparedness information. In addition, VTGemini lists Virginia Tech buildings and facilities on campus, while providing graphical and turn-by-turn walking and driving directions from the user’s current location to the selected building or facility. The app also provides the locations of the nearest emergency call boxes on campus (blue light phones) and users can also send a question directly to the Office of Emergency Management.
“I think this project is a vital part of any student, faculty, staff, and visitor’s tool kit to properly prepare for an emergency situation on campus. It provides easy, finger-tip access to Virginia Tech's emergency protocols," said Schutt.
Dedicated to its motto, Ut Prosim (That I May Serve), Virginia Tech takes a hands-on, engaging approach to education, preparing scholars to be leaders in their fields and communities. As the commonwealth’s most comprehensive university and its leading research institution, Virginia Tech offers 240 undergraduate and graduate degree programs to more than 31,000 students and manages a research portfolio of $513 million. The university fulfills its land-grant mission of transforming knowledge to practice through technological leadership and by fueling economic growth and job creation locally, regionally, and across Virginia.