Project TitleSAFE (Situational Awareness for Events): A Data Visualization System
Track Code2015-171
Short Description

Data visualization for mass participation event management

#software #analysis #optimization


Marathons and other endurance events are growing in popularity, and thus require significant resources to ensure safety and success. A team of Northwestern researchers have developed a data visualization system that allows event organizers and public safety agencies to track runner and medical tracking data in a single dashboard to gain valuable situational awareness. Their system provides a dynamic representation of the flow of people and resources, which is critical to overall public safety and event management. At the core of their system is an innovative runner simulation tool that can not only display current runner density along the course, but can also predict where runners will be in the future. They are in the process of assembling a unique repository of runner and medical data for marathons and other endurance events that will allow them to optimize their prediction of runner density temporally and geographically for other events, particularly those that do not possess the same level of technical systems as the larger marathons. This system has already been successfully deployed at the Bank of America Chicago Marathon, the Bank of America Shamrock Shuffle 8K in Chicago, the Chevron Houston Marathon, and the Aramco Houston Half Marathon. 

TagsSOFTWARE: analysis, software: optimization
Posted DateOct 5, 2016 11:02 AM


Karen Smilowitz*
George Chiampas


  • Marathons and other endurance events
  • Parades and other large scale public events in which the geographic and temporal tracking of participants and resources is integral to public safety
  • Emergency Response


  • Easily accessible and meaningful data for the command center of an event
  • Adoption and integration into an Incident Command Structure (ICS) in the event Forward Command facility from FEMA


Hanken T, Young S, Smilowitz K, Chiampas G, Waskowski D. (2016) Developing a Data Visualization System for the Bank of America Chicago Marathon. Prehosp Disaster Med. 31(5):572-7.

IP Status

A PCT application has been filed.

Marketing Contact

Arjan Quist, PhD
Invention Manager
(p) 847.467.0305