March 05, 2007
Developing an Emergency Response Operations Center Layout
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Susan Smith - Managing Editor

by Susan Smith - Managing Editor
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Welcome to GISWeekly! The use of MapInfo Professional for an Emergency Response Operations Center (EOC) layout of the Town of Wethersfield provides employees with a visual view of critical information, according to Bill Holler, GIS Administrator for the Town of Wethersfield. During an emergency, EOC administrators can assess the disaster scene using the EOC layout to determine what roads lead in and out of it, what the population density is and what homes and businesses may need to be evacuated. Read about it in this week’s Industry News.

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Industry News

Developing an Emergency Response Operations Center Layout

by Susan Smith

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The icons at the right bring up Emergency Center supplies inventory, Town of Rock Hill’s Doctor’s list, and the Town vehicle inventory. The individual layers are altitude stamped, when zoomed into a view could look like this:
The use of MapInfo Professional for an Emergency Response Operations Center (EOC) layout of the Town of Wethersfield provides employees with a visual view of critical information, according to Bill Holler, GIS Administrator for the Town of Wethersfield. During an emergency, EOC administrators can assess the disaster scene using the EOC layout to determine what roads lead in and out of it, what the population density is and what homes and businesses may need to be evacuated.

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Note the hot linked green-circled stores along Silas Deane Highway as well as the blue dashed waterlines and the larger purple circle to the left that when clicked on would show information about the High School there. Hot linking to the green circle will bring up a picture of the storefront. Certain links will bring up the choice of Powerpoint or video coverage as well as photography.
Holler’s job is 60% GIS, 40% IT, plus videography, and has taken him far and wide in terms of providing desktop views for various departments. Before doing the EOC layout, Holler had created a hydrant map for the fire department, photography and video for the police department, and presentations for Parks & Recreation, among other things.

When asked by the EOC director, if he could do something with “tabletop exercises” that are like red flag exercises executed on a regional level, Holler realized they had all the information, just in different formats. They took the information and put it into a MapInfo layout with a series of hot links and information links. This was used in the next tabletop exercise which was of an ice storm that paralyzed the entire state, and caused interstates to be closed down. The layout provided an overview as well as buffer information.

The Town of Wethersfield is part of the Metropolitan District Council (MDC) in Hartford which has aerial photography. Hartford had recently supplied Wethersfield with 2003 1:960 scale photography of the entire town, which serves as the base map for the main views on the director’s desk as well as for the EOC layout. Special town-generated layers such as parcel base, Historic District, recreation, selected videos, and Health Region are incorporated into the map. PowerPoint presentations of key town areas and Excel listings of doctors offices in town and neighboring areas are also included.

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Note the Parcel addresses, water and sewer lines, Zoning, Utility Poles, and Veroni polygons around the fire hydrants. When on screen the user can info link the individual parcels to bring up Assessor’s information. This information system is not made available to the public.
“When you look at the map you see a grid with town boundaries on it and lettering, etc., but as you zoom in, [with the altitude base capabilities in MapInfo, as you get closer and closer, more and more information will present itself. At some point you’re looking at the aerial photography and you would see blue lines which represent water lines, brown lines represent sewer lines, utility poles, fireplugs, fire dept connections, lot lines, zoning for each individual house, address of each house, the address ranges for each intersection,” explained Holler. “If you have the information tool available, you click on it, and all the information from the
Assessor’s office will pop up for an individual parcel. There is quite a bit of information available just from doing hotlinks.”

In the ice storm exercise, the ice storm paralyzed the entire state, closing all interstates, and then a propane tanker turned over at exit 25 right at the eastern side of town. “I was able to use the buffering capabilities to give some kind of idea of the traveling of the plume,” noted Holler. “The engineer, chief of police, fire chief, town manager, the health director and myself all have the EOC layout on their machines so it can be used as a planning tool as well as an EO tool,” said Holler.

The layout is designed so that a GIS specialist could run the program to respond to questions from the administrators involved. If a GIS specialist was unavailable for some reason, the layout could also be run from the MapInfo ProViewer mode, which would not be quite as effective. “ProViewer users can get information but they can’t do the manipulations, and wouldn’t be able to do a buffer analysis as I am able to,” Holler pointed out.

ProViewer is free from MapInfo, and allows you to put mapping information in a non- edited format onto people’s desks. “We have ProViewers with customized views on most of the different department directors’ desks. They can print the screen off, they can do statistical analysis, they can use the information tool to get the assessor’s information off, but it’s not a real time GIS.” ProViewer is easy to use, but Holler said that if people don’t use it enough they tend to forget how to use it.

Wethersfield has had MapInfo intelligence solutions in place for about two years, and has had the MDC coverage since 2004. It is a very developed town with not much open space left, only a couple of farms, according to Holler. Currently Wethersfield is using MapInfo 7.1 and will hopefully be updating to 8.5 this fiscal year.

Top News of the Week

ESRI is pleased to announce the availability of ArcReader 9.2. ArcReader is a free, easy-to-use desktop mapping application that allows users to view, navigate, and print maps and globes created with the ArcGIS Publisher extension.


Orion Technology Inc. announced that it is forming a partnership with Dominion in Madrid, Spain. Dominion will distribute Orion’s out-of-the-box web-GIS software solution OnPoint™ to a wide range of business markets in Spain. These markets include Insurance & Banking, Transportation and Distribution, Energy and Telecommunication, and Government & Public Administration.

NAVTEQ, a global provider of digital maps for vehicle navigation, location-based solutions and business applications, and Maptel Networks, a Telefonica subsidiary offering digital maps and geographic information solutions, have announced the signing of an agreement which will allow the latter to consolidate its range of high-added-value mapping products. The agreement involves the joint marketing and development of high-quality mapping solutions and services for the Spanish market.

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