Enhancing emergency services access through a mobile based directory

Wachira, Patrick Weru
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Strathmore University
An emergency is any situation that poses an immediate risk to property, life, environment or health. The emergency situations demand urgent intervention to avoid more damage. Worse still, it is usually difficult to predict the occurrence of a given emergency and therefore impacting negatively on response. In most cases, the victims or the people around a given victim lack a reliable and professional contact during emergency periods and might end up increasing the magnitude of the damage. With the advent of mobile technology in Kenya, the previously used printed directories are less popular. It should be noted that emergency contacts in the directories are at times location dependent and do not operate in the victim’s current location hence delaying any response. In addition, some of the currently available contact-directories are web based and in the event of an emergency, the panic stricken victims may lack the emotional strength and composure to conduct the web searches for a given emergency facility. Based on the aforementioned challenges, this dissertation presents a geo-location based mobile emergency directory that allows the user to get the nearby emergency centres from any location. The system leverages on the phone’s geo-locating features, such as Global Positioning System (GPS) to identify the user’s location. This is then used to search from a database of available emergency centres for the centre(s) that are closest to the user and responds with the centres’ contact information, which can then be used to reach them. Professional response from the emergency centres can then be enhanced. The development of the solution followed the Waterfall Software Development Methodology. The developed solution comprises of two main components: a mobile application which serves as the client side and a backend. The proposed solution has been tested and recorded positive feedback in terms of accuracy, performance and reliability.
Dissertation submitted in partial fulfilment of the award of the Degree of Master of Science in Mobile Telecommunication and Innovation at Strathmore University
Emergency, Geolocation, Location based service, Directory, Emergency response