An Israeli child sits under a desk in a bomb shelter during an air raid siren drill. (illustrative) (AP/Tara Todras-Whitehill) (AP/Tara Todras-Whitehill)
child bomb scare

Not requiring the use of a GPS, which sometimes provide a weak signal, the product is available for users whether indoors or outdoors.

By United with Israel Staff

With Israel continuously fighting against terror, including rocket attacks from the Gaza Strip that recently sent 450 missiles into the country, the Israeli company Navin, based in Tel Aviv, developed a navigation app that maps out bomb shelters in various cities.

By using crowd-mapping technology, artificial intelligence and complex algorithms, the app shares the locations of bomb shelters and protected spaces. Presently, the cities of Tel Aviv, located in central Israel, and Beer Sheva in the south, have been mapped.

Beer Sheva has experienced rocket attacks from Gaza since 2008. Rockets have reached Tel Aviv in March 2019 and during the 2014 summer war with Hamas.

Navin was co-founded by Shai Ronen, a former Israeli Air Force F-16 pilot and an expert in navigation systems; Gidi Barak, a communications technology veteran; and Lior Ronen (no relation to Shai), an experienced radio-frequency engineer. The majority of the company’s innovative team had served in Israel Defense Forces elite units.

The smartphone app was first developed to enable users to navigate indoor spaces, such as malls and university campuses. However, the company realized that people are often unaware of the location of lifesaving shelters when under attack.

“We knew from the beginning that smartphone motion sensors themselves are never as accurate as high-end navigation systems,” Ronen said, according to NoCamels. “So we invented a new algorithm that makes their computation better and enables location tracking without GPS.”

If there are incoming rockets, the system immediately identifies the location of the user and guides him or her to a safe location. It presents walking routes, including escalators and stairs, providing the most efficient path to a protected space. Anyone needing the user-friendly app would simply type “shelter” in the search bar to find the nearest one.

The app was built on a crowd-sourcing system, meaning that civilians are welcome to add shelters that they are aware of.

The “security mapping” in Beer Sheva includes finding shelters at Ben-Gurion University, the Negev Mall and the Grand Canyon Mall as well as others throughout the city.

Areas in Tel Aviv that have been mapped include Dizengoff Center, TLV Fashion Mall, Sarona Market, Ichilov Hospital, the Tel Aviv Museum, and Azrieli Towers.

Additional cities in Israel are being added to the app. The company is looking to expand its reach to major cities in Europe and the Far East, according to NoCamels.

Navin recently brought its services to the United States. It is presently mapping public buildings in San Francisco, including the Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s department stores, major shopping malls, IKEA, the San Francisco Public Library and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

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