FAQ- Frequently Asked Questions

Can I customize my preplan template or questionnaires?

At this time, you cannot customized preplan questionnaires. The issue here is trying to maintain uniformity so that the preplans can be shared across departments with efficiency. We are the first company ever to provide preplan “software as a service” on a cloud platform, allowing for data sharing between clients. All other preplan software is either locally installed and hosted, or does not have inter-agency sharing capability, so we face some unique challenges. For many of our customers, numerous departments in an area use StreetWise and preplans are shared. If clients are permitted to have customized preplan templates, the shared preplans become difficult to navigate by departments that use different templates.

Preplans don’t have a set national template, similar to the standardized NFIRS incident report, so that everyone has the same. In the absence of that, we try to follow the guidance provided in NFPA 1620 “Standard on Pre-Incident Planning”, using it as a sort of “gold standard” to try to achieve in a single, standardized preplan template.

It would be possible to allow each department to create their own custom preplan templates that are unique and have those templates served only to that agency, similar to their hydrants and sticky waypoints. We have considered this, but feel like it is losing some of the benefit of a cloud-based system where data and information can be easily and efficiently shared across regions, states, or even nationally when needed.

We have concerns about the quality of Google Maps as a primary map background. Can we use another map source or our own GIS data?

There were several critical issues that led to StreetWise choosing Google Maps are our primary tactical map background. First, it was important to us that the maps be seamless across jurisdictions. Having heard many stories of other mobile response products “dropping off” at the edge of a jurisdiction, leaving responders with no map when responding on mutual aid calls, we wanted to be sure our users could seamlessly move from one jurisdiction to the next, even across the state, and still have maps. Second, we needed a solution that would work for everyone, including smaller jurisdictions that have no dedicated GIS department. Last, but not least, was maintaining an affordable product, and the cost of map licensing was a big factor in that.

It’s important to note that Google Maps is used by more than a billion people every day and more than 5 million active apps and websites use Google Maps Platform core products every week. Knowing what we do about the platform, it’s hard to imagine any organization more dedicated to geospatial accuracy. Google has invested billions into both automated and manual systems to improve and maintain accuracy. In addition, they actively encourage partnerships with authoritative organizations, such as governments and utilities, to allow for contributions of timely new data. If your local government is not participating, they can and they should.

Here are some helpful links to learn more about Google Maps, the various ways their data is obtained, and how local entities can contribute to accuracy:
Beyond the Map: How we build the maps that power your apps and business
Beyond the Map: Solving problems and powering location-based services with imagery
Beyond the Map: 9 things to know about Google’s maps data

Does the address entered in the Preplan Wizard have to be identical to what the dispatch center sends out for a call in order for the pre-plan to be easily accessed and viewed?

When a call is present on the homescreen of StreetWise, pushing the preplan button will result in the list of preplans sorting by geographic proximity to the call, closest preplans at the top of the list. The lat/lon coordinates of the call are used to sort the preplans by proximity. This is done by comparing the preplan lat/lon coordinates to the coordinates of the call itself. Thus, it is more important to have accurate lat/lon coordinates in the preplan than even the accuracy of the address or business name.

However, you can also sort preplans by business name or address by simply choosing a different sort column at the top of the list. You can also search form a specific preplan by entering any string of characters that would be found within the name or address of the preplan you’re looking for.

Fire Hydrants or Water Points are not appearing on the map, even though the user has selected a visible radius for Hydrant Display

When the StreetWise application is first opened, the server sends the latest hydrant files to the device for use in the map display. Depending on the number of hydrants in the agency’s system, this can take as much as several minutes. Until the file is successfully loaded, the hydrants will not display on the tactical map.

