LSU Delivers Student-Developed Tracking Application to Louisiana National Guard

April 24, 2020

Students and staff at the LSU Stephenson Disaster Management Institute (SDMI) have developed a phone-based tracking system for critical commodities and people traveling across the state with support from the Louisiana National Guard. Called ComTrac, it was initially intended to monitor evacuations as well as deliveries of food, water, ice, and tarps during hurricanes. But with the arrival of COVID-19, other commodities became important, including ventilators and personal protective equipment. In a record six weeks, compared to the expected development time of six months, ComTrac 2.0 was redesigned to monitor almost any kind of resource traveling by ground. Through a customized dashboard, users can follow each delivery in real time on a map, tell live from completed missions, and how much of each resource has reached specific destinations.

“This is how you drive efficiency; knowing what to expect and when to expect it,” said SDMI Director Brant Mitchell.

SDMI’s student-developed tracking app

The mostly student-developed tracking app will work for both miliary and civilian missions to bring commodities (such as ventilators and PPE) or people to where they need to go. With customizable labels (bottom center), the app can be tailored for any large-scale operation or disaster event where it is important to connect the 'what' and 'who' to the 'where' and 'when.'

– SDMI

“As a computer science student, being able to work together as a team to build the ComTrac app from the ground up was amazing. Real work holds more weight and definitely kept us motivated. Also, knowing this app was needed by the Louisiana National Guard and would help our state was very exciting to me. I wanted to give it my absolute best.”

- Abigail Crabtree, LSU undergraduate student in computer science from Prairieville, Louisiana and current IBM summer intern