Perth, Australia, 12 March 2007 – The Fire and Emergency Services Authority of Western Australia (FESA) has selected the EmerGeo GIS suit of applications to undertake a pilot project to support cross-agency emergency management.
The EmerGeo solution is developed by EmerGeo Solutions of Vancouver, Canada using the TatukGIS Developer Kernel and Internet Server products. EmerGeo was implemented at FESA by EmerGeo Solutions Australian partner, Spatial Vision. Besides FESA, the initial SLIP Emergency Management working group includes the Western Australia Police Service and the Department of Environment and Conservation. The emergency managment pilot project commenced in April 2006 and EmerGeo has been in frequent use since that time.
FESA has made a commitment to leverage the State Government’s Shared Land Information Platform (SLIP) to improve the Emergency Management communities’ capability to access and disseminate spatial information for the delivery of emergency services.
The EmerGeo web server (developed from the TatukGIS Internet Server) and Smart-Client (developed from the TatukGIS Developer Kernel) have been configured with the SLIP Emergency Portal to support twenty-three hazard situations potentially experienced in Western Australia (flood, cyclone, bushfire, search and rescue, dam break, road transport emergencies, etc.). This portal is being developed as a common facility across all the government, commercial, and civil lines of business that have a requirement for geospatial data and services.
SLIP represents an exciting new whole government approach to shared information services to facilitate improvement of business processes and systems which use land information. The EmerGeo solution has been used extensively since the initial implementation in April 2006 and feedback from the SLIP Emergency Management project team is that the EmerGeo performance has been excellent and user feedback positive.
Quoting SLIP EM Project Manager Mark Taylor said, “Without the availability and functionality of the EmerGeo product, the SLIP-EM initiative would not have progressed this quickly nor would it have been possible to engage the range of both operational and management personnel that are participating in and supporting the project.”
EmerGeo is an OpenGIS-based system designed to enhance the ability of government and industry emergency planners and responders in the field and operation centers to communicate, coordinate, and collaborate in a secure and effective way. The solution uses both client and server based tools to provide real time spatial information to emergency managers through both browser interfaces and Smart-Clients which can operate in situations where network connectivity is either not available or unreliable; a common situation during disasters.
EmerGeo is often used by first responders in the field to record what is happening on the ground and plan tactical operations such as establishing security perimeters. Field staff can send these updated maps to an emergency operations center via a wireless internet/intranet network when it is available.
The EmerGeo solution supports an optional interface to the highly regarded WebEOC crisis management software provided by ESi (Emergency Services Integrators). WebEOC was the world’s first web-based emergency management communications system and is presently the world’s leading crisis management software, used by many emergency management organizations at the state and local government level, U.S. federal government organizations (e.g., NASA, Department of Energy, Department of Defense, Environmental Protection Agency, and Department of Homeland Security), domestic and international airlines, public utilities, corporations, universities, etc.
The combined WebEOC and EmerGeo solution enables emergency planners and responders to establish a virtual EOC environment with controlled publishing of their incident, resource, critical infrastructure and other data layers overlaid on base map data typically being fed from one of the leading commercial GIS systems – ArcIMS, Geomedia, MapGuide, etc. – via OpenGIS interfaces such as Web Map Services (WMS). The result is true integrated, multi-agency interoperability.
As explained EmerGeo Director Mike Morrow: “We don’t compete with these other commercial GIS products and systems – we leverage the existing map data managed in these systems and give emergency managers the drawing and analysis tools to do their work.” Morrow adds: “Also important, the EmerGeo solution is very intuitive so it can be used by non-technical emergency staff. Simplicity of use is very important in a high stress, disaster situation.”
Regarding the choice of TatukGIS for the GIS technology, Timothy Webb, the EmerGeo Chief Technology Officer, commented: “TatukGIS provides us with powerful client and server based capabilities with a relatively small software and hardware footprint and with licensing models that make sense for emergency management agencies. The royalty-free client license has helped us keep our software license fees low so even the smallest communities affected by disasters can benefit from EmerGeo.”
In addition to the FESA implementation, the EmerGeo solution is running in several emergency operations centers and mobile command posts across North America and Australia, including at the British Columbia Ministry of Forests Fire Center, Brunswick County (North Carolina) Emergency Operations Center, Gold Coast City (Australia) Disaster Coordination Center, Waterloo (Ontario, Canada) Regional Municipality emergency operations center, and City of Vancouver (British Columbia, Canada) emergency operations center.
For more information on WebEOC or EmerGeo emergency management software, visit http://www.emergeo.com