ESRI’s GIS solutions are powering a new customer service application at the Government of Hong Kong SAR’s Environmental Protection Department. The Pollution Complaint Management Module (PCMM) was awarded one of the prestigious Special Achievement in GIS (SAG) Awards at the 23rd Annual ESRI International Users Conference held in July 2003 in San Diego, USA. SAG Awards are presented to organisations that have embraced GIS in their work practices and are setting new precedents in the application of technology for the betterment of the environment and society. The PCMM greatly improves the way in which the Environmental Protection Department (EPD) records, traces and responds to pollution complaints reported by the public. EPD is responsible for formulation and implementation of plans to improve and safeguard the environment in Hong Kong. Part of this involves investigating and responding to the roughly 25,000 pollution related complaints that are received each year.
PCMM provides all Pollution Complaint hotline staff with access to a central GIS database of complaints. Hotline staff can easily identify the exact location of a complaint by referencing relevant digital maps as soon as a call is received. This also allows incident reports in the vicinity to be quickly retrieved helping to identify whether the incident has already been reported, as well as highlighting any nearby facilities (water intakes, gas plants, hospitals, schools plus other environmentally sensitive areas) that may need to be taken into consideration in the response. The system provides customised entry forms to facilitate geo-coding of incidents and input of related details. After entry, the PCMM automatically circulates the incident report to staff responsible for follow up action and provides tools to input investigation results and status. As data is stored in a central database accessible from every EPD Local Control Office, hotline staff provide the public with up-to-the-minute feedback on the status of any inquiry. The system also generates ad hoc and routine reports analysing the spatial distribution of pollution incidents and effectiveness of EPD’s response to them. These help to inform proactive pollution control and resource allocation measures undertaken by the Department. The system improves the efficiency and speed with which EPD can handle pollution complaint calls and provide information to the public.