Update November 13, 2017: The URISA Award and the GIS team in partnership with InterDev were recognized by City of Sandy Springs Mayor Rusty Paul at the City Council Meeting on November 7th.
Although the first documented instance of geographic information system (GIS) mapping was in 1832 (a hand-tinted cholera epidemiology map in Paris), GIS as a discipline didn’t really find its footing until the 1960s and 1970s. Even then, it was a much more elementary technology than it is today. Thanks to powerful cloud platforms, sophisticated analysis capabilities, and other modern developments, GIS can now be used not only to “map” just about anything, but also to provide meaningful information in real time for a variety of decision-making activities.
Working with ArcGIS and InterDev developed MosaicGIS™, a secure, cloud-based GIS hosting platform, InterDev team members help cities map everything from light poles to city limits. For most of our municipal clients, we also develop and manage situational awareness GIS mapping solutions which are often deployed in emergency response centers during emergency situations.
Recently, one of our GIS solutions for emergency response was recognized as an Exemplary System—the highest government systems honor bestowed by URISA, a non-profit, international organization dedicated to fostering GIS excellence. The submission was the only one in the Single Process category to be selected for review as Exemplary by the Exemplary Systems in Government (ESIG) Review Committee.
Enhancing Situational Awareness
The award application detailed the use of GIS at the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) of an InterDev municipal client, where it facilitated operations and provided crucial support for emergency responders during an early 2017 winter ice storm. Throughout the event, a GIS map in the City’s EOC was vital to situational awareness. This map displayed field-collected road temperatures, GPS locations of vehicles, and mapped incidents reported through the E911 center and field crews, all in real time. Prior to the development of this solution, road temperature monitoring during winter events had been much less efficient, being achieved with handheld devices and manually reported to the EOC through email, calls and text messages by on-site personnel.
Key components of the solution included a central web map displaying real-time field data collection, accurate reference layers and mobile access to the same map for all parties. The map allows user input of data such as road temperatures and active incidents including uploading of photos, updating statuses and adding notes. After an event, data can be exported for reporting to other agencies and clean-up efforts.
This solution has also proved its value for citizens in Beaufort, South Carolina, for which InterDev also manages city IT and GIS systems. There, the InterDev GIS team created a public version of the central web map during and after Hurricane Irma, keeping citizens and staff informed of active incidents such as downed trees and power lines.