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May 1, 2008

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The last job for Ordia Solutions involved protecting none other than the Pope, so obviously the Vienna-based start up is no longer living on a prayer (sorry about that song reference, our writer’s last job was in New Jersey). We met CEO Joe Ordia for lunch at McCormick & Schmick’s in Tysons yesterday to hear how his company’s GPS-based tracking software was used by the Metro PD and FEMA to protect His Holiness during his visit two weeks ago.


Chief engineer for the Army’s Command Post of the Future program back in 2001, when he was at General Dynamics, Joe helped develop software for Army leaders to track troops using GPS. “Before, troops radioed their position, but that’s not always exact and it was slow,” Joe says. “We created a way to watch location in real time, making decision-making faster and more efficient.” Figuring a similar system would work for city police departments, too, Joe launched his own company in 2005.


Here’s a screen grab from the Pope’s visit. Joe tells us the Pontiff wasn’t wearing a GPS locator, but several key personnel near him were. Law enforcement officials kept track of Benedict XVI’s location and made sure officers along the route were in the proper locations. Joe says the Dallas PD used the software during their St. Patrick’s Day celebration. “There were 100,000 people there—all wearing green,” he says. “It was difficult to see the officers in the crowd, but officials knew their location at all times.”


Joe tells us that the Metro PD used the software during the last State of the Union address. Other cities have used the software as well, including Pittsburgh and Baltimore. The 13-person company is now working on software to pinpoint first responders. “If a firefighter is hurt, you want to know what floor he’s on, not just the address of the fire,” Joe says. When he’s not running a company, the 27-year-old bachelor is actually running—as in marathons. He ran Chicago and Richmond last year and is returning to the Windy City race again in October. But he doesn’t need a GPS; we assume we’ll find him at the front.

David Stegon is Bisnow's tech guru. He loves to hear compliments, complaints (not really), and story ideas, so call him with any of the above at 703-674-7718 or shoot an email to David@Bisnow.com



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