Contents. Volume 18 No Journal of the Urban and Regional Information Systems Association

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1 Volume 18 No Journal of the Urban and Regional Information Systems Association Contents Refereed 5 Foreword Dr. Gary Hunter - Guest Editor 7 Pierce County, Washington Pierce County Responder System (2000 Enterprise System) 15 Sacramento County, California WebGIS (2004 Enterprise System) 21 South Florida Water Management District The Lake Okeechobee Stage-Area-Capacity Lookup Application (2004 Single Process) 25 Tallahassee Leon County, Florida Topographic Partnering Group/LIDAR Project (2003 Single Process) 29 Victoria, Australia Vicmap Topographic 1:30,000 On Line (2004 Enterprise System) 35 Washoe County, Nevada Washoe County Map Warehouse (2004 Single Process) 39 City of Brampton, Ontario, Canada Enabling the Enterprise Brampton s Web-Based GIS Solution (2005 Enterprise System) 49 Clayton County (Georgia) Water Authority GIS System (2005 Enterprise System) 55 Commonwealth of Massachusetts MassGIS Web Mapping Services (2005 Enterprise System) 63 Baltimore City, Maryland U-View (2005 Single Process) On the Cover: The Exemplary Systems in Government (ESIG) Award, inaugurated in 1980 by the Urban and Regional Information Systems Association, recognizes extraordinary achievement by government agencies in the use of automated information systems. This achievement is defined as the effective application of computer technology that can be measured in terms of improved government services and increased benefits to citizens. The award competition is open to all public agencies at the federal, state/provincial, regional and local levels. This issue showcases some of the most notable submissions from the past five years. This is part two of the URISA Journal Special Issue set highlighting exemplary systems. Each application has been edited, reviewed, and updated by the agency to capture achievements made since the award was bestowed. This issue will recognize past ESIG winners from Washington, California, Florida, Australia, Nevada, Ontario, Georgia, Massachusetts, and Maryland.

2 Journal Publisher: Editor-in-Chief: Guest Editor: Guest Contributor: Guest Contributor: Journal Coordinator: Electronic Journal: Urban and Regional Information Systems Association Stephen J. Ventura Dr. Gary Hunter Corrie Stokes Ken Sipos Scott A. Grams EDITORIAL OFFICE: Urban and Regional Information Systems Association, 1460 Renaissance Drive, Suite 305, Park Ridge, Illinois ; Voice (847) ; Fax (847) ; SUBMISSIONS: This publication accepts from authors an exclusive right of first publication to their article plus an accompanying grant of nonexclusive full rights. The publisher requires that full credit for first publication in the URISA Journal is provided in any subsequent electronic or print publications. For more information, the Manuscript Submission Guidelines for Refereed Articles is available on our website, org, or by calling (847) SUBSCRIPTION AND ADVERTISING: All correspondence about advertising, subscriptions, and URISA memberships should be directed to: Urban and Regional Information Systems Association, 1460 Renaissance Dr., Suite 305, Park Ridge, Illinois, ; Voice (847) ; Fax (847) ; URISA Journal is published two times a year by the Urban and Regional Information Systems Association by the Urban and Regional Information Systems Association. Authorization to photocopy items for internal or personal use, or the internal or personal use of specific clients, is granted by permission of the Urban and Regional Information Systems Association. Educational programs planned and presented by URISA provide attendees with relevant and rewarding continuing education experience. However, neither the content (whether written or oral) of any course, seminar, or other presentation, nor the use of a specific product in conjunction therewith, nor the exhibition of any materials by any party coincident with the educational event, should be construed as indicating endorsement or approval of the views presented, the products used, or the materials exhibited by URISA, or by its committees, Special Interest Groups, Chapters, or other commissions. SUBSCRIPTION RATE: One year: $295 business, libraries, government agencies, and public institutions. Individuals interested in subscriptions should contact URISA for membership information. US ISSN URISA Journal Vol. 18, No

3 Editors and Review Board URISA Journal Editor Editor-in-Chief Stephen J. Ventura, Department of Environmental Studies and Soil Science, University of Wisconsin-Madison Thematic Editors Editor-Urban and Regional Information Science Vacant Editor-Applications Research Lyna Wiggins, Department of Planning, Rutgers University Editor-Social, Organizational, Legal, and Economic Sciences Ian Masser, Department of Urban Planning and Management, ITC (Netherlands) Editor-Geographic Information Science Mark Harrower, Department of Geography, University of Wisconsin Madison Editor-Information and Media Sciences Michael Shiffer, Department of Planning, Massachusetts Institute of Technology Editor-Spatial Data Acquisition and Integration Gary Hunter, Department of Geomatics, University of Melbourne (Australia) Editor-Geography, Cartography, and Cognitive Science Vacant Editor-Education Karen Kemp, Director, International Masters Program in GIS, University of Redlands Section Editors Software Review Editor Jay Lee, Department of Geography, Kent State University Book Review Editor David Tulloch, Department of Landscape Architecture, Rutgers University URISA Journal Vol. 18, No Article Review Board Peggy Agouris, Department of Spatial Information Science and Engineering, University of Maine Grenville Barnes, Geomatics Program, University of Florida Michael Batty, Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis, University College London (United Kingdom) Kate Beard, Department of Spatial Information Science and Engineering, University of Maine Yvan Bédard, Centre for Research in Geomatics, Laval University (Canada) Barbara P. Buttenfield, Department of Geography, University of Colorado Keith C. Clarke, Department of Geography, University of California-Santa Barbara David Coleman, Department of Geodesy and Geomatics Engineering, University of New Brunswick (Canada) David J. Cowen, Department of Geography, University of South Carolina Massimo Craglia, Department of Town & Regional Planning, University of Sheffield (United Kingdom) William J. Craig, Center for Urban and Regional Affairs, University of Minnesota Robert G. Cromley, Department of Geography, University of Connecticut Kenneth J. Dueker, Urban Studies and Planning, Portland State University Geoffrey Dutton, Spatial Effects Max J. Egenhofer, Department of Spatial Information Science and Engineering, University of Maine Manfred Ehlers, Research Center for Geoinformatics and Remote Sensing, University of Osnabrueck (Germany) Manfred M. Fischer, Economics, Geography & Geoinformatics, Vienna University of Economics and Business Administration (Austria) Myke Gluck, Department of Math and Computer Science, Virginia Military Institute Michael Goodchild, Department of Geography, University of California-Santa Barbara Michael Gould, Department of Information Systems Universitat Jaume I (Spain) Daniel A. Griffith, Department of Geography, Syracuse University Francis J. Harvey, Department of Geography, University of Minnesota Kingsley E. Haynes, Public Policy and Geography, George Mason University Eric J. Heikkila, School of Policy, Planning, and Development, University of Southern California Stephen C. Hirtle, Department of Information Science and Telecommunications, University of Pittsburgh Gary Jeffress, Department of Geographical Information Science, Texas A&M University- Corpus Christi Richard E. Klosterman, Department of Geography and Planning, University of Akron Robert Laurini, Claude Bernard University of Lyon (France) Thomas M. Lillesand, Environmental Remote Sensing Center, University of Wisconsin- Madison Paul Longley, Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis, University College, London (United Kingdom) Xavier R. Lopez, Oracle Corporation David Maguire, Environmental Systems Research Institute Harvey J. Miller, Department of Geography, University of Utah Zorica Nedovic-Budic, Department of Urban and Regional Planning,University of Illinois- Champaign/Urbana Atsuyuki Okabe, Department of Urban Engineering, University of Tokyo (Japan) Harlan Onsrud, Spatial Information Science and Engineering, University of Maine Jeffrey K. Pinto, School of Business, Penn State Erie Gerard Rushton, Department of Geography, University of Iowa Jie Shan, School of Civil Engineering, Purdue University Bruce D. Spear, Federal Highway Administration Jonathan Sperling, Policy Development & Research, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development David J. Unwin, School of Geography, Birkbeck College, London (United Kingdom) Nancy von Meyer, Fairview Industries Barry Wellar, Department of Geography, University of Ottawa (Canada) Michael F. Worboys, Department of Computer Science, Keele University (United Kingdom) F. Benjamin Zhan, Department of Geography, Texas State University-San Marcos