If, after several minutes, the hydrant locations are still not displaying:
1. Make certain an active call is on the device screen in an area where hydrants would be present. Confirm the hydrant setting is set to display a radius of hydrants around that incident. If hydrants are still not displayed, then
2. Repeatedly and rapidly tap the “connected” icon at the top right corner of the screen until the login screen reappears. Use the device ID and license key to log back in to StreetWise. Wait several minutes and check hydrant display again.
3. If hydrants are still not displaying properly, contact StreetWise Technical Support or submit a support ticket.

Is everyone able to track where my phone is all the time with StreetWise Responder? That seems creepy.

That is creepy (lol), and NO, your location is not tracked or displayed constantly. As you probably know by now, there are two different versions of our product, one is called CADlink and is an MDT-style product designed for use in fire apparatus. The other is Responder, the one used on a personal smartphone. The CADlink-equipped apparatus is tracked all the time, regardless of status, so long as the app is running in the truck. Since departments use this as an MDT, it is normally running 24/365, so these vehicles are typically visible all the time.

The Responder-equipped personal smartphones are ONLY tracked when they are in an “active” status connected to an incident, such as “To Station”, “To Scene”, “On Scene”, etc. When the device is NOT in an active incident status, such “Available”, “Off Duty”, etc., the unit’s location is NOT tracked. You might occasionally see other Responder users on the map, though no call is in progress. Those users may simply have failed to put themselves back into “Available” or “Off Duty” status at the end of their last response. If their app is still running, their location will still be tracked until they change their status. If the app is no longer running (say they shut it down after the call), their device may display in its last known location for a period of time before disappearing from the map. This is a feature intended to help a user who may have misplaced or dropped their phone during a response.

Why is the location of some of my units on the map sometime a little off from their actual location?

If you’re asking this question, there is a pretty good chance that you are either using an iOS device, or an Android device whose location settings are set incorrectly. This is not meant as a positive or negative about iPad vs Android, but there is one major difference between the way these two operating systems obtain their own location.
In either system, the devices can obtain location data (i.e. “where am I?”) through three methods:

  1. Triangulation of cell tower locations
  2. Location data related to received Wi-Fi signals (regardless of whether the device is connected to that Wi-Fi)
  3. The use of a GPS chip obtaining location via satellite signal

Of these three methods, the one that uses the MOST battery power is the third, the use of the GPS chip. Therefore, either operating system will try to find its own location by using one or both of the first two methods before using the GPS chip. This maximizes battery life. However, the first method (cell towers) may only give an approximate location and the second method (Wi-Fi signals) can be inaccurate by up to a block due to varying strength of Wi-Fi signals, the movement of the device itself, or even inaccurate original data for that Wi-Fi networks location. Only the third method (GPS chip) ensures a location accurate to within about 30 feet because of its use of satellite timing signals.
In an Android device, the operating system allows you to select a Location Setting to only use the third method, the GPS chip, restricting the device to using the most accurate of the three methods as long as you are willing to sacrifice battery life. You can change this setting in and Android through Settings > Location > Mode or Accuracy > set to “GPS Only” or “Highest Accuracy”.
In an iPad (or any iOS device), the operating system makes that choice for you, always prioritizing battery life even if your device is always on shore power. There is no way (currently) to lock an iOS device into always using GPS. As a result, the location of an iPad or iOS device may jump around a bit, especially when the device is not moving at all, and may have an accuracy range of considerably more than the 30 feet expected from a GPS chip. In certain circumstances, this can be as much as a half block or more.

Cannot log in a device, or StreetWise is not working properly, when connected to a particular WiFi network

This problem can be caused if the WiFi network has certain ports locked down. For proper functioning, StreetWise needs to have access to the following ports:

•Port 881
•Port 888
•Port 889

It is a particular problem for StreetWise CADlink and StreetWise Responder if port 889 is locked down. StreetWise on the mobile devices uses port 889 to communicate to the main StreetWise servers. It is also a problem for StreetWise SmartBoard if port 881 or 888 is locked down, since it uses these ports to get live updates for the screen. If the agency’s IT personnel have preemptively locked out ports 881, 888 or 889 for security reasons, these ports will need to be reopened in order for StreetWise to use that WiFi network.

