Mobile GIS Provides Firefighters with Access to Comprehensive Geographic Information Critical to Effective Fire Response
VANCOUVER – November 2, 2010 – ESRI Canada today presented the Township of Langley with an Award of Excellence for its outstanding achievement in the application of ESRI's geographic information system (GIS) technology. In 2010, the Township developed and deployed an innovative Mobile Fire Application that is expected to significantly enhance fire protection and rescue operations in the municipality. The application allows fire responders to access valuable location-based data and analytical capabilities while in the field, ensuring they have the most complete, accurate and up-to-date information at their fingertips when responding to emergencies. The award was presented at the 2010 ESRI Canada User Conference in Vancouver.
“Most of the information firefighters need during an emergency is related to geography – where is the fire located, where's the nearest water source or where are the building's access points,” said Alex Miller, president, ESRI Canada. “The Township of Langley's mobile fire application addresses this need by providing their field crews with reliable data to make intelligent, mission-critical decisions quickly. This improves the timeliness and quality of planning and response, leading to the effective delivery of fire services.”
Located in southwestern British Columbia, the Township of Langley is a growing municipality with more than 100,000 people. It has used ESRI technology since 1995 as its enterprise GIS platform to enable geographic applications in its various departments including finance, engineering and protective services. The Township saw an opportunity to improve its Fire Department's operational efficiency using GIS. Leveraging ESRI's ArcGIS technology, they developed the Mobile Fire Application to equip nearly 200 firefighters in seven fire halls with a more efficient decision support system, replacing their previous process of using printed maps and spreadsheets. The solution also helps new firefighters who do not live in Langley to easily navigate through the Township's neighbourhoods and streets while on route to incidents.
The application is deployed in a touch screen environment, using ruggedized laptops installed in each of the Township's fire trucks. The mobile GIS extends the data stored in their enterprise GIS into the field, allowing firefighters to view numerous datasets and perform network-based spatial analysis. The datasets include pre-incident plans and response scenarios, road networks, turn restrictions, road elevations and overpasses, buildings, properties, utility networks and orthophotos. The system supports critical processes including finding the quickest route to the incident, determining the nearest fire hydrants or water systems, and accessing pre-incident planning information upon arrival at the scene.
“Every second counts during an emergency,” said Steve Scheepmaker, Manager of Information Technology, Township of Langley. “With our mobile GIS application, our firefighters can quickly and easily access valuable information they need to carry out their mission. GIS analysis provides rich context that increases their capability to effectively assess incidents and allocate the necessary resources. It helps them deliver the appropriate response when and where needed, ensuring the safety of citizens, property and the environment.”
Since implementing the application in August, the Township has received positive feedback from the Fire Department. “In the fire service, response times are crucial and can make the difference between life and death. Having this mobile tool available to us has enhanced life safety for both the Township's citizens and its first responders,” said Pat Walker, Assistant Chief – Fire Prevention.
Future plans for the system include the integration of additional datasets such as real-time traffic conditions and road closures due to construction.
About ESRI Canada
Founded in 1984, ESRI Canada provides enterprise geographic information system (GIS) solutions that empower businesses, governments and educational institutions to make timely, informed and mission-critical decisions by leveraging the power of geography. The company distributes the world's leading GIS software from ESRI, Telvent, Azteca Systems and other technology partners. Headquartered in Toronto, the company serves over 10,000 customers from 16 regional offices across Canada and has been named as one of the top 250 Canadian IT companies and top 25 IT professional services providers in Canada by the Branham Group. Information about ESRI Canada can be found at esricanada.com.