by: Allison Latos Updated:
CHARLOTTE, N.C. - UNC Charlotte has a new way to get people to safety in case of a campus shooting.
The campus police department unveiled it days after a mass shooting in Colorado.
University of North Carolina Charlotte computer science staff and students spent four years and nearly $800,000 in federal grants creating the software that shows three-dimensional maps of every campus building.
"You may not have any idea of the layout of the building," said UNC Police Chief Jeff Baker. "It will give you 3D imaging to evacuate the building."
Police said this information is vital in the event of tragedies like the Colorado movie theater shooting.
Computer Science Chair Dr. Bill Robarsky said, "If the shooting happened in a university setting, the first thing the chief would do is probably lock down the building. Then you have a substantial evacuation problem."
Inside the police mobile command center officers can keep tabs on their fellow police at all times inside the buildings.
The police teams appear on a computer image that identifies their location in the building.
Officials can also see which escape routes may get congested so they can determine the best evacuation route.
Police will use data from student identification badges and class lists to determine how many people are inside campus buildings.
Senior Durrell Eason didn't know about the iPhone application and the effort to prevent the unthinkable at UNC.
"I know it's possible that it could happen anywhere," said Eason. "I'm glad they made this app. That's amazing."
Staff and students are still perfecting the technology.
It will eventually be used at UNC branches statewide.
Campus police are also planning to use the application with Charlotte-Mecklenburg police in October.