Mapping in the New Age Part I
David Pease, Advanced Rescue Technology Magazine
I first would like to share some information that all Instructors like to hear from classes they have taught. Several weeks back, I taught a heavy truck rescue class at the Cooper’s Fire Department in Nash County. On Friday of the following week, I received a phone call from Assistant Chief Jamie Moss, in reference to a motor vehicle crash that occurred on Wednesday of that week. Apparently a tractor trailer had swerved and crashed and the driver was pinned. They were able to put into play the training we had done the weekend before, to free the pinned driver. I felt good that the training we had done paid off so soon with their department. I think it always gives an Instructor gratification when the training the help do actually pays off.
In the last article we talked about topographical maps in general. I have come to realize that a third article may be in order to allow for the coverage of basic information. I want to be able to discuss several of the computer mapping programs that are available for rescue, search and fire usage as well. Delorme and Maptech both offer computer mapping programs that we will discuss in our third article.
When using topo maps and ortho maps you need to have a reference system that will allow for you to find and plot things on the map. There are several systems that can be used, and some are more common than others. We will mention most of them but only discuss the two most commonly used. In order to plot on a map you must have a system that allows for someone to measure distances from fixed points from at least two directions and intersect them on the map. The two most common system are latitude / longitude and the UTM ( Universal Transverse Mercator ) system. Both use grids and reference marks found on a typical 7.5 minute topographical map. The topo maps have reference marks on the perimeter to indicate