Emergency Communications Apps

Even if there is no cell phone or internet access, that cell phone is still a great survival tool.  I am starting a list of useful apps for Emergency Communications and Disaster Situations.  Do you have a favorite app or tool to recommend?  Email Glen at GTSkywarn@gmail.com and I will add it to the list.

GPS Apps

MAPS.ME          Android                           IOS        Free


This app works without internet access to give your location, roads, directions, and local services.  This works anywhere in the world.  When you download the app, look for the options menu and “Download Maps”.  If you want maps for say Michigan, tap the “+” then United States of America > Michigan > then download the maps you want.  Once your map is downloaded, works without internet.  If travelling abroad, remember to turn off your cell phone service.

Gaia GPS            Android ($9.99)              IOS ($19.99)


Designed for backpackers, this app gives topo/satellite views and tracks where you have been.  Once you download the app and download locations, it works “off line”.  You can also upload your GPS history or “track”.  Very nice for search and rescue.

APRS.FI              Android                                         IOS


This uses the internet to upload your GPS coordinates so that other ham operators can see your/their location in map form.  Great for situational awareness.


Echolink             Android                                         IOS


You can access the Traverse City 146.86 repeater using this app from anywhere in the world.  Search for W8TCM-R and save to Favorites.

Repeater Book               Android                                         IOS (free)


This will use your phones GPS to give you the nearest repeaters.

Documentation and Reference

Solocator                         Android                                         IOS


This app takes a “standard” photo but also saves a photo that embeds the title that you create, time, date, GPS coordinates, compass bearing into the picture.  This is a valuable tool for disaster assessment and reporting weather conditions.  Remember to email photos to TBARG using the GTSkywarn@gmail.com account.    The app is free but get the upgrade for around $6.

Google Drive                   Android                                                       IOS (free)


I would highly recommend getting a free Gmail account.  For those of you who do, are you aware that you have 15 Gigs of online storage for free.  Load the Google Drive App into your phone.  You can save important documents to your phone and access them even when there is no internet (use the View File Off Line mode).  TBARG/Munson files will be updated frequently.  

Got a lot of photos on your phone?  Back them up for free using Google Photos.  There is no limit to this free account.  Make sure you have Wi-Fi access and using the following link to download the app.  If you have a large number of photos, I would suggest plugging your phone into a charger and backing your photos overnight.


Red Cross First Aid                       Android                                         IOS (Free)


What to do for the most common first aid situations.

Merck Manual                              Android                                         IOS (Free)

IOS:  https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/merck-manual-consumer-version/id331008341?mt=8

Android:  https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.mm.consumer&hl=en

The standard for medical disorder symptoms and information.

FEMA Mobile App                       Android                                         IOS (Free)


Weather alerts, safety reminders, submit disaster photos, etc.

WISER (Hazardous Materials)    Android                                         IOS (Free)


Wireless Information System for Emergency Responders – designed to assist emergency responders on hazardous material incidents.

Cherryland Electric Power Outaged Map                                        Web Link


Not an app but a web link to show where power is out.  Bookmark this page in your browser.

Consumers Energy Power Outage Map                                           Web Link


Not an app but a web link to show where power is out.  Bookmark this page in your browser.

Weather Radar and Info

Weather Underground Storm                  Android                                        IOS (free)


Excellent weather app.

Needful Things

Getting Pictures Off Your Phone – USB Drive

For IOS – Amazon – HooToo USB Lighting Drive 32 Gigs – $29.99


Let’s say you have a number of photos that you have taken of a disaster and you need to share these photos with Incident Command.  There is no email and/or you have a lot of photos.  This USB drive plugs into you iPhone and using the HooToo app, allows you to download up to 32 Gigs of photos.  The drive can then be plugged into a laptop to transfer photos.  It is also a good way to back up your photos while on vacation.

For Android, use the following (32Gigs is $15.25):


Portable Battery Pack to recharge your Android/iPhone for up to one week of use (20,000 mAh) $39:




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