How is use of the “Staging” status handled when transferring data directly to NFIRS?

If you’re using our StreetWise to RMS interface (such as with Emergency Reporting), much of the data created through the use of StreetWise in the field automatically creates associated data in your NFIRS report before you even return from the call. Unit status is captured in the NFIRS unit sections, while basic incident data is captured in the main incident sections. Finally, many of your tactical actions and benchmarks will be recorded in the CAD Narrative section to help further document the events that occurred during an incident.

While “Staging” does not appear in your NFIRS CAD narrative, it is, in fact, captured as the unit’s “Arrived” timestamp in your NFIRS incident report data in Emergency Reporting.

NFIRS does not currently have a separate and distinct timestamp data point for “Staging”. Instead, the U.S. Fire Administration, in its Code-A-Gram supplement 2010-12-01 clarified that “arriving at a staging area is considered being at a specific location of the incident.” This was done to help alleviate questions as to whether or not arriving at an IC-designated staging location was equivalent to arriving at the scene for purposes of NFIRS documentation. Since the staging area represents the unit’s initial assignment for that incident, the USFA said “Yes”.

For this reason, use of either the “On Scene” or “Staging” button in StreetWise will record an associated “Arrived” unit timestamp in the NFIRS unit section of Emergency Reporting’s incident report.

I got a new phone (or tablet) and when I try to log on I get an error message saying “This Device ID is already in use…” What gives?

Having two devices identifying themselves as the same device simultaneously would render most features of StreetWise unusable. For this reason, StreetWise has an authentication system to make sure no two devices are ever logged in using the same Device ID and License Key. When you first log in to StreetWise on a device, that device generates its own unique hardware identifier (device security key) and provides that to the StreetWise server. From then on, that unique identifier must match in order for the device to communicate with the server.

When you switch to a new device and attempt to log on with the same Device ID and License Key, a brand new unique hardware identifier is sent and the server rejects it because the old one is already in the database. This is for your own protection, to keep you from ever inadvertently having two devices using the same Device ID even by mistake. The security key must be manually reset for you to re-use the Device ID on a new device.

Your department’s Client Administrator can reset the device for re-installation using the Client Web Portal. See the full video tutorial by clicking HERE or visit StreetWise University. StreetWise Tech Support can also reset the security key for you. Simply submit a support ticket from this portal, or call the Technical Support line at 800-718-8027. Provide the Device ID (or StreetWise alias), and ask that the Device ID’s security key be reset. Your direct contact with us will verify that it is not a mistake and our tech support agents will reset the key for you.

I just completed a preplan, but it’s not showing up on my tablet

Please remember that new preplans uploaded to our system are batch processed every half hour. New preplan information then propagates to the tablets when each device auto-runs its Preplan Ingestion routines, which are timed to run about once per half hour. All tablets will run their ingestion routines on their own unique half hour schedule, which helps us to balance the load and demand on our servers. So, depending on the timing of our batch processing sequence and the timing of each specific tablet’s ingestion routine, new preplans may not be available on all devices for up to an hour after creation. Sometimes, it will be much less than that, but typically an hour should be the maximum wait time.

I’m buying tablets. How much storage memory capacity do I need for StreetWise CADlink?

We don’t recommend less than 32GB of storage memory. Though some tablets can be purchase with only 16GB, and this is sufficient for StreetWise, the amount of memory left over after accounting for the device operating system is actually relatively limited.

The main consideration is the storage of cached preplans. StreetWise has a feature allowing you to selectively cache preplan data to the device storage memory so that it can be viewed even if your cellular or Wi-Fi broadband connectivity is lost due to poor reception. This makes these preplans available off-line. The amount of preplan data that can be cached to the device is limited by the storage capacity of the device, which is why StreetWise allows you to select which specific preplans are cached. So, if this feature is important to you, you’ll want to lean towards greater storage memory. If connectivity is not typically a problem, or if you have very few preplans you’ll want to cache, then capacity of 16 to 32GB should be plenty.