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5 Foreword This is the second issue of the Journal in which recent winners of the URISA Exemplary Systems in Government (ESIG) Award are showcased as success stories in GIS. As before, the managers of the systems concerned were contacted and asked if they could rework their original ESIG applications into short journal articles, and also provide an update on their latest system developments. In this issue, previous ESIG prize winning systems from Washington, California, Florida, Victoria (Australia) and Nevada, plus 2005 winners from Ontario (Canada), Georgia, Massachusetts, and Maryland are presented for the benefit of Journal readers. To begin, the Pierce County (Washington) Responder System was established for use by law enforcement, fire, medical and emergency management personnel when responding to acts of school violence. Over 60 agencies use the system and many other jurisdictions are taking note of its success with Pierce County transferring the web-based system to other government entities as a courtesy to avoid duplication of effort and resources. The system includes school building information, key contacts, utilities information, floor plans, site maps and images, videos and pictures of hallways and entrances, incident plans, situation reports to manage an incident, the facility to communicate school actions to responders, and a simple interface so responders can enter on-the-spot school and incident data. Since September 11, 2001, the system has been enhanced to allow other public building information to be added to the database, and in effect it has now been cloned for terrorism response purposes. Next, the Sacramento County (California) WebGIS was implemented to provide consistent, accurate and up-to-date information in a timely manner to its personnel. In particular, the web has now put GIS on the desktops of county staff, and the system s applications are logging approximately 40,000 queries a month. WebGIS is structured into a series of easy to use viewing applications such as the Parcel Viewer, General Map Viewer, Easement Viewer and Transportation Viewer. Importantly, dataset owners still continue to maintain their data on their own servers, and users are secure in the knowledge that what they are seeing is coming direct from each custodian s database. The Lake Okeechobee Stage-Area-Capacity Lookup Application, in the South Florida Water Management District, is an interactive and dynamic web GIS application that shows historical, current or hypothetical conditions for Lake Okeechobee to the many agencies and users that have an impact upon it. The regularly updated archive of lake information allows users of the system to playback changes within the lake over time a feature that was much needed during the water shortage of In effect the system has increased the information user base by over a thousand times without increasing the resource demands upon officials, and already the system is being adapted to cover other important lakes. The Tallahassee-Leon County (Florida) Topographic Partnering Group LIDAR Project, was initially formed to assess whether LIDAR technology would be suitable for updating contour data to the required accuracy of a wide variety of county users a critical factor in a jurisdiction where more than 60% is covered by dense tree canopy. After the initial LIDAR trials showed its feasibility, a cooperative funding arrangement was essential to achieve full county coverage since the expected costs of a complete LIDAR project were high. In the end, not only did the LIDAR survey meet the contouring accuracy demands of all participants, but it also showed fine detail that had never been mapped before, and had the added benefit of improved agency interaction and cooperation. The Victoria, Australia, VicMap Topographic 1:30,000 application delivers a standard A4-sized topographic map of anywhere in Victoria as a PDF file via the web. The maps depict traditional topographic features such as roads, contours, rivers, lakes, built-up areas, towers, vegetation and spot heights. Clients also receive an information sheet containing important metadata, and each map is directly compiled from the most upto-date digital data available. At a cost of a few dollars each and URISA Journal Vol. 18, No

