IE 11 Not Supported

For optimal browsing, we recommend Chrome, Firefox or Safari browsers.

Australian Developer Bringing Disaster Response App to the States

RADAR helps users document damage and qualify for government assistance.

Responding to a natural disaster is chaotic enough without having to catalog thousands of forms and photos of property damage by hand.

That was the premise for Igor Stjepanovic, founder and CEO of Australian software company Gruntify, in trying to simplify the process of qualifying for government aid with a new damage-assessment app called RADAR, which stands for Recording Asset Damage and Restoration.

Stjepanovic told Government Technology his company developed the app last year after various news stories reinforced the need, showing cyclones tearing through Australia, fires raging in California and hurricanes battering Florida. He pointed out that measuring damage in the wake of these tragedies entails hundreds or thousands of people submitting photos and corresponding notes, sometimes attached to each other and sometimes not, about their damaged property via email, social media or by hand. 

Even in the best scenarios, he said, the process can be hindered by workflow problems such as double- and triple-handling of data, user errors, missing information on paper forms and illegible handwriting. It seemed to Stjepanovic that these shouldn’t be the obstacles preventing people from claiming relief funds.

“While these problems appeared to be solvable, no end-to-end solution was available. It was a classic example where digital transformation could deliver tangible outcomes,” he wrote in an email.

RADAR proposes to be that solution. By allowing users to take photos and videos, draw or make notes on them, fill in a field report designed by their government department and submit it automatically to the cloud — or save it when cell service is unavailable, to be automatically submitted when the user has service again — the app collects all the requisite information and shares it with those who need it. Using built-in geotags that save times and places of media files, RADAR turns this field report into a dot on a map in the “command and control” center with all details attached. This can then be shared with rescue, repair or engineering crews or other parties involved in the recovery effort.

“The workflow allows for multiple parties and agencies to participate and work together on a single copy of the data — in real time,” Stjepanovic wrote. “With enough data collected, heatmaps, cluster maps, and/or even advanced analytics and reports are automatically produced.”

Gruntify has made RADAR available in Australia and the U.S., joining other foreign companies like Bang the Table, Citymart, OpenDataSoft and UrbanLogiq trying to establish a presence here. Stjepanovic said Gruntify is eyeing potential clients in California, Florida and Texas, with a rollout in Europe planned for 2019.

Andrew Westrope is managing editor of the Center for Digital Education. Before that, he was a staff writer for Government Technology, and previously was a reporter and editor at community newspapers. He has a bachelor’s degree in physiology from Michigan State University and lives in Northern California.