HazRef 2008 Splash
Version 3.1 is on the way! It’s been in review for the last 8 weeks and rejected on 20 Sep 2009 for a minor human interface guideline violation ( they didn’t like how I used a bookmark icon ).
With any luck, the new version will become available soon.
While we are waiting, I’ll fill you in with some details about the new version. With the announcement of iPhone OS 3.0 I began a complete re-write of HazRef 2008. The older version had become “fragile” and adding new features was becoming difficult to do without causing more breakages. I have also learned a great deal about iPhone applications since starting and starting fresh would help me correct some of my “newbie” mistakes.
HazRef 2008 Version 3.1 Features
- Brand new artwork
- Cleaned up and expanded data
- Improved database architecture
- Visual indicator of water reactive materials
- Expanded transportation codes definitions
- Re-designed emergency response guide section
- Improved searching
- Glossary of terms
- Isolation and protective action distances
- Four-digit Hazard Identification code list
- Hazardous Material Contact Phone Numbers
- Source material cites with links
Brand new artwork
HazRef 2008 Version 3.1 Material List
Ok, I’m very proud of the new version’s visual appeal. Not only does it look better, it should flow better too. All the placards were re-worked, all the color choices revisited and revised to be provide an extra dimension of information where it makes sense. All credit goes to my lovely bride, the Graphic Design Mistress who was cruel but fair. If you need graphic design work (company logos, print or web design) consider http://www.designgrrl.com.
Cleaned up and expanded data
One of my challenges with HazRef 2008 is incorporating data from two different data sources ( the Emergency Response Guide and the Code of Federal Regulations ). The first versions were accomplished mostly by reducing the data by hand. As you might guess, this was tedious and error prone and took the majority of my time. Version 3.1 benefits from a brand new tool chain which automatically reduces CFR and ERG data for use in the application. I suspect I spent a good two months getting the tool chain “right” and incorporating new data and feature requests that I received from HazRef 2008 customers.
Improved database architecture
The previous database architecture was fragile and difficult to make changes to, causing lots of breakages when I attempted to add features. iPhone OS 3.0 brought the Mac OSX technology “Core Data” to the phone, allowing me to build dense and inter-connected data relationships with visual tools which are easy to edit and extend. The upshot to users is that updates and feature requests should become much more responsive ( barring Apple’s review speedbump of course ). For those who are curious, the underlying store for HazRef 2008 is a sqlite3 database that is imported from the previously mentioned tool chain.
Visual indicator of water reactive materials
Materials which react with water dangerously are indicated using a green placard background in the list view and also in the material detail view. In the detail view, a green high-lighted section will also give the specific inhalation hazard produced. Follow on versions will also include marine pollutant information in a similar format.
Expanded transportation codes definitions
The most frequent complaint/request I received from customers has been the incomplete decoding of the Code Of Federal Regulations special provisions, exceptions, bulk and non-bulk quantities, and vessel specific requirements for shipping hazard materials. To be honest I passed on it initially due to the complexity of the CFR passages and I wasn’t sure how to display them in a useful way. I’m not entirely happy with how it turned out, but it is definitely better than it was and I would love to hear feedback from users.
Re-designed emergency response guide section
Ok, the previous version’s ERG section sucked. It was bad. The new version echo’s many of the design elements of the printed version and presents all the information for a section on screen at once. The number of steps to usable information has been reduced drastically and the readability of the information has been improved.
The previous versions had a “Search” tab where you could enter the name or number of a material to look it up. The Search tab is gone in the new version, replaced by a search bar in EVERY list. This means Materials, Placards, Guides, Glossary and Hazard ID Codes are all searchable!
Glossary of terms
Speaking of the glossary, I’ve included the glossary from the back of the Emergency Response Guide! No more wondering/guessing what Hazard Zone B is any more!
Isolation and protective action distances
I added isolation and protective action distances to the last version, but to be honest I wasn’t really happy with how it looked. The new version is much improved with big/small spill toggle ( and a link to the glossary defining what is a big or small spill! ), a day/night toggle, isolation distances and a diagram describing visually how each distance should be used. A planned feature is to integrate Google maps and Location services to allow you to locate the spill on the map and indicate a wind direction. The app will then draw an overlay of isolation and protective action areas, making it that much easier to get people out of harms way! I’m super excited about this. The catch of course is that you will need a GPS-enabled device ( iPhone 3G or 3GS at this time ) and network access.
Four-digit Hazard Identification code list
New in version 3.1 is a list of Hazard Identification codes ( also called “Kemler codes” ) which can also be used to label hazardous material cargos. This feature is still evolving, I would like to provide a connection from the ID codes to an emergency guide. If anyone is aware of a mapping from these codes to ERGs I would love to know about it!
Hazardous Material Contact Phone Numbers
Probably the second most requested feature was the inclusion of contact information from the Emergency Response Guide. There is contact information there for six different countries which can be viewed and added to your Address Book! Ok, I haven’t tested portions of this stringently ( meaning I haven’t attempted to call all of these numbers from the phone ). I am going to reply on customer feedback to get these “right” going forward. I have been able to verify the numbers are current via internet sources, I just chickened out and didn’t call them!
Source material cites with links
In case you are curious about the HazRef 2008 source material, I have provided links to all the source material I used while preparing this new version. If you should happen to find an error or omission in HazRef 2008, please let me know and I will correct as quickly as Apple allows me to!
As you might imagine, I am very proud of this new version and I absolutely cannot wait for this to be approved by Apple and get into customer’s hands.