6 a file size usually less than 1 Mb, immediate delivery is available around-the-clock without the need for . This has meant that the topographic map update program for the state (which would have cost $24 million for a new complete coverage), can now be implemented in a far less costly manner by not having to print thousands of copies of each map for future sale and distribution purposes. The Washoe County (Nevada) Map Warehouse in Nevada had the motivation for its development in 1997 when a major river flooded and affected two counties highlighting many problems with current data sets and aerial photography. Over the next 5 years $1.5 million was spent developing key digital data sets and the County GIS. In turn this led to the Map Warehouse concept and, by using the system s easy-to-use gateway, inexperienced users can now easily access and display county data from more that 60 spatial data sets through one interface. This allows them to print maps and download pre-made PDF or TIFF files with the result that the site receives several thousand hits per week and is used by many organizations and agencies as the authoritative source for county data. Moving onto the 2005 ESIG winners, the development of web based GIS has improved to such an extent that the City of Brampton in Ontario, Canada, had its system up and running in only 30 days! Containing more than 420 layers of spatial information and over 4,400 tabular fields, the system was designed to overcome typical problems experienced by municipal governments such as providing easily accessible, accurate and up to date information internally and to other agencies, as well as making information available to the public anytime, anywhere. The system serves a wide range of clients and already previously unidentified agencies within the city administration have become strong clients and supporters of the new web application. Externally, publicdomain clients have even asked if they can pay to gain access to certain datasets a nice request for any GIS administrator to be able to report at monthly management meetings. Elsewhere, the Clayton County Water Authority in Georgia had to start from the ground up in constructing its GIS. Faced with replacing a system of pushpin wall maps and hardcopy plans with update delays of 2-3 years, the Water Authority has implemented a system over the past 6 years that now boasts 24 hour update times and an eightfold reduction in personnel managing the map base. In addition, accessing sewer connection information for clients has been reduced from taking 2-4 staff an hour to assemble, to one person producing the information in a few seconds and importantly, new technological components (e.g. wireless technology) are only added to the system based on their return on investment and value to the organization. The Commonwealth of Massachusetts MassGIS web mapping service serves the needs of 14 government agencies. In 2005, over 1,500,000 map requests were made at an average of over 4,300 per day. A color orthophoto base layer has now been added to the system, and not only does it support customized map-making but also on-line spatial queries. Importantly, participating agencies do not need to purchase, install and maintain their own software and hardware, nor do they have to run expensive training courses for staff as the webgis facility is quite easy for newcomers to learn to use. Furthermore the OpenGIS XML language used for system development overcomes barriers posed by the use of proprietary software platforms. Finally, the Baltimore City (Maryland) U-view system is designed to provide utility-related geographic information to maintenance crews, engineers, designers, consultants, contractors and the public via the web. In addition to the usual utility map layers, the system provides access to over 250,000 imaged documents to support internal and external client query responses and decision making. An important benefit achieved was the improvement in staff morale, coupled with the identification of internal users who were making the most of the new system as power users. They would become the in-house experts used to train non-experts in the system. Dr. Gary Hunter Guest Editor University of Melbourne Melbourne, Australia URISA Journal Vol. 18, No

7 Pierce County, Washington Pierce County Responder System (2000 Enterprise System) System Summary The Pierce Responder System qualifies as an exemplary enterprise system because it is used by law enforcement, fire, medical, and emergency-management personnel when responding to an act of school violence, which is the nation s number one issue in public schools. The escalation of school violence has created the need for expanded school emergency preparedness and a better coordinated emergency response. As school administrators take steps to prevent violence, several questions still need to be addressed: How do schools inform responders of their emergency procedures and evacuation plans? Where do responders obtain accurate information on school contacts, utilities, shutoffs, and floor plans to act safely and efficiently? How can multiple responding agencies coordinate and expedite staff, resources, and actions in the most organized manner? How can all school personnel and responders remain informed of the incident and plans? How can casualties and property destruction be limited and school safety be improved for 75 junior/senior high schools and 122 elementary schools in Pierce County? The Pierce Responder System answers these questions and increases student safety by: 1. Displaying the key information needed for emergency management including school emergency plans, school contacts, utility shutoff, building characteristics, area maps, floor plans, and digital images of interior and exterior spaces. 2. Providing interactive tools to develop Incident Action Plans, Situation Reports, Organization Charts, and Communications Reports. These allow responders to view the most current information status on the incident from on-site, en route, or office locations. The accomplishments of this exemplary government system are related to ease of use and the actual utilization of the Pierce Responder System for school emergencies. More than 60 organizations and agencies use the system in Pierce County and many jurisdictions in the Puget Sound area are planning on future implementation. Pierce Responder s ease of use starts with the Web-based application, which uses a central database to store information. When designing the system, the project team interviewed emergency response and school officials to ensure the correct data was captured and that the user interface was carefully planned for casual users. Even though many of the personnel were not experienced information system users, the emergency-management staff taught fire, law enforcement, and school personnel the database loading and operation of the full system in two hours! Many officers commented that the intuitive interface was simple to learn and use, and that is critical during an emergency requiring assistance from neighboring jurisdictions The Pierce Responder System was tested during a simulated school emergency and was recently used for a school violence incident. A student brought a live hand grenade to Mount Tahoma High School. Officials evacuated the school and police and fire responders used the system to view floor plans as well as to access information before sending bomb technicians into the school. The benefits of the Pierce Responder System are immeasurable when lives are at risk. The costs to implement the system are low. Pierce County nominated this system for the URISA ESIG award because this model can benefit any jurisdictions across the country and dramatically improve safety in our communities. URISA Journal Pierce County, Washington

