[Pro] Seeking Way for Real-Time Map Plotting

I have an interesting project with our local Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) in Stansbury Park, Utah, U.S.A. CERT is comprised of volunteers who learn basic first aid, search and rescue techniques, fire control, etc. and deploy to their neighborhoods following a disaster and function until professional emergency services arrive.

I recently set up a Freeway-based website for our CERT group < www.stansburyparkcert.org > and need to include a geo mapping feature that will plot lat/long data points from a linked FileMaker Pro 10 Advanced database. The mapped area is comparable to the size of a small city so I am guessing that spherical errors related to plotting on a two dimensional map will be minimal.

The map(s) will be used to locate CERT-trained personnel within the area during times of peace as well as showing where search and rescue teams are and where damaged structures and injured residents are during times of emergency and disaster.

In my mind, the best way to do all of this is to update the FileMaker database as information is received from the deployed teams. In peacetime residents will be able to check the CERT website to determine who their Block Captain is and where that person lives (displayed on a web page as an address as well as visually on the map) and how to get ahold of them. In times of emergency, area maps displayed on a large monitor in the Emergency Operations Center will instantly be updated with new/changing points along with corresponding information tags as the data is entered to the database.

I have done a couple of vaguely similar projects in a physics class many years ago using an Excel spreadsheet as the data source and plotting related points in an x-y coordinate system but this seems to be a much more involved undertaking, considering the linkage requirements between disparate software applications and then shooting all of it to the internet.

Have any of you ever created a structure similar to what I have explained, and if so, what are your recommendations as to how to proceed?

I am building the FileMaker database now with street addresses, lat/longs, etc. in anticipation that the final solution will involve the database, or at least a text file that has been exported from the database.

Internet research shows that others have tackled similar problems in a variety of ways. One that stands out is imbedding a Flash file that plots coordinates (lat/longs converted to x-y coordinates) on various map layers and displayed on pages in the website. I’m sure that a bunch of coding, perhaps Javascript, Perl or other language is working behind the scenes to make it all happen.

Any ideas about how to create such a system would be very appreciated. My guess is that other volunteer CERT teams would be very interested in deploying the same solution if this works out.

Director of Operations
Stansbury Park CERT
Stansbury Park, Utah U.S.A.

dynamo mailing list
Update your subscriptions at:

Hi Don

I have no idea how to implement such a system but what I will say is that if you choose to use Filemaker as your DB tool you will be limiting yourself if you want to run a Filemaker DB on the server. If not only the quantity of servers available to run it but also the expense of doing so.

Much better to run a MySql database which can be used ubiquitously and cheaply on almost every server on the net. Then additions/changes can be made online without the need for text file export.

That coupled with a bit of PHP knowledge should get you where you want to go.

As ever Walter is one of the guys here with extensive knowledge of PHP and MySql and may well be able to point you in the right direction.


dynamo mailing list
Update your subscriptions at:

BTW - how did you get yourself in the photo when you took it?

A timer and running fast?


dynamo mailing list
Update your subscriptions at:

Don: easiest way to go is a MySQL database that generates a KML file,
which you can then overlay in Google Maps.

If you want more control over your solution, use PostGIS (spatial
objects integrated into PostgreSQL) with either MapServer or MapNik.
Mapserver has been around for several years and is very stable; Mapnik
is newer, less stable, produces much nicer-looking images.

http://www.sailwx.info is built with Mapserver, MySQL, live data, and
Freeway. I wrote it before PostGIS was widely used; if I were redoing
the site today I would use PostGIS.

See also http://aprs.fi which is AFAIC the nicest-looking live APRS
map on the web.

openstreetmap.org and nationalatlas.gov are good choices for free
basemap data.


dynamo mailing list
Update your subscriptions at: