COLUMBUS, OHIO – Williams County, Ohio, has completed its Geographical Information Systems (GIS) puzzle, thanks to a comprehensive software solution courtesy of Digital Data Technologies, Inc., (DDTI®).
“Whether they realize it, Ohio residents are lucky to be in a state where GIS is a priority for our government officials,” said DDTI President Ron Cramer. “Ohio is more than halfway to a statewide GIS thanks to the Location Based Response System (LBRS), which will in turn provide endless benefits to our residents, from increased funding opportunities that will help keep roads safer to more reliable 9-1-1 services and more.”
DDTI delivered Williams County’s completed LBRS dataset last fall. The LBRS, administered by the Ohio Geographically Referenced Information Program (OGRIP), establishes partnerships between State and County government for the creation of spatially accurate street centerlines and field verified site-specific address locations. OGRIP is the state’s coordinating body for Geographic Information System (GIS) activities.
“Our county’s LBRS project really originated from the 9-1-1 perspective,” said Williams County 9-1-1 Director Ron Walker. “We had an existing GIS, but we wanted to enhance our public safety services that we provide our residents by having a field-verified map of our county.”
The northwestern-most Ohio County’s project entailed 1,218 miles of centerline and 18,056 addresses, according to DDTI Project Coordinator David Cordray. Included in the field verification process, DDTI captured the complex addressing systems of individual units within mobile home parks and apartment communities. Other DDTI clients’ datasets have included the field verification of residence halls on college campuses, large condominium complexes and strip malls.
“All of our base mapping clients, since completing the initial LBRS pilot project in Fairfield County, have received reimbursement funds and been accepted by the State of Ohio as conforming to the LBRS specifications,” Cramer said. “Even the State of Ohio’s specifications remain a subset of our standard deliverables. DDTI provides information above and beyond what is required, and our clients have definitely enjoyed that maximum return on their investment.”
Such additional information includes the location of assets like one-way restrictions, fire hydrants, bridges and culverts, traffic controls, signs and signals, railroad crossings, speed limits and school zones, all features which can enhance emergency response vehicle routing. DDTI imported these features to the Williams County Sheriff’s Office installation of its AccuGlobe E9-1-1 Dispatch and Mobile software.
With its associated server component, AccuGlobe E9-1-1 Dispatch automatically displays calls to 9 1 1 on Williams County’s GIS map. The Dispatch software also offers optional, more enhanced features like automatic vehicle location (AVL) to enhance dispatchers’ abilities to make quick judgment calls. The AVL function was designed to aid Public Safety Answering Points (PSAPs) in virtually locating their units and efficiently dispatching distress calls without the need for verbal radio communication.
AccuGlobe E9-1-1 Mobile, installed in officers’ vehicles, offers the functionality of the dispatch environment console, but with a design formatted specifically for field use in mobile data terminals (MDTs). Mobile-friendly features include large, touch-screen buttons for navigation, and optional audible routing directions allowing the officer’s eyes to stay on the road and not on the computer monitor.
AccuGlobe E9-1-1 mapping software functions as a stand-alone product, or integrates with an agency’s existing Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD). Regardless of the configuration, accurate data is critical for 9-1-1, as well as any other government agency related work. Enter DDTI’s Data Explorer service. Data Explorer is a desktop application that offers more flexibility for customization and updating than a web-based program. It incorporates Williams County’s GIS and full Computer Assisted Mass Appraisal (CAMA) data into one resource.
Data Explorer provides customized integration and viewing of agencies’ databases in a GIS environment. It has an unlimited installation license and allows clients to disseminate data in a customized viewer to many users, eliminating the common problems associated with multi-departmental data sharing. With Data Explorer, users can access the same data, every time, regardless of how many other people have used it – a solution countless governmental agencies would enjoy.
Access to quality data isn’t restricted to employees. Because DDTI hosts Nester’s web site, the same CAMA and GIS data is available for the public, too.
“We just completed an upgrade of our AccuGlobe Online Auditor™ solution and added new graphics and functionality to it that really improve the user friendliness for end users to access the data when and how they want,” said DDTI Web Developer Kelly Menzel. “Users can search by parcel, owner and street address, and we’ve also gotten positive feedback from financial institutions and realtors who have found home sales figures useful.”
Along the same vein as property values, Williams County’s ability to calculate Current Agricultural Use Values (CAUV) is now easier and more accurate with DDTI’s Farmland Calculator™ product. CAUV is Ohio’s differential real estate tax assessment program that sets the value of farmland on its ability to produce income rather than full market value. In order to determine this value, GIS professionals have to combine a county’s CAMA data with parcels, soil layers and land use layers, resulting in a time-consuming and often fallible formula.
Conversely, in a series of automated processes, Farmland Calculator combines those factors to offer a much faster, more reliable CAUV. Agencies can even set sensitivity parameters, so parcels with drastic changes after calculation can be flagged for manual inspection.
“We’ve heard from clients who said the thousands of parcels they ran through Farmland Calculator in a day would have otherwise taken weeks or months,” Cramer said. “This tool, along with our other solutions, is a way for DDTI to bring GIS to the masses – our solutions are easy to use, and you don’t have to be an expert. It’s all about offering the right tools.”