Captain Planit: If you Planit, they will come



Given the scope of the devastation caused by the recent Japanese Earthquake and Tsunami, the necessity of sound and effective disaster protocols is undeniable. The proximity of the UCLA campus to the ocean and hills, and the density of the campus population, compels us to provide the best possible contingencies in the event of any disaster. The quick and all-inclusive dissemination of information is vital toward this end.


We, the members of Captain Planit, are seeking to develop a web application that will allow members of the UCLA community and visiting guests to access evacuation plans and disaster related information through an interactive and user friendly interface.


Utilizing the Google Maps API, the team will construct a campus map complete with building designations and locations. The team will overlay floor plan data provided by UCLA Campus Facilities to display the layout of the Public Affairs Building (PAB) as a prototype for the evacuation plan project. The team will manually create poly lines for evacuation routes and highlight the exits for each floor. From the campus map, users will be able to click on the building, select their location within the building, and instantly access the evacuation route for that location. Additionally, the campus map will contain a layer displaying “region evacuation areas” as designated by the UCLA Emergency Management Office.

The team will incorporate the Twitter and Flickr APIs to allow for real-time user updates regarding the conditions of campus locations. These may include information on obstructions, the extent of visible damage to certain buildings, or the location of any disaster relief supplies provided by federal, state, and local authorities.

The team is also considering optimization for mobile devices, which would be one of the quickest methods of accessing the application. Access could then be achieved even if the UCLA WiFi infrastructure were to be compromised.



Our site will provide floor plans with evacuation route polygons and shaded exits for all six floors of the Public Affairs Building with features that allow users to:

  • Click on the public affairs building and bring up a menu with selectable layers for each floor of the building
  • Highlight all the exits, staircases and evacuation route for that floor.
  • Select layers that show fire alarms and fire extinguishers for each floor.
  • For example a user on the sixth floor will toggle the sixth floor layer, which will show them a route to the nearest staircase. Then the user would select the first floor to complete the route from the stairs to the nearest exit. If possible we include a feature that allows users to click on any staircase to bring up the first floor layer
  • See a layer with the designated post evacuation meeting spot will be included for each building. This will either be activated at the same time as the floor plans or only when the first floor is selected.

The campus wide map will include a toggle menu with layers that will feature:

  • The designated evacuation area (marked with a star in the image) for each region of campus (regions designated by numbers)
  • Shaded polygons or markers for each parking structure on campus.
  • Designated vehicle evacuation routes from campus.


  • Our website will include information provided by UCLA Campus Facilities API. This will include attributes for that will appear when selecting a building.
  • Our website will include Flickr API functionality any user can take a photo which will be geo-located on campus. This could be useful to show users where first aid stations are located after an evacuation.
  • Our website will include twitter API features.
  • Using a designated hashtag, or if a user has geolocation set in their profile, a twitter will be able to geolocate their tweets on the campus map. If you are trapped following a disaster after you call 911, you can tweet to show your exact ge-location. Also if UCLA tweets Bruin Alerts, they can show the geolocation of the threat.

Site Design



Milestones and Potential Concerns


By Week 6, Captain Planit hopes to have the website successfully connected to the UCLA Campus Facilities API and allow users to access the campus map. We would like to demonstrate the potential of this project by applying some of our key features to the Public Affairs Building (PAB). A user should be able to toggle a specific floor in the PAB and have access to the floor plans and evacuation route for that level.


By the Final, Captain Planit will have access to campus rasters via the the Campus Facilities ArcGIS Server. With this data, we will be able to provide more campus-wide options that the user will be able to toggle on and off campus-wide.

We also hope to have connectivity with the Flickr and Twitter API. At this point, we will be able to demonstrate the website’s utility during an actual emergency.


One of the biggest areas for potential problems is the sensitivity of the data we are working with. In meeting with a representative from UCLA Campus Facilities, we were informed that our requests for campus data will have to be screened for sensitive information. It is our hope that we will be able to have access to enough data so that we can provide users with an informative experience.

Another area of concern that was brought up during our meeting with the Campus Facilities representative was how to actually utilize the social media API. If our plan is to georeference user’s tweets, they will need to opt-in to make their locations public. Not many users opt-in to this privacy setting, but we have some other ways of working around this.

2 thoughts on “Captain Planit: If you Planit, they will come

  1. Captains,

    Good job in putting together this proposal based on everything we have discussed! Based on what you have written up, here is what I would recommend you focus on for the mid-terms:

    1. Create Google Earth layers for the campus wide evacuation area’s
    2. See if you can georeference the 6 floor plans in Google Earth, and have these available as layers that users can toggle on/off.
    3. Suggested UI: When user toggles on a floor plan (ex: 3rd floor), it automatically also turns on the layers for exits and evacuation routes for that floor. You could potentially package the image overlay, routes, and exit points into one Google Earth folder (ex. PAB3floor.kmz, PAB4floor.kmz…), and have that be the KMZ file that is turned on /off.

    I would suggest to focus on using the Campus Facilities API after the mid-term, as you will most likely not have the time to learn the ArcGIS Server REST API before then. So focus on what you can do without the API, and instead start building the custom data layers for PAB, roaming around the halls and marking the location of relevant objects.

    I would also suggest to update some of the UI diagrams. Try to see if you can simplify the user experience even more… too many buttons and drop downs often confuse the user more than it helps. This is, of course, very challenging to accomplish!

    David and I are very excited and thankful for your group taking this on. Don’t hesitate to ask us questions.

  2. You have a lot of great detail and plans – but as Yoh explains a lot of what you have proposed you’ll deal with more in the second half of the course.

    I think you can create some great google earth authored layers on top of the building floor plans that will be effective for demonstrating the project at the mid-term point.

    While you may choose not to use the Metro API for your final project, you could use it to demonstrate evacuation routes to leave campus.

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