8 Motivation for System Development According to national polls, the number one issue in public schools is student safety. Many schools are taking preventive measures against violence by establishing policies, increasing student awareness, and hiring School Resource Officers. These measures identify and prevent actions but many parents still worry, Will my children be safe if something does occur? Will they know where to go and how will they be protected? Even before the Columbine tragedy, Pierce County s Department of Emergency Management was building the foundation for a new approach to school safety. In reviewing incidents that have occurred in other parts of the country (Arkansas and Ohio) as well as locally (Moses Lake, Washington, and Springfield, Oregon), it became clear that the emergency response was severely impacted by issues of organization, coordination, and communication. The reoccurring theme in talking to the public safety community was one of ifs if we only had better information about the school, if only we had used a common incident command system, if only we had communicated before the event in a joint planning mode. To overcome these issues, Pierce County s school violence Preparedness Program addresses the key information needs of law enforcement, fire, emergency, medical, and school personnel with: 1. The Pierce Responder System, an interactive, online Webbased school information system. 2. Community partnership building between response agencies and schools. The motivation for developing the Pierce Responder System was to enable responders (from any responding agency or jurisdiction) to see critical school information, coordinate tactical actions between agencies, and communicate status during a school emergency. In July of 1999, with the system prototype completed, Pierce County s Department of Emergency Management sponsored a trip to Littleton, Colorado, where they met with the local officials who responded to the tragic shooting at Columbine High School. This visit provided information to fine-tune the Pierce Responder System and verified the critical and strategic importance of the system. Since the visit, Littleton Fire Department has implemented a system similar to the Pierce Responder System for its schools. System Benefits Achieved The Pierce Responder System has achieved the primary benefit of improving student safety. Many other benefits are listed in this document. In addition to the expected, several significant unexpected benefits have occurred. The first unexpected benefit occurred early in planning for the system. Building a common database takes cooperation from all agencies and jurisdictions and, sometimes, politics and old history keep groups from working effectively together. Implementing the Pierce Responder System inspired agencies to collaborate as everyone worked together to build the school database as quickly as possible. The system s practicality and ease of use created an urgency to gather the information and make it available. The second unexpected benefit came in November of 1999 as Y2K planning was reaching a high point. The county s major concern was not about computers but about social reactions. At this time, an Algerian citizen was caught smuggling explosives at a border crossing less than 100 miles away. Immediately, law enforcement was concerned about attacks on government buildings and banks in the county. The Pierce Responder System was quickly modified to allow the entry and display of information for nonschool buildings. The third unexpected benefit has been the tremendous interest in the system expressed by other counties and jurisdictions. Pierce Responder solves many student safety issues faced by all emergency-response agencies. Because the system can easily be implemented (Web-based, wireless, and database-driven), it is a cost-effective solution. A fourth unexpected use and benefit of the Pierce Responder System was evident during a planning incident response for a large protest demonstration. A local high school was selected as an operations base for law enforcement personnel from Pierce County and surrounding jurisdictions. The system was used to view floor plans, area maps, and building information to plan staging, sleeping, and command areas. This information can be shared with the responding agencies via wireless network in their patrol vehicles to improve communication and coordination for the responders. The most significant and unexpected benefit occurred in the first year of deployment. A student brought a live hand grenade to Mount Tahoma High School. The 11 PM news reported the incident, stating that the school and emergency personnel had been working together to prepare for such an unexpected event. Bomb technicians used the Pierce Responder System to review the floor plans, maps, and utilities before responders entered the school. System Design Issues Encountered and Overcome The Pierce Responder System design requirements presented several unique challenges. The system architecture had to support a large number of users both in the office (networked) and in the field (remote). The school database development (75 senior/junior high schools with 3 to 15 buildings per school) was a large effort that required precise and accurate information. Access to a Current Database by All Users Initially, the project team considered storing and retrieving the school data on CDs. After reviewing the data volume for each school and outlining the maintenance and logistical problems of supplying CDs to 30 fire stations across the county, this approach was abandoned. The Pierce County Geographic Information Systems (GIS) URISA Journal Vol. 18, No

9 department built Web-based applications including a system to view crime data and maps across wireless modems. The decision was made to use Web technology for Pierce Responder that would enable rapid deployment to a large number of users, access to a single, secure database source, and low cost implementation. The Internet Web solution did have one drawback: security. Extra programming was performed to develop ways to secure the database and application from any unauthorized personnel. Building the Large School Database Quickly, Efficiently, and Accurately The largest design and implementation concern was how to input all the needed school information (for each school building) into a database in the shortest time possible. The county did not have resources to hire additional staff but relied on the fire, school facilities staff, and school resource officers to enter the data, thus allowing the task to be distributed to a large number of knowledgeable people. The Pierce Responder System was expanded to include a Web-based, secured, and authorized data-entry system that was simple to use. Each user of the system is assigned a log-in and password with specific privileges such as editing data. When a user makes an edit to a database record, the changes are stored in the list of changes page. The changes are added to the system only after the administrator views and accepts the information. Once accepted, the change is available to all users on the system. The administrator also has the option to revert to original values or accept changes that were originally rejected. The ability of the administrator to control entries into the database is not only a security feature but also helps standardize the database information. With many staff members entering data at the same time, this feature makes it impossible for two people to update the same field unknowingly. The administrator s validation step ensures that each database record is checked before being accepted into the database. Because the process is automated in Pierce Responder, this administration task is not time-consuming and solved the database construction problem by enabling a large number of staff to work in a Web environment to enter data. Access to School Data and Incident Plans from Anywhere The Columbine incident clearly showed that large numbers of personnel (fire, law enforcement, medical, emergency-management, federal) from multiple jurisdictions can be called on to assist in an emergency. Providing information to all these agencies across many types of networks would be impossible or cost-prohibitive and would not address the needs of responders at the incident. Because Pierce Responder is Web-based, the latest wireless data modems can be used. This allows any responder with a laptop and wireless access to the system (for situation reports, action plans, floor plans, maps, and images). This approach also saves time and confusion as responders can view Situation Reports from URISA Journal Pierce County, Washington their cars or offices and arrive on the scene prepared. During the Columbine incident, 100 officers self-dispatched and clogged the surrounding streets, making it difficult to get medical teams to the site. The Pierce Responder System was developed for, and fully tested in, the wireless (19.2 bps) environment. What Differentiates This System from Other Similar Systems Currently, no comparable systems to Pierce Responder for school violence preparedness exist. Some fire departments keep floor plans on CDs, law enforcement agencies have static Web pages, and schools keep their emergency plans in binders in their offices. Nowhere has an interactive database and Web-based application been developed that incorporates: Detailed descriptive information about the school building, contacts, and utilities Floor plans of each building Maps and images of the school and surrounding area Pictures and videos of entrances and hallways Incident Action Plans, Situation Reports, and Communications Plans to manage an incident Individual school emergency plans to communciate school actions to responders Simple user interface so responders can easily enter school and incident data Enhancement to allow other public buildings to be added to the database Historically, no close working relationships between schools and public safety agencies have existed. Building partnerships between responding agencies and schools required holding meetings at the schools to walk through the facilities and identify hazards, observation sites, and evacuation routes. In many instances, team members didn't know one another prior to being brought together for the Pierce Responder planning effort. The universal acceptance of the Pierce Responder System differentiates it from others. There has been support from all emergency-response agencies and organizations in Pierce County that includes: Pierce County Sheriff and Emergency Management Twenty-one (21) city police agencies Law Enforcement Support Agency for Tacoma-Pierce County Ten (10) fire dispatch agencies Twenty-six (26) fire districts Washington State Patrol Fifteen (15) school districts This opportunity to plan and prepare for disasters greatly enhances the effectiveness of emergency operations. By building interpersonal relationships between responding agencies and schools and providing emergency response persons with critical information needed to protect the students and themselves, the