My Responder app doesn’t retrieve all my calls when I open it

This questions often comes up when a user sees a number of past calls in their notifications window, but then open their StreetWise app and only a limited number of these calls load to the app.

When the device is in any status other than off-duty, it will receive push notifications for all calls, which will then list in the phone’s notifications window. However, when the app is opened, it retrieves the full details only for unread calls occurring within the last 24 hours. This by design and intended to limit the amount of data usage that each device would incur if it retrieved the full details for numerous old calls that are no longer active. The historic details of the older calls can be retrieved at any time from the Admin Web Portal since they are always retained in the account database.

My tactical map screen is “quivering” or my map zoom seems jumpy when using “Track Up”

Some user experience a situation where their tactical map appears to be quivering, jumping slightly vertically or horizontally. In addition, they may find the map zoom (pinching or spreading two fingers on the map) does not consistently perform the action they want. This is normally caused by the device being in the “Track Up” map action setting.

In the “Track Up” setting, the device is attempting to “track” the unit itself and adjust the map around it. When in motion, the unit will always point to the top of the map, and the map will rotate around it, keeping the “track” of the vehicle always facing the top of the map. When the unit is stopped, slight variations in the data provided by the device’s GPS chip may cause the map to re-center or rotate ever so slightly in adjustment to these GPS readings. This can give the appearance of a “jittery” map. Likewise, if you zoom the map to a location that does not include the unit itself, the “Track Up” feature will attempt to automatically re-center the map to include the unit. After all, this mode is supposed to “track” the movement of the vehicle. So, this is normal.

In order to return the map to normal behavior, put the map in “North Up” whenever you are not specifically desiring to track your vehicle during movement.

Where will you get the hydrant data for use in the interactive hydrant display labels?

StreetWise can use ESRI ArcGIS shapefile set for the hydrants as the georeferenced data points for its tablet hydrant display. This shapefile set should be able to be exported from the ESRI enterprise or hosted application packages. We often obtain these directly from a city/county GIS department or from the water utility company directly. The shapefile set will include an attribute tablet that may already contain information that is useful for the responders, such as main size, flow rating, outlet sizes, etc. We can use this to populate the hydrant text pop-up.

If you are using Emergency Reporting RMS, we can very simply export your hydrant information directly out of ER and into StreetWise. Remember that the location accuracy will only be as good as the quality of the latitude and longitude coordinates in ER. If you have not populated the latitude and longitude in ER, then the file will not be able to be used for mapping in StreetWise and you’ll be better off working with option in the paragraph above.

The same may hold true for users of Firehouse RMS, though not all users have access to the full suite of exporting capability. If you are using Firehouse Cloud, you will need to determine what optional software components you might need to enable export of the hydrant data. Exporting records from Firehouse Cloud edition is not necessarily a standard feature. If you are using the non-hosted enterprise version, you can create a hydrant data export using the Custom Query feature and we can assist, if necessary.

If you have data, but not latitude and longitude coordinates, stored in your RMS database that is not included in the GIS attribute table (i.e. flow test results), these can be joined to the GIS attribute table for use in the interactive display labels, but only if there is a common identifier field. So, for instance, if you include the utility company’s hydrant ID number in the RMS data records and that ID number is also present in the GIS shapefile table, we can easily perform a join to put those two data tables together. If there is not a common identifier field, it can be quite a bit trickier, but not necessarily impossible. In such a case, we would want to examine the data before determining whether, or how, it could be joined.

Why does CADlink require so many access permissions?

When installing StreetWise CADlink, the user will be informed that the application is being given access to a variety of permissions for performing functions and accessing data on the device. These permissions are only for the minimum necessary functions needed to support the features of StreetWise CADlink.

