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Queensland brings GPS ambulance tracking to the public

The Queensland Ambulance Service is using GPS tracking to allow members of the public to view the whereabouts of the state's ambulance fleet.

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Queensland Ambulance Service

Queenslanders will now be able to track the whereabouts of the state's fleet of more than 1,000 ambulances thanks to a new online service that maps the emergency service vehicles in close to real-time.

The service, which is a first for Australia, utilises Queensland's Integrated Real-Time Operational Ambulance Management software, known as iROAM, which was first launched for the Queensland Ambulance Service in 2012.

Developed internally by QAS, iROAM uses GPS to track ambulances and allows operational supervisors to view details like current cases and their details, cases waiting in the queue, and the number of ambulances currently en route to hospitals.

While not all these details will be available to view by the public (due, in part, to patient confidentiality), members of the public will now be able to look at a map of their region and track the number and location of vehicles.

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The area map of Brisbane showing available ambulance units. Screen Capture by Claire Reilly

They'll also be able to see a count of the ambulances that are currently busy or handing over patients at hospitals, thanks to a direct link to the QAS Emergency Services Computer Aided Dispatch system.

QAS Commissioner Russell Bowles said the service would help to keep the public better informed.

"One of the biggest misconceptions is that when there are ambulances dropping patients at a hospital, there are none available to respond to other emergencies," he said. "Use of the QAS social media stream has more than doubled in the past six months. We can use this tool to dispel some of the myths."