10 Pierce Responder System is crucial for making strategic decisions and preventing further casualties and destruction. System Hardware, Software, and Data Hardware: Fortunately for users of the Pierce Responder System, the hardware components are very simple. Users need only a browser on their PC to view the system (assuming responders using the system have a Pentium-based PC). The following chart summarizes the hardware components. Costs are for estimating purposes only and jurisdictions may have existing hardware that can be used or may be able to purchase hardware at a discounted rate. The hardware listed in the table is what Pierce County has in operation for the Pierce Responder System. Note: This is for one server. Systems operation personnel recommend having an additional redundant server for critical mission applications. Software: The Pierce Responder System can be implemented at relatively low cost. The work of deciding what information to display about schools is completed and the database is built. As a result, agencies need only to complete and enter data into the forms for each school. The floor plans and digital pictures are easily entered into the system. The following chart lists the core software needed on the central server to support Pierce Responder. The Pierce Responder System can easily be implemented with technical staff who are familiar with relational databases and NT servers. The system is built with the previously mentioned commercial software and is delivered with a database ready for data entry. Data: The Pierce Responder System uses relational database technology via an SQL Server database. Cold Fusion software connects the database with the application. Any relational database can be used with only minor changes to the software system. Where Are We Now?/Future Directions When Pierce County won the 2000 Enterprise System ESIG award, the use of technology for emergency responders was just beginning. The Pierce Responder System showcased the concepts and benefits of Web-based applications, wireless communications, and GIS for emergency response. Driven by rising incidents of shootings at schools, the Pierce Responder System was designed to allow easy access to details about school facilities, scanned floor plan images, and maps. Through a creative business plan, the system is now being deployed throughout the State of Washington and around the United States. One of the largest changes in the past five short years is the change in focus from schools to terrorism. Pierce County has adapted the Responder System for terrorism preparedness. The state-of-the-art concepts, ideas, and designs developed for school safety in the Pierce Responder System are now being repeated in information systems designed homeland security initiatives. URISA initiatives have helped educate and communicate these important information system concepts throughout local government through the ESIG program. Usage In the past five years, the Pierce Responder school safety system has been used in several emergencies. In 2000, when it was unknown to what extent the date change from 1999 to 2000 would affect computer systems, Pierce County used the Responder System to help plan for any needed emergency or law enforcement response. Floor plans in the system were used to plan staging areas at downtown schools for personnel, equipment, and communications. As expected, the Responder system was used when sheriff deputies responded to a grenade brought to school and during a chemical release in a science lab. Whether for a large or minor emergency, the Responder system has provided needed contact information, details about the buildings, floor plans, and maps to emergency personnel. The local newspaper has praised the county for creating and maintaining this important information system that hopefully never is used, but when needed, provides vital information used to protect students. System Expansion After the World Trade Center terrorism event, the federal government asked jurisdictions to develop a list of potential terrorism targets. Pierce County s list includes a large port with chemical 10 URISA Journal Vol. 18, No

11 storage, two strategic military bases, several important commercial businesses (State Farm headquarters), and an interstate corridor that, if affected, could cripple the region s economy. When managers discussed what would be needed for preparedness, there were clear similarities between the information and functionality of the Pierce Responder System and the information that is needed for terrorism preparedness. Within three weeks of 9/11, Pierce Responder was cloned and ready for adding information into the new Terrorism Response System (TRS). Very quickly, information for major targets was created and loaded into the database. Emergency responders from the county, cities, the port, utility companies and commercial business formed a Terrorism Early Warning (TEW) group for sharing terrorism information and developing plans and training for terrorism preparedness. The TEW group added information to TRS and requested additional functionality be added to manage folders for incident response procedures (bombs or chemical releases). Responders have used the system during emergency training simulations and are prepared with reliable and useful information if a terrorism event occurs in the county. For five years, responders have designed enhancements to the Pierce Responder and Threat Response systems. New enhancements have included: Adding all elementary and junior high schools to the Responder database of high schools. An interactive GIS map showing aerial photography, contours, schools, targets, and resources. Expanding the searching methods from a drop-down list to search for schools/targets based on keyword, proximity from an address, or within a sheriff precinct. Linking photos of the building to a location on a map or a floor plan image. Adding target folders to the TRS system that include guidelines and procedures for various incident types. An interactive GIS map with a symbol editor that allows commanders in the field to quickly map locations of the command, resources, and staging areas and immediately share this information with responders in the field via the system. An information portal for emergency management that displays the various emergency management systems and provides secure access to the applications. reviewed several methods of sharing the county technology or transferring ownership to other jurisdictions. To protect the county from third-party tort claims, other agencies would need to indemnify Pierce County, which was unworkable. To make the system available to other counties, Pierce County transferred ownership of the software to a commercial software provider. The county receives royalties when the product is sold to another jurisdiction and these revenues enable the county to maintain the database. The company, Prepared Response, now sells the product as well as implementation services to jurisdictions nationwide. In 2000, the Pierce Responder System was one of the first systems in the country to address the needs of emergency responders during a school violence incident. The justifications and benefits of the Responder System have surpassed schools and now includes the homeland security needs of the county. Steven Bailey, Director of Emergency Management in Pierce County, commented, Our Web-based technology, GIS, and wireless communications have proven over and over again that reliable data and communication are essential to successful emergency response and personal safety. Examples of System Images and Screen Shots The system is now used by more than 1,700 responders and school officials in the county and contains detailed and specific information on 283 schools (high, junior high, and elementary) and 176 terrorism targets for responders. The Business of School Safety After Pierce County won the URISA ESIG award, many jurisdictions across the United States contacted the county about how they could use the Pierce Responder System. County attorneys URISA Journal Pierce County, Washington 11

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13 About the Author Contact person for the system: Steven Bailey Director Emergency Management 2501 S 35th St. Tacoma, WA (253) URISA Journal Pierce County, Washington 13

