FAQs

Is the WCU Safe app free?

Yes, the app is no cost.

Is the WCU Safe only available to students?

No, the app is available to students, parents, faculty, staff and anyone who wishes to download it via the App Store or Andriod.

Does the WCU Safe app replace WCU Alert?

No, the WCU Safe app is an additional resource to expand safety and security for the campus community.  Learn more about WCU Alert:  wcupa.edu/wcualert/

WCU Safe App - FAQ's

How does the Emergency contact feature work?

There are two Emergency contacts options that are available which can be used on or off campus, at the time that you may need help or assistance. The two options available to choose from are:
    1.“Call 911” when pressed will connect you to the closest 911 center.
    2. “Call Public Safety” when pressed will call West Chester University Police Dispatch Center.

How does the Public Safety Escort feature work?

Public Safety provides a Safe-Walk program, which is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. This walking escort service is provided to students, faculty, and staff from one on-campus location to another. This service does not provide transportation off campus. Contact Public Safety to arrange a safe walk. Press the button and you will be directed to the Dispatch Center; you have the option to stay on the phone with the dispatcher until your destination is complete or you may request an officer to escort you to your destination.

How does the Virtual WalkHome feature work?

The “Virtual WalkHome” feature can ONLY be used on campus. This feature when activated by the user, connects to West Chester University Communication Center, where the dispatcher will acknowledge your request. After the dispatcher acknowledges your request, they will be able to monitor your progress from the start of your walk to the destination point that you have entered. The user then starts their walk towards their destination, while being monitored by dispatch. When they get to their destination, the user indicates that their walk is complete by tapping 'Finish Trip'. If they get into a dangerous situation, they can hit the panic button at any time. This will alert Dispatch to send emergency personnel to their last known location. It will also initiate a call to emergency services.

How does the Virtual WalkHome feature know your location or your destination?

When pressed, the WCU Safe application uses your phones GPS to locate your current location, a map will then show up, and the user will then be able to pick their destination on the map.(Users GPS must be activated and working correctly on the user’s phone for the Virtual WalkHome to function correctly)

How does the Friend Walk feature work?

The Friend Walk feature can be used anywhere on and off campus. The requestor is linking to a friend by phone and not to Public Safety. The Friend Walk module allows users to send their location to a friend. The friend can then monitor the location of the user in real-time until they reach their destination. The friend does not require the safety app, they can monitor the user on any device with a web-browser and Internet access.

How does the Mobile BlueLight work?

Tap the button to simultaneously send your location and call Campus Police Dispatch Center. They will receive your location in real-time and talk to you on the phone. This function will send your device's location services capabilities to Campus Police Dispatch Center and initiate a call to Dispatch.

Location Services Features- FAQ's

Locations Services features on the AppArmor Platform utilize many different sophisticated pieces of technology. This technology is complex and has many variables which can modify accuracy levels and other readings from a smartphone. This document is meant to address some of the most common questions that come up when a location services feature is used.

What are Location Services and How do they work?

Without getting too technical, Location Services is the ability of a smartphone device to determine your location. They are required for numerous apps, such as Google Maps, Uber and more. Incidentally, WCU SAFE app does not track your position unless you request to do so, such as in the case of using a safety walking feature (more on that below).

Location Services is a combination of 3 different services on your smartphone: your GPS connectivity, your cellular connectivity and whether your Wi-Fi is on. These 3 services come together using trilateration (not triangulation, which is different) to determine your location with the highest degree of accuracy, which is about 15-30 feet (5-10 meters).

My Location Reading Wasn’t Very Accurate Inside – Why?

As mentioned in the previous answer, location services are dependent on GPS capabilities, Wi-Fi being “on” and cellular connectivity. When a user is indoors, location readings from all the services, but particularly Wi-Fi, become less accurate as the signal is literally bumping into walls, pipes, floors etc. This skews the reading, making it less accurate.

Simply: Location services work better outside.

Tell me more about GPS – How Exactly Does it Work?

That’s a big question. Essentially, satellites are constantly relaying information down to your smartphone. When there are more satellites available, it becomes more accurate. Here’s a handy video on how it works in very specific details

Am I Always Being Tracked by Location Services?

No. You are only giving your position to the administrators of your AppArmor system when you (the enduser) request to do so. So, for instance if you decide to tap the button which sends your location to the Communication Center, then the app will do so. Otherwise you are not being tracked.

My Smartphone Thinks I’m a lot further away - Why?

When you first access a location services feature, the app will try to get the most accurate reading possible. However, due to the numerous possible environmental and user-preference factors, the readings maybe be inaccurate at first. After the initial reading, the app will constantly attempt to improve the accuracy of the reading. That is, as time goes on the reading will be more accurate. However, if you enter an area with limited connection (such as a building) the reading may become less accurate as environmental factors have changed. The important takeaway here is this: the smartphone and the app are always trying to get the most accurate reading possible.

For Dispatchers: Why is The User’s Location is “Jumping” Across the Location Map?

Again, this is the smartphone trying to get the most accurate reading for that user’s location. As environmental conditions change, the accuracy will improve and worsen depending on those conditions. Give the user time to return to a location of better connection or (when applicable) give them a call to notify them that you’re not sure of their current position.

Ultimately, we’d all love if location services were always 100% accurate. The reality though is that while the app and the smartphone are attempting to get the reading to its most accurate level of 15-30 feet (5-10 meters), there are numerous environmental and user-preference factors which an affect the reading.

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