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In a fire, every second counts, especially when you need to locate the nearest fire hydrant. To assist firefighters, ti&m has joined forces with the building insurer GVZ Gebäudeversicherung Kanton Zürich to develop Switzerland’s first-ever hydrant finder app. It shows smartphone or tablet users the location of the nearest hydrant, the types of connector, and the number of hose lengths needed. This is possible with augmented reality.

Pinpoint accuracy

Locating hidden or overgrown hydrants is no longer a problem. The app is particularly useful in poor light conditions and on complex sites, delivering precise information and buying the fire department valuable time to save people, animals, and infrastructure.

Augmented reality

The hydrant location is displayed via the smartphone or tablet camera. This means hydrants can be located with pinpoint accuracy, even in unfamiliar places. A use case that demonstrates augmented reality’s potential.

60,000+ hydrants

More than 60,000 hydrants in the canton of Zurich are already recorded digitally in the app. If any of the details are incorrect, users can correct them easily with a long click.

“These are exactly the type of innovative technologies that our firefighters need to provide even better protection to our population – for people, animals, and infrastructure – today and in the future.”

– Kurt Steiner - Head fire department GVZ


The needs of app users were fully integrated into each stage of the development from the very outset. For instance, the app was specifically optimized for one-handed operation. Extensive feedback from field tests was incorporated into ongoing refinements. The UX concept was developed as part of a master’s thesis by three students from the HSR University of Applied Sciences Rapperswil. The thesis is available online and provides interesting insights into the application’s UX development.

An innovation from the ti&m garage

The Hydrant Finder app first saw the light of day in the ti&m garage. Firefighters, designers, and developers joined forces to build the first MVP in just a few weeks. The result was so convincing that the app evolved into a market-ready solution in less than a year.