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15 Sacramento County, California WebGIS (2004 Enterprise System) System Summary Prior to the Sacramento County WebGIS, county departments have redundantly maintained several databases in hard-copy and electronic formats. Often the same data was both stored in both electronic and hard-copy forms on various paper maps and documents for future reference at public counters or in the field. Varying data creation and maintenance procedures resulted in data inconsistencies that both impede interdepartmental coordination as well as adversely impact decision making. The end result was less than desirable work efficiency and customer service. With the development of the WebGIS, the county has begun to embark on a new way of doing business where data sharing, system integration, and regional collaboration will maximize technology investments. Spatial geographic information system (GIS) layers, tabular data from Property Shared Database (PSD), the Assessor s Information Management System (AIMS), permit data from Building Inspection s Advantage Permit System, facility data from three different Maintenance Management Systems, orthophotos, as well as FileNET images of subdivision/parcel maps, building permits, easements, deeds, engineering improvement plans, and more, are now accessible to the user at his or her desktop. This aggregation of data from multiple databases into a single window in the WebGIS has eliminated countless phone calls, staff trips to file cabinets, storerooms, and/or public counters, as well as resource-wasting field trips. WebGIS has put GIS capabilities at every desktop computer attached to the county WAN, in addition to all wireless devices used in the field. A new level of fiscal responsibility has been achieved that has increased the GIS user base without excessively raising the costs for software, software maintenance, and staff training. The Sacramento County WebGIS system has quickly become the most highly used and dominant work tool in the county today. The applications currently log more than 50,000 queries a month, averaging almost 2,500 in a typical workday. Queries range from a basic address, parcel, or owner query, to more specialized uses in many different departments. County departments have benefited from WebGIS in ways not envisioned before, such as being able to identify illegal vineyards, insure rights-of-way are not excavated right after new pavement overlays, find the address of potential witnesses prior to trial, as well as early assigning of both parcel numbers and addresses to expedite the building permit process. The bottom line is that the WebGIS has now unlocked doors that many county departments have begun to open in their pursuit of greater efficiency. This enterprise look at data has reaped some additional benefits as well. The combination of a growing user list as well as integration with other systems and databases has identified many data inconsistencies that have now been corrected. Several redundant data-maintenance tasks have been eliminated. Efficiency gains and the ability to make quicker, more informed decisions based on more accurate data have produced widespread benefits to several county departments. Not only are the Sacramento County WebGIS applications a premier example of enterprise GIS, they are quickly expanding beyond the county to serve the needs of many other local agencies in the Sacramento region. Virtual Private Network (VPN) connections provide other local agencies with access to the WebGIS. This growing user list will ultimately result in more accurate and timely data for use at every connected desktop or field laptop. Every participating agency will benefit from data sharing, increased efficiency, improved decision making, and shared funding of application and data development in the future. The regional collaboration that has been fostered will benefit the citizens of Sacramento County for years to come. Motivation for System Development Because investments in GIS technology are quite expensive and uncertain economic times and budget constraints have become an annual problem, Sacramento County sought to implement GIS URISA Journal Sacramento County, California 15

16 countywide in a manner that would maximize the use and access of all georeferenced data for the mutual benefit of all users. Driven by the guiding principle that the most vital corporate asset in the county is data, plus the knowledge that a vast majority of that data has some type of relationship with geography, Sacramento County designed, developed, and successfully implemented the WebGIS system. In Sacramento County, many departments have struggled through tight budgets, incorporations (loss of customers and funding), and staff training and retention issues, making it extremely difficult to successfully implement GIS technology within their departments. Additionally, the GIS section observed several county departments implementing IT systems without performing a thorough needs analysis that included all affected departments. Departmental data silos were being created that adversely impacted the ability for county departments to coordinate their specific job functions. A true enterprise GIS implementation could not be attained where redundant databases and departmental data silos are the norm. A way had to be found to expand GIS functionality and database access to other departments in the county without the budget becoming the deciding factor. At Sacramento County GIS, we believed that the majority of data used by county staff on a daily basis would be most efficiently and cost-effectively accessed with a Web browser. In the past, that data has been stored and accessed in several different ways e.g., handwritten notes in several different assessors parcel book sets, paper stored in multiple file cabinets (indexed in several different ways and many times redundantly), corporate/departmental/section/personal spreadsheets or databases, as well as notes and/or data records in several custom shrink-wrapped systems. Additionally, several county departments annually purchased licenses from data providers such as Metroscan, CD Data, and Thomas Brothers. The challenge of implementing GIS throughout the county during difficult fiscal times and in an environment of distributed, disparate databases was successfully overcome by developing the WebGIS. After agreeing on the following basic tenets, Sacramento County GIS developed the WebGIS to extend basic GIS capabilities to every county employee: Data is a valuable county-wide asset. Redundant data storage and maintenance is not costeffective. The true data owners should be the responsible data maintainers. County data should be easily accessible to all county staff who need to use it. Decision-making processes are more efficient when there is easy access to the most accurate, timely, and complete databases possible. Customer service improves when county staff members are able to utilize tools that maximize job efficiency. The spatial component of GIS maximizes flexibility for users to integrate, access, query, and display geographically referenced data. Figure 1. Parcel Viewer. Currently numbering seven individual applications, the WebGIS system allows users to access, query, display, spatially reference, and analyze multiple data types (spatial, tabular, image, and document) even though these databases are managed by multiple departments on multiple servers. WebGIS has forever changed how many county employees perform their daily business functions, greatly improved customer service, and eliminated several archaic databases and licensed vendor systems. The individual applications are described as follows: Parcel Viewer (see Figure 1) enables a user to search by Assessor s Parcel Number, address, owner name, intersection, and landmark to access property-related data associated with a parcel (i.e., zoning, land use, tax-rate area, size, value, etc.). Links to other non-gis databases are seamless to the user. All the blue hyperlinks in the Parcel Details Table are links to additional data and images. Additionally, a comprehensive buffer/mailing label creation tool is available. General Map Viewer enables a user to query and display on a very broad set of GIS data. The initial release of this viewer serves up more than 60 spatial layers of data. This application also features two of the newest Web GIS tools: Bookmarks and Redlining, using the Bookmark Drawing Tools. Water Quality Viewer enables a user to access sewer infrastructure information. Same functionality as Parcel Viewer, but it also includes the spatial sewer data and searches by sewer pipe segment, manhole, and pump station. Each query provides hyperlinks to several scanned documents that are indexed to sewer facilities. Water Resources Service Request Tracking System (SRTS) Viewer enables a user to access drainage infrastructure information. Same functionality as Parcel Viewer, but it also includes the spatial drainage data and searches by drainage facility and creek segment. The SRTS module enables a 16 URISA Journal Vol. 18, No