• Location Services: necessary to support live AVL functionality, navigation, and mapping
• Photo/Camera: necessary to support the preplan wizard, preplan attachment viewing, and photo share
• File Read/Write: necessary to support the ability to launch attachments or photo shares into OS and third-party viewers instead of the native StreetWise image viewer

Sometimes, after I have deleted calls, they return to my list when I reopen the app later. Why?

Unlike some other software in this industry, the StreetWise main server keeps track of whether or not you actually opened and looked at a call inside the mobile app. Some other similar products just “fire and forget”. They send your phone a push notification for a call and, if you get it… great, if you didn’t… tough. StreetWise is different in this regard.

When you first look at your list of calls in the call index line, there will be a small white star above calls that have not been “read” inside the app. Anytime a call is centered on the screen for more than two seconds, it is assumed that you read it and it is then marked as “read”, not just on the app, but also on the server. Therefore, the server is keeping track of which calls you actually opened and looked at within the app. This is done in order to make certain you don’t inadvertently miss or delete a call that you need and have not yet read. Anytime you open the app, the server will send back to your device any calls within the last 24 hours that have NOT been marked as “read”, even if you previously deleted them. This is by design and is intended to ensure you do not inadvertently lose a call you had not yet read by hitting a wrong button. After 24 hours, unread calls will be ignored. Of course, if you click “Resend Recent”, you will get back the last 4 hours of calls, regardless of whether they had been read or not.

One way to make sure deleted calls will not return to the device when opening the app again within the 24-hour period is to simply scroll from call to call, allowing two seconds for the call to be shown as “read” (as indicated by the white star disappearing). Then use either of the delete commands and the call should not return, even within 24 hours, except if the “Resend Recent” command is invoked.

Can StreetWise work on a normal computer as well as the tablet?

The full mobile version of StreetWise CADlink only functions on Android and iOS mobile operating systems. Consideration is being given to development of a Windows version at some point in the future.

You do have access to the Client Web Interface for StreetWise, with a different set of very useful administrative functions, by going to our website at www.streetwisecadlink.com and clicking Clients >Client Login. The web interface can be used on any device with web access, including desktop or laptop computers, smartphones or other mobile devices. Your login authentication information was provided to you when your account was set up. If you need your login authentication information, simply send a support ticket requesting it.

What’s the best way to save battery life when using StreetWise Responder on my smartphone?

When Responder is not actively in use, it has no processes or background services that run whatsoever. When the app is not running, it is not using data or adding to battery usage. A push notification for new alerts will be received by the phone, but Responder uses the normal operating system’s push notification channel as with any other push notification. Only if the user opens Responder (either manually or via a push notification) does the app begin to communicate with the server.

When the app is open, it is in contact with the server periodically to exchange updated information for the map, unit statuses, etc. These exchanges are optimized to use a very, very limited amount of data. The location of the unit is also being updated, but is not actively monitored by the StreetWise server when the app is not active (not in an “engaged” status) on a call.

We have noticed that users occasionally have failed to change their status back to a “non-engaged” status (Available or Off Duty) after a call. If they leave the app running, even in the background, and they are remaining in an engaged status, then data and location are being used just as if they were actively in a response to an incident. This would represent the peak battery and data usage of the app.

Here are a couple of suggestions to optimize battery life:

  1. When the user is no longer active on a call, always return the status to a non-engaged choice (Available or Off Duty)
  2. Backing out of any application on Android or iOS only backgrounds the app and does not immediately shut it down. It can continue to run in the background until the operating system needs the memory for something else, at which point the operating system will automatically shut down the app. While this can be a desirable feature, it can also allow Responder (or any similar app) to continue to use data unnecessarily in the background. However, the user can manually force a shutdown of any app. When the user is not actively using Responder or not watching the activity of a current call, shut down the app by using the device’s task manager. On Android, hold down the home button till the app list appears and swipe Responder off the list. On iOS, double click the home button to swipe the app off the list. This keeps the device from running StreetWise Responder in the background.