Pilot mobile app to generate automated access routes from timber harvesting sites to emergency personnel locations

Grants and Contracts Details


The forest and wood industry is a multibillion dollar economic sector in Kentucky that provides 59,300 jobs. The state is the leading producer of hardwood sawlogs with annual harvests over 700 million board feet and 1.2 million tons of pulp wood. Timber harvesting activities are conducted throughout the state mainly by local contractors operating ground-based equipment. Under regulations of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), contractors are required to provide access routes from any given logging site to emergency personnel locations (EPL), such as hospitals and police and fire stations, prior the start of ground operations. Commonly, access routes are provided in the form of printed maps and/or a set of directions. Typically, these access routes are selected manually or using web applications (i.e. Mapquest or Google maps) for which a single origin (EPL) also needs to be selected manually. These routes may not always provide the most efficient route to access the logging site in terms of travel time. Moreover, these routes may not guarantee the best EPL, which becomes important when multiple EPLs exist. There is a need to develop tools that can automatically generate access routes to expedite medical assistance in case of injuries incurred in risk-prone timber harvesting operations. Computer generated accesses routes have the potential to responsively provide EPL from alternative locations and minimize travel time to and from logging sites. In this pilot study, we propose to develop an interface for a mobile application for smartphones that can automatically generate the fastest routes from user-defined logging sites to the closest EPLs. This mobile application will rely on the extensive base maps available in Google maps (road locations, lengths, speed limits, and traffic level), be implemented as a website using the Google application programming interface (API), and made available for public use. In addition to generating optimized access routes from logging sites to EPLs, our web-based application will store all requested access routes and expected harvesting duration to maintain an online spatial dataset displaying active logging sites and associated access routes to EPLs at any given time. This proposed application offers the potential to reduce crucial estimated travel time for emergency personnel in case of injuries, facilitate compliance with OSHA regulations, and maintain an online database accessible by emergency personnel. For demonstration purposes, we plan to implement this pilot study within the boundaries of Kentucky, part of the Central Appalachian Region (CAR) (Figure 1) but designed to be applicable and expandable regionally, or potentially even nationwide.
Effective start/end date9/30/169/29/20


  • National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health


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