17 user to create new records and produce reports initiated by Water Quality and Water Resources for customer service requests. These requests are related to flood complaints and pipes-in-the-ground service requests. Additionally, specific district information is accessible per parcel as well as Sewer Response Area Investigator information. Transportation Viewer enables a user to access transportation infrastructure information. This application enables a user to search by Streetlight Characteristics, Street Signal Characteristics, etc., to access county-maintained transportation infrastructure data. Same functionality as Parcel Viewer, but it also includes spatial transportation facility (streetlights, traffic signals, signs, striping, etc.) data. Easement Viewer same functionality as Parcel Viewer, but it also includes spatial easement polygons and a hyperlink to the FileNET database that stores the scanned images of the originally recorded easement documents. This application is being used as a tool to validate the spatial accuracy of easements created by a conversion vendor. Project Coordination facilitates better coordination of county departments that excavate in county rights-of-way. In addition to sewer, drainage, water, and transportation projects, this application tracks newly paved road segments that are under warranty or still in a three-year or five-year moratorium, as well as planned overlays. Online notifications are sent out to departmental staff where there are conflicts. This allows departments to better coordinate excavation projects with future overlays, both saving the county money and reducing the public nuisance caused by street-excavation projects. Customer Electronic Service Request System (CESR) went live in the fall of All calls for any type of service including abandoned vehicles, illegal dumping, buildingcode infractions, as well as barking dogs within the county will be logged into CESR. The county s Board of Supervisors and all managers will enjoy simple access to a much broader view of the data than ever before. System Benefits Achieved A greater recognition among staff regarding the importance of data accuracy, integrity, interdependence, accessibility, and sharing has been achieved. Widespread use of the applications by multiple county departments has been instrumental in identifying many data inconsistencies and anomalies that have since been corrected. Now that users have a single place where they can go to easily view all the most commonly needed forms of property data, several hard-copy and electronic databases have been eliminated. County offices are reducing the amount of paper records that are kept for reference purposes. Data owners are more cognizant of their data-maintenance responsibilities. County departments and outside agencies are collaborating and sharing the cost burden of implementing technology. In general terms, the enterprise data infrastructure has drastically improved and in a large part because of a proven track record of success using the WebGIS, customers are more willing to upgrade old systems to new geobased systems. System Design Issues Encountered and Overcome Several issues needed to be dealt with, including: Different versions and types of browser software. Problems arising from nonstandard third-party software that users have installed on their desktops. The technologically challenged user. Bridging the IT culture gap can be quite challenging. Newer, younger employees fresh out of school openly embrace technological change, while many longtime employees resist. The technologically proficient user. Designing a system that is highly customized to meet unrealistic expectations of superusers is an enormous challenge as well. The additional system modifications and enhancements that users request can adversely affect application development schedules, and, more important, almost always result in an exponential decrease in the cost benefit of that requested enhancement. The initial versions of the server software (ESRI s ArcIMS) had several bugs that would take the application down and adversely impacted the credibility of the WebGIS for many users. Diligent face-to-face customer service was instrumental in keeping users focused on the long-term goal and now they are reaping the benefits. What Differentiates This System from Other Similar Systems The WebGIS system serves as a user-friendly gateway for accessing several disparate databases all across the county. Additionally, it provides GIS capabilities to every wireless or WAN-connected computer in the county. The intuitiveness of a Web-based GIS front end gives end users easy access to data that is maintained by the true data owner. Data replication has been substantially reduced and in many cases users are now using data that in the past they never even knew existed. The county s seamless integration with FileNET has provided major dividends for staff that regularly need to access recorded subdivision and parcel maps, building permits, improvement plans, and more. Our continued quest to make all geographically referenced county data (spatial, tabular, or image) available at every county desktop has made several county work processes more efficient. As a true enterprise system, WebGIS serves the county as a whole, rather than just a select few departments who have the funding to purchase custom applications. Many users also find that the WebGIS is a better way to access and view the data that they maintain, largely because of the ability to view and/or analyze the data spatially. Additionally, the WebGIS also contains several useful tools that have provided efficiency gains for county staff. A few of these include: URISA Journal Sacramento County, California 17

18 Figure 3. Bookmark Drawing Tools. Figure 2. Mailing List Generation. Buffer: In every WebGIS application, the user can interactively select/create a point, line, and/or polygon to be buffered, choose which spatial layer to be buffered, as well as select the buffer distance. In addition, the user can select a group of features by drawing a polygon to get the selected set he or she desires. Mailing List Generation (see Figure 2): The primary purpose of most buffers is to generate some type of mailing list. Both Resident Address and Owner Address lists are automatically generated to an Avery label standard. An MS Excel download is available as well. The entire buffer-mailing list generation process for a standard 500-foot radius map used for notification of a zoning change takes less than a minute. Bookmark/Redlining Tool (see Figure 3): The Bookmarking tool set enhances enterprise-wide communication and collaboration by allowing a user to save a bookmark or snapshot of the state of the WebGIS application at a point in time. For example, a bookmark that has been created stores information about layer visibility, zoom extent, feature selection, buffer results, user-created graphics, etc. Staff can communicate better by accessing shared bookmarks or ing bookmark hyperlinks to other staff members. Another advantage is that a person can save his or her work and resume at a later time at the same exact spot he or she left off. The bookmark drawing tools allow a user to create text boxes, and draw objects such as text, circles, lines, and polygons onto the map. These drawing tools have improved staff s ability to communicate data errors and inaccuracies to the true data owners for correction. Measure tool: The measure tool quickly provides an estimated distance between two points or an area of a polygon by zooming in and clicking on the mouse. Additionally, all the basic tools, including pan, zoom, last extent, attribute selection, mouse selection, theme display on/off, and dynamic XY coordinate display, along with basic report and hard-copy printing capabilities are available. In summary, based on the impracticality of a single countywide enterprise database, GIS has placed much of the burden of data integration on the WebGIS system. While some of the data has been centralized, much of it has been made accessible by the development of commonly understood and standardized database keys and data formats. This has allowed the successful publication of the following data sources to every personal computer connected to the county s wide area network: Land records including ownership Assessment data Street network with address ranges Early entry of new subdivisions with parcel numbers and addresses prior to recordation Building permits Zoning and land use Facilities (sewer, water, drainage, streetlights, signals, striping, etc.) Easements (spatial and imaged record documents) Imagery Scanned documents (maps, improvement plans, permits, deeds, assessor pages, etc.) Districts (political, school, park, fire, water, sewer, fee) Precincts Landmarks (schools, libraries, hospitals, fire stations, government buildings, etc.) Parcel history County work processes are much more efficient than they were prior to the WebGIS development. Both interdepartmental and intra-agency cooperation and coordination have improved drastically. The growth in volume and accuracy of the data used on a daily basis for county decision making has enabled the county to provide a more efficient, superior level of customer service to its citizenry. The real bottom line is that the taxpayer/ratepayer in the county is not paying for multiple county departments 18 URISA Journal Vol. 18, No

