High-level state visits, sporting events, and political demonstrations are major events that present enormous challenges to the planning and coordination efforts of law enforcement and emergency response agencies. In special situations or catastrophic events, effective and successful operational commands often require assistance from police, fire and rescue services, as well as water, air, and mountain rescue teams, infrastructure teams, and even the military.
Consider the recent earthquake that devastated Nepal. Now imagine how much coordination and communication has to happen to make rescue efforts successful across that country. Communicating and providing information simultaneously to all of the agencies involved is a considerable challenge for even the most prepared public safety agencies. But it doesn’t have to be.
Intergraph’s Planning and Response (IPR) solution is an exciting addition to the software offerings for Intergraph SG&I Canada customers. The solution has been developed to meet the needs of agencies to prepare, plan, and manage special operations and unplanned events of all sizes. Built on the GeoMedia Smart Client platform, IPR gives users a common operating picture (COP) and an integrated map, along with modules that present information in a tabular format, organization chart, mind map, calendar, and timeline. The focus is to give public safety, infrastructure and government personnel the ability to monitor, assign tasks, communicate with resources, and provide updates in real-time with one solution.
Here’s a look at some of the critical functions that set IPR apart from GIS and CAD systems, making it a great solution to augment the capabilities of an agency’s existing GIS or CAD.
Sharing Responsibilities and Tasks
Providing shared map-based intelligence isn’t enough in a coordinated operation. Law enforcement, fire, and emergency management agencies need a shared understanding of responsibilities and tasks. Frankly, a GIS does not perform this function very well out of the box. A CAD system can do this, but it’s too rigid for major events where situations rapidly change, requiring a fair amount of flexibility.
Changing Lines of Authority
Agreed lines of authority between agencies change during a disaster event or as situations on the ground unfold. Responsibility can move from a local to a regional or national lead. During an event, where the focus of the problem can change, the lead authority or agency can change too. Public safety agencies and emergency action teams need a solution that can handle these eventualities quickly. That’s why agencies should invest in IPR; it can quickly handle a change in agreed lines of authority and augment GIS and CAD capabilities.
Adapting to Different Organizational Structures
No two agencies operate, communicate or are structured alike. Another reason to consider investing in IPR is adaptability. IPR easily adapts to different organizational structures, communication technologies, and changing operational plans. It’s likely that a GIS won’t have this capability and a CAD system might be too rigid to accommodate these needs.
Supporting Highly Diverse Agencies
During major events, agencies collaborate with other highly diverse organizations –all with their own operational systems, ingrained languages, terminology, procedures, and technologies. Having the multi-directional sharing of information that every participant can consistently interpret and understand is critical. IPR makes this possible while working within a participating agency’s existing operational systems and processes.
Rod Martinsen is a managing consultant for Hexagon Safety & Infrastructure in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.