With something as crucial as public safety, guidelines and standards are in place to ensure appropriate emergency responses. The 9-1-1 Association (NENA) sets these standards and continually assesses and evaluates processes around 9-1-1 call handling in emergency communications centers (ECCs) — including technology. Emergency responses are only as good as the data available to make decisions, which is why managing and validating map data in a geographic information system (GIS) is imperative. A well-organized GIS provides ECC staff with the holistic knowledge and insights needed to respond to emergencies quickly. Technology has advanced to provide cloud-based location software solutions using open application programming interfaces (APIs) that integrate with almost any GIS. Other benefits that cloud technology offers ECCs are seamless program updates, the flexibility to scale up or down based on ECC needs, and strong security. With cloud and GIS management, ECCs can be confident in the data they’re receiving.
Read on to learn more about validating and managing GIS data to secure quality map data for more efficient decisions during emergency situations.
Why Should You Validate and Manage Map Data?
Having access to ‘more’ location or situational data is not enough; it is essential to leverage your map data to derive better insights and make informed decisions. Without accurate data, responses could be delayed and resources could be sent to the wrong location, which causes communication professionals to lose confidence in the solutions they use. While you should strive to have more data points to improve accuracy, it is equally essential to have proper data validation and management processes in place. Cloud-based location mapping software produces excellent returns on investment (ROI) by utilizing quality data to generate more confident responses. Cloud-based location intelligence software has the advantage of real-time traffic and weather camera views for the most recent, accurate information when ECC staff make these crucial routing decisions. Moreover, access to the internet of things (IoT) provides multiple extra data point sources to cross-reference, whether from a wearable device or smart home object. Learn about the 4 Stages of Technology in an ECC to determine opportunities for your ECC to capitalize on information sources and location software that are available today. These additional information streams provide valuable data validation as long as ECC software efficiently displays them for easy and fast situational awareness.
For example, to enhance the quality of responses to critical and time-sensitive public safety situations, it is vital to use the available location data to identify the shortest route to the incident location so that emergency vehicles can reach the spot faster. Suppose the information used to determine the shortest route is incorrect, or the emergency personnel cannot decipher what’s on display. If that is the case, the data is not as effective as it needs to be. Actionable location intelligence encompasses four characteristics that take the quantity of data and its display for ECC responders into account. Data can only be reliable and valuable for ECCs when accurate and easily consumable.
Resources for Validating and Managing Map Data
As mentioned above, validating and managing map data should be a priority for ECCs since map data forms the foundation for emergency response decisions. To be completely confident that the map data is accurate, there are several avenues for its verification and management. Many companies have a dedicated GIS department that oversees map data maintenance and analysis. If internal resources cannot be allocated towards an in-house GIS department, third-party vendor options can employ advanced tools for ongoing map maintenance. Third-party GIS vendors can be a valuable asset to your company since they supplement your team and fill in the gaps in your data management. If you need a recommendation for a trusted open-source maps vendor, contact your Comtech representative to get started. Comtech’s vendor-agnostic intelligent location mapping software integrates with almost all GIS data sets. GIS integration capability is a top advantage since it means that you can continue with your current GIS management process (if you already have one in place), or it enables you to work with a variety of vendors of your choosing.
Get Started with Comtech Maps and Map Portal
Comtech offers innovative, feature-rich platforms with capabilities to customize contextual mapping solutions. Complete with robust applications, their powerful technology captures and displays real-time situational data to get actionable insights so emergency situations can be addressed more effectively by ECCs. Comtech's SmartResponse™ provides a user interface that integrates almost any GIS data set to provide emergency personnel the ultimate situational awareness experience. The Map Editor tool allows the user to easily add or modify layers into SmartResponse without the need to touch the base GIS data set. Reach out to our team for help identifying which cloud-based location mapping software options will be compatible with your NENA i3 solution to optimize and advance your ECC.