19 and/or regional agencies to build, maintain, and access many of the similar databases they have had to in the past. System Hardware, Software, Data Hardware: Server Hardware: Compaq Proliant DL380 G3 P KB, 2048 MB Two Web servers are running in parallel, configured in a load-balanced environment. The load-balanced environment includes two Cisco Content Switches that reside in two subnets, one for normal communications and one for load balancing. The two servers have two NICs teamed in failover mode connected to each Content Switch for redundancy and failover capability. The Content Switches are configured for affinity so that session states are held to the originally called server to avoid application conflicts. There is one Virtual IP Address (VIP) that users resolve to via DNS for all applications. Software: Server Software: ArcIMS 9.0 GeoPrise.NET 5.0 ArcIMS is a server-based product from Environmental Systems Research Institute, Inc. (ESRI) for distributing GIS maps over the Web. ArcIMS provides Web publishing of GIS maps, data, and metadata for access over an intranet or the Internet. GeoPrise.NET is an ESRI business partner headquartered in Sacramento, California, that develops basic and advanced solutions for parcel, economic development, planning, and infrastructure information systems. The GeoPrise.NET software is completely customizable; new themes and data from a variety of sources, including imagery, documents, file-based and SQLbased tables, shapefiles, and ArcSDE, can be added easily to meet business requirements using a wizard-driven interface. GeoPrise. NET was the first to develop and deploy GIS Web application products that run over ArcIMS and are built from the ground up in.net technology. Client Software: Internet Explorer 5.x - current Data: SQL Server Oracle FileNET CMMS Data: WebGIS Data Sources Property-Shared Database (PSD) An Oracle database that stores data from many county departments. Data is continually being posted to the PSD from departmental servers, including the Assessor, Building Permits, the Recorders Office, Planning and Finance. Property data includes elements such as address, zoning, ownership, land use, valuation, building characteristics, and permits. FileNET Linkage to about a dozen document management databases, including scanned recorded and parcel maps, permit applications, property transfer deeds, and sewer plans. GIS attributes Access to a database repository, based in SQL Server, for many facility data elements, such as sewer and drainage features, which are routinely imported from data sources of various levels of sophistication, ranging from spreadsheets to Access databases. This repository also maintains other commonly used data items that have not found homes in PSD or other departmental servers. These items include parcel notes, problem calls, landmarks, phone numbers, Thomas Brothers page numbers, utility billing, and many look-up tables. GIS spatial features Of prime importance to GIS was the regular publication of the base map layers, including parcels and centerlines. These layers were used to register nearly all other GIS items throughout county departments, as well as provide widely used and needed data elements. These layers were complemented with several versions of county-wide orthophotography. The applications draw on a centralized storage of district boundaries, including school, fire, park, and water districts, as well as schools, hospitals, and other places with concerns for public safety. GIS also established standardized mechanisms for converting departmental files into publishable GIS themes. Where Are We Now?/Future Directions With the success of the Sacramento Regional GIS Cooperative (SRGC), a new level of GIS coordination and collaboration has been spawned in the Sacramento area. Not only are multiple public agencies standardized on a common landbase, but they are working together in the creation, ongoing maintenance, and access of several spatial layers. The use of the Sacramento County WebGIS applications has now expanded beyond the desktops of every county employee to more than 15 external organizations. These organizations include six incorporated cities; air quality, fire, water, park, and school districts; an electric utility and the local Council of Governments. Secure access is provided via VPN to more than 130 users in these organizations as they pilot the WebGIS capabilities within their organizations. The flagship Parcel Viewer application has become a regional standard for accessing a multitude of property-related information. Once the individual organizations complete their pilot use of the WebGIS applications they will determine how many more connections are cost-beneficial. Two exciting projects have spawned out of the success of the previously mentioned efforts. First, the SRGC has begun a Homeland Security Portal URISA Journal Sacramento County, California 19

20 Project to develop a street address maintenance Web site for efficient input of address range updates that will enable the SRGC participants to submit updates into the monthly maintenance workflow. The portal will improve work efficiency, reduce dataposting conflicts between agencies, and provide a transaction journal enabling each agency to determine the outcome of its individual data submissions. Now that all member agencies currently use the same street network file for address-matching applications, as well as public safety dispatch, the integrity and completeness of the file have drastically improved for the mutual benefit of all SRGC members. Lastly, a pilot project has been kicked off to develop a software solution that will enable two-way access between GIS Web servers at different agencies. Ultimately, the cities can have their own version of Parcel Viewer available to their organizational desktops that will retrieve data from county servers and vice-versa. All participants will benefit by reducing redundant data storage and eliminating daily/weekly/monthly data uploads/downloads. In the future all participants will have ready-access information that is stored on the true data owners servers resulting in a regional integration of the most up-to-date information possible. About the Author Contact person for system: Roger Exline GIS Manager 9700 Goethe Road, Suite A Sacramento, CA (916) Fax: (916) URISA Journal Vol. 18, No

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