Effective ambulance management system

A freely available GIS for ambulance management in the Global South

Project motivation

Many people in the world lack access to rapid medical care in emergency situations. Death rates after emergencies in the Global South are high. People in need often take a taxi because there are no ambulances available in entire cities or areas. A lack of coordination  through a control centre further complicates the use of available ambulances. The project aims to develop an effective ambulance management system using the city of Ashaiman in Ghana as an example. The system should be freely accessible and transferable.

Target region Ashaiman
Target region Ashaiman
Target region Ashaiman
Target region Ashaiman

Target region Ashaiman

Ashaiman is a city with a population of about 250 000 in Ghana. The city's population has grown strongly in recent decades, partly due to high migration. The infrastructure could not be provided and adapted for this growth. The city suffers from high unemployment and crime.

Few roads in Ashaiman are tarred and their passability depends on environmental influences. In the rainy season, the roads soften and are not passable. The organisation of traffic is poor. This causes traffic jams and a low average speed on the roads. Taxis taken by people in need take a long time to reach a health facility due to road and traffic conditions.

The health facilities are small and differently (well) equipped. The EAMS can also be used to organise transport between health facilities in order to treat patients as well as possible.

In order to gain insight into the situation on the ground, the project cooperates with the Prinel Medical Centre, which is located in the urban area of Ashaiman.

Project goals

In the project, a system for the deployment and coordination of ambulances is being further developed. The aim is to make the system as intuitive as possible in order to make it as easy and quick to use as possible. It is also important that it is cost-effective and based on open source products. The system tracks the position of several ambulances in real time. When a call is made, information about an incident and the person in need of help should be able to be quickly recorded. The location of the person has to be determined even if there is no address of the location. The emergency vehicles should be dispatched in such a way that the travel time to the patient as well as to the nearest health facility is minimised. For this purpose, an optimal route must be determined. The geodata required for this must be as complete and up-to-date as possible. Sustainability must be ensured for a permanent smooth process, which affects both the software and its maintenance as well as the data.

Current status of the system

Structure und functions of the EAMS
Structure und functions of the EAMS
User interface of the EAMS
User interface of the EAMS

The system was developed on the basis of the freely usable geoinformation system QGIS and extended by programming interfaces with plug-ins. In the current state, it is possible to store the background map on the basis of OpenStreetMap with a tile server. In addition, road data is stored in a PostGIS database to enable routing via nodes and edges. This database also stores data on health facilities, including equipment and opening hours.

When a person in need of help calls, information and their location is recorded. The information is analysed and sent in a report to the ambulance driver. The location of the ambulance is known through a live location. This means that the route to the person in need of help can also be calculated and transmitted.

Working in an international team

The team consists of four students, two at FHWS, one at the University of Cape Coast and one at KAAF University College Accra. The original plan was for the team to develop the syhstem together for three months in Germany and then implement the system for three months in Ghana. Since this is not possible due to the current pandemic situation, tasks have to be distributed differently. Technical and communication problems have to be considered. The Ghanaian students can gain an insight into the situation on site. The German students have better technical conditions, for example a constant power and internet supply.

The project participants

Moritz Sproll
Moritz Sproll

Moritz Sproll

  • Würzburg (Germany)
  • B. Eng. Geovisualisation at the FHWS
  • Bachelorthesis:
    Ambulance management system in Ghana with QGIS
Edmund Mensah
Edmund Mensah

Edmund Mensah

  • Cape Coast (Ghana)
  • Civil Engineering at the Cape Coast Technical University

Thea Minnich
Thea Minnich

Thea Minnich

  • Würzburg (Germany)
  • Studies of Surveying & Geoinformatics at the FHWS

Lilian Amartey
Lilian Amartey

Lilian Amartey

  • Kasoa (Ghana)
  • Geomatic Engineering at KAAF University College