New Zealand Coastguard: Predictive Search And Rescue Operations Mobile App

By AKQA - Auckland

For New Zealand Coastguard

Winner in category Progressive
Use of Mobile

Project Description
Lives at sea in New Zealand are at risk and AKQA were brought on to find a solution to help the New Zealand Coastguard to manage the safety and rescue missions of Kiwi boaties.
New Zealand’s volunteer coastguard operators have limited visibility of the current location and trajectories of at-sea vessels – both before and during distress calls.

Time is crucial in rescue missions. Providing visualisations of all boat activity would allow search & rescue vessels to arrive on the scene earlier, resulting in more lives saved.
New Zealand boaties are encouraged to submit ‘trip report’ information informing Coastguard of their passage plans. Last year Coastguard oversaw more than 250,000 trips, which is a significant amount of data to manage. On the back of this it undertook 3,037 rescues.
AKQA designed and developed an App addressing the issue, using location data and historical incident location data for real time and long term rescue vessel positioning, putting Coastguard vessels in the right place to respond to events before they occur.
The target segment for the App are power boat and yacht users. In 2016 Maritime New Zealand estimated approximately 420,000 boats in these categories in New Zealand.
Through the project research phase an additional opportunity to leverage AI and data visualisation was identified. Using AKQA's Research & Development program the innovation team had direct discussions with marine rescue operations, boaties and coast guard employees to ideate an ideal mobile solution to take better care of Kiwi boaties and manage the critical situations seen at sea.
Agency Solution
AKQA ran a three week R&D sprint to explore ways to support the marine rescue operations centre to save more lives at sea – the solution was; to develop a progressive, custom purpose trip reporting App.
Our solution for Coastguard consists of three distinct but connected systems:
Trip Reporting App: a boatie app designed to provide the tools needed to stay safe at sea. At the heart of the App is a mechanism that allows boaties to quickly and easily report on their trip so the Coastguard can easily locate them should an issue arise. In addition the App contains wind + tide + swell data, as well as real time weather reporting, and Coastguard’s own proprietary Nowcasting service.
Trip Reporting Platform: sitting behind the App is a platform designed for Coastguard Volunteers and Employees to log and track all trips internally. This system is essential for Coastguard to keep track of boaties regionally, and replaces an earlier version of the platform that had been in place for a number of years. The Trip Reporting System was designed and built as a 100% uptime cloud based platform standard using progressive web app technology to ensure constant connectivity and accessibility.
While developing the trip reporting App for the Coastguard, AKQA ran a three week R&D sprint to explore ways we could support the marine rescue operations centre to save more lives at sea.
Using machine learning AKQA created a predictive search and rescue ops platform and a trip reporting app for the New Zealand Coastguard. The app captures data on vessel, where they currently are, where they are headed and when they plan to return. We combine this real time data with historical trip, weather and incident data to predict where coastguard assets should be deployed ahead of time and where to search for a boatie given their last known location. The result of this is more efficient rescue management, and more lives saved.
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