The Collaborative Incident
Management and Mapping System (CIMMS) software is designed to help manage and
document a Search and Rescue incident throughout the lifecycle of that incident.
CIMMS leverages the capabilities of some freely available software programs, such
as Google Earth, to map and manipulate incident data.
Click Here to browse the CIMMS Community for more detailed information
A typical incident starts very small with a
limited set of personnel performing hasty planning and hasty team assignments.
As more personnel arrive, the operation expands into a collaborative management
environment where key management functions are distributed amongst many individuals.
Good communication between these management functions is extremely
important. Most incidents are managed
with a set of paper forms completed as a part of one management function, and
then hand delivered for use by the other management functions. The CIMMS-Core environment supports this model
and easily scales up as the incident expands with additional resources and/or
operational periods. The CIMMS-Core environment is an aid to communications
between management functions, and naturally documents key aspects of an
incident. The CIMMS-Core functionality is provided by a template organized as a
hierarchy of management functions divided into operational periods and
integrated into an electronic mapping system. Each management function has a
specific data product it produces and manages (i.e. the Plans management
function produces team assignment areas divided into discrete operational
periods.) The electronic mapping system views this hierarchy as a series of map
overlays that can be enabled or disabled by the user.
As data is added to the system,
it is automatically available for display on each of the stations sharing the
workload of managing an incident. For example, as plans are created on one
computer station, the plans can be viewed by Operations who can then assign a
team to individual segments according to the plan. The Planning staff can then
see which segments have been deployed. Other collaborative management
activities include incident mapping, incident briefing and debriefing, team
assignment briefing and debriefing, real-time team position reports from both
the radio log and the Automated Position Reporting System (APRS) module add-on,
Situation Status mapping, and resource status.
Starting with one station providing
mapping, planning, and ops support at the beginning of an incident, the CIMMS
environment easily expands to multiple stations individually assigned to a single
management function. As the incident
expands into many operational periods, the data is naturally organized to
document the activities by operational period and management function. This
allows the system to grow very large and at the same time manage clutter on the
mapping system. Clutter management on other mapping products can be very
The CIMMS environment is designed
to quickly allow the training of new users who will perform individual
functions to help manage a growing incident. Each function requires only few
steps to complete. These steps can be demonstrated to a new station operator which
is then repeated over and over. A volunteer with minimal computer skills can
quickly be shown these steps even if they have no prior training within the
CIMMS environment. A user’s knowledge of the freely available Google Earth
mapping software helps but is not required.
The CIMMS Core functionality can be practiced
at home by any and all support personnel who may be called upon to help manage
an incident. Because CIMMS core leverages the freely available Google Earth software,
any users with a Google Earth installation can practice the different
management functions and stay current. Many other software packages require a
purchase for each user, thereby precluding those who cannot afford the software,
from practicing and staying current at home. Many emergency workers are
volunteers who wish to minimize expenses related to volunteer activities. Depending on the complexity of the management
system, users who do not stay current may not be able to adequately support an
incident management function when needed. Systems in which the users cannot
reasonably stay current are not viable options during an emergency.
CIMMS-Core is compatible with
Windows XP, Vista, and 7. CIMMS-APRS is compatible
with Microsoft XP and later, however, the APRS Cygwin/Xastir software module
optionally available as a free download is compatible with Windows XP only.
Versions of this software are available for other operating systems by
downloading the source code or compiled modules and following the instructions
from the developers.
A multi-day incident may produce an enormous
amount of documentation required for immediate review to manage specific
situations in real-time, or for later analysis to support legal action,
incident debrief, and training or perhaps to support a future incident in the
same area. Each incident is archived by simply copying the incident template to
a folder on a computer designated for archiving all incidents for an emergency