There are not many solutions that can claim to have saved lives. In this episode of Lessons Learned I chat with Richard Prodger of Active Web Solutions about the Windows Azure project they’ve been working on that tracks fishermen in real time. It monitors not only their location but also their status so as to immediately raise the alarm if help is needed (e.g. fallen off the side of a boat or pressed a panic button). This solution is already credited with saving the lives of 9 fishermen.
Electronics on the fishing vessels communicate directly via satellite to the Windows Azure solution. Those messages are processed via Windows Azure worker roles and routed using the Windows Azure AppFabric Service Bus to various on-premises systems for review and action. The desktop client overlay marine charts onto Bing maps so that the coast guard gets a visual representation of the exact location of boats that have raised alarms.
The good folks at Active Web Solutions have published some of the source code that they developed to “automatically bridge arbitrary TCP endpoints, handling any intermediate firewall traversal.” The code is available on CodePlex as the SocketShifter project:
If this is interesting, you should also have a look at Port Bridge published by Clemens Vasters on his blog. Clemens describes it as “Socketshifter’s older brother”