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MyHeartMap Challenge launches contest and mobile app to crowdsource map of Philly defibrillators

Updated 2/9/12: The MyHeartMap Challenge will run for six weeks beginning Jan 31 through March 13, 2012. Applications to participate in the challenge are now open to the public. The application was developed by GIS firm Azavea. Automated external defibrillators are life-saving devices located in buildings and public spaces like fire extinguishers across the country. […]

Updated 2/9/12: The MyHeartMap Challenge will run for six weeks beginning Jan 31 through March 13, 2012. Applications to participate in the challenge are now open to the public. The application was developed by GIS firm Azavea.

Automated external defibrillators are life-saving devices located in buildings and public spaces like fire extinguishers across the country. But no one really knows where they are in any broader way.

With the MyHeartMap Challenge, launching this week, a team of researchers from the University of Pennsylvania is hoping to crowdsource the location of every AED in Philadelphia and raise awareness about the tools, as Technically Philly previously reported.

Here’s how the challenge will work: interested participants should register at the MyHeartMap site and download the contest app to a smartphone. If you find an AED, take a picture of it. The app will geotag the photo for the Penn researchers who plan to use the information to create a database and comprehensive map of all the AED’s stashed throughout Philadelphia county.

There may be as many as 5,000 AEDs tucked into nooks and crannies around the city, reports the Inquirer. The winner — whoever finds the most — stands to collect $10,000, but smaller prizes will also be awarded.

According to Penn Medicine, you don’t need a medical degree to use one of the devices: “Used in conjunction with CPR, AEDs are an important part of the “chain of survival” needed to save cardiac arrest victims. Even people with no medical training can easily take those steps to help, since many AEDs provide audio instructions that talk users through the process of performing CPR.”

The Penn Researchers are starting the challenge in Philadelphia, but if the contest is successful, they have plans to make the contest and ultimately, their database, national.

From the release:

“Philadelphia is home to a vibrant medical community, some of the nation’s top institutions of higher education, and is a growing hub for new technology development. The MyHeartMap Challenge brings all those elements together to improve the health of our people,” said Donald F. Schwarz, MD, MPH, Health Commissioner and Deputy Mayor for Health and Opportunity for the City of Philadelphia. “The city has a rich tradition of innovation, and we have what it takes to lead the nation in this new form of lifesaving community engagement.”

To download the app and participate, visit the MyHeartMap Challenge website, follow them on Twitter, or visit the Facebook page.

To learn more about the Penn’s AED research check out the Penn Medicine News Release.

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Yael Borofsky was the lead reporter for Technically Philly from from December 2011 to June 2012 before leaving to pursue an urban studies graduate degree at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Previously she was an editor with the Breakthrough Journal in San Francisco. She loves hockey and coffee.

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