Ever thought of using our storytelling platforms for firefighting? Brian Quinn (PhD candidate in the School of Mathematical and Geospatial Sciences at RMIT University) did. As part of his research, Quinn developed a mobile scenario to research the use of 7scenes (the platform we further developed into the Mobile Learning Academy) and bushfire visualisations to train firefighters in Victoria, Australia. Can our platform be used as a training tool to make firefighters understand how a fire would spread? Data collected during the exercise was used to determine the extent to which the design principles and theoretical considerations for the visualisations were appropriate for a scenario based exercise for firefighters.

In May 2012, the game CODE RED: MOBILE was carried out with 30 firefighters attending this bushfire scenario training exercise. The scenario involved a wind change affecting a bushfire at the Hanging Rock Reserve, near Woodend in Central Victoria, Australia. Quinn wanted to test whether the firefighters would understand which virtual houses would burn because of this change of wind. At set locations, the firefighters we’re asked whether the virtual house they were standing close to, would burn because of the wind change.

To make this bushfire more appealing and real, Quinn also made visualisations of aspects of a virtual bushfire with the game editor Sandbox2 and implemented these in the 7scenes platform. According to Quinn’s preliminary results, the concept of providing mobile scenario based training to firefighters is viable. Most of the participants showed they understood which virtual houses would burn and how the fire would spread. The 7scenes platform was found to be a useful way of delivering realistic images and movies of a bushfire undergoing a wind change.

Quinn’s research is entitled “Evaluating the potential of Commercial Off the Shelf (COTS) computer games and mobile devices to deliver visualisations in a navigation and time sensitive spatial decision making game”. To learn more about his research, you can check his website.


Code Red: Mobile – A mobile scenario based training exercise for CFA firefighters – Brian Quinn from Geobits Ltd