County Removes Barriers Between Departments
Hernando County, Florida, Develops Central GIS
In summer 2002, the Hernando County, Florida, property appraiser, Alvin R. Mazourek, started what would prove to be a very rewarding project to lead the county in the direction of a central GIS. Since it was the addressing function that was the common problem with all local government, the Central Addressing Department began the process of updating its hard-copy- and map-based addressing system to a customized central GIS-based application.
From the onset, the project showed a lot of promise and the beginning of a central focus. This was accomplished by removing barriers between county departments; eliminating redundancy; increasing accuracy; and allowing multiple departments electronic access to the addressing databasethus helping reduce emergency response time through more accurate addresses, street centerlines, etc.
As with any project of this scale, standard operating procedures were created. Additionally, process flowcharts and county ordinances had to be updated, and interlocal agreements were created between the City of Brooksville and the Central Addressing Department. This challenge proved that Hernando County could resolve issues now and in the future.
The development of a central GIS was now set in motion with ArcGIS Desktop (ArcInfo, ArcEditor, and ArcView) at the heart of the system. ArcGIS was chosen because it provided the platform to create a custom extension to work within, making the initial goal of address assignment much easier and more user-friendly. In summer 2006, the Hernando County Central GIS (HCCGIS) program was initiated. The county departments and other stakeholders came together and agreed on the Central GIS concept and that the direction should come from the Hernando County Property Appraiser. Building on previous results and relationships with local government agencies (e.g., Planning, Engineering, Utilities, Sheriff's Office, City of Brooksville), the HCCGIS program was well on its way. The HCCGIS Technical Committee was created and, from the beginning, leaders within the team started providing input with ideas and direction. The technical committee agreed on the proposed GIS Data Management Scheme and its design.
Key to the success of the HCCGIS program was the development of HCCGIS Standard Operating Procedures (SOP). After several drafts, HCCGIS SOP was approved and implemented. SOP defines the nuts and bolts of the entire HCCGIS (e.g., coordinate system and data storage parameters, metadata standards, quality control process, GIS layers and classifications). Building on the past, the interlocal agreements and memorandums of understanding were created and implemented.
Hernando County Central Mapping System
The Hernando County Property Appraiser's GIS Team led the way, customizing and publishing an ArcReader project for Hernando County. Having all the layers available in one central location proved to be the county's greatest asset. The county now had everything in place to build on. Its next goal was to create projects for Hernando County government, Spring Hill Fire Rescue, City of Brooksville Fire Services, Hernando County Sheriff's Office, and City of Brooksville Police. These projects would provide up-to-date information on fire hydrants, addresses, streets, etc. However, they would also need to allow emergency services personnel to quickly find an address. Since these projects would be used on touch screens while emergency services personnel were in transit, larger buttons were also required.
To meet these requirements, the Central Mapping System application was developed. Using Microsoft Visual Studio .NET 2005, the C# language, and the ArcGIS Publisher ArcReader Control, the application allows customization of the user interface while keeping much of the functionality of the standard ArcReader application.
Once the Central Mapping System was in place, a need was identified for an emergency management solution. Hernando County Technology Services then developed a program called EMSYS, which is used during activation of the county's Emergency Operations Center (EOC) as a way to capture data from residents reporting information (e.g., downed power lines, fire, explosion, and animals).
"EMSYS routes and tracks the status of the reported information to the appropriate agency for resolution," says Garry Allen, Hernando County director of Technology Services. "Once again, we saw the benefit of enhancing this program geospatially. The requirement was to display incidents on the map as they were entered into EMSYS. The map would be an integral part in showing where and what type of damage was occurring during an event, such as a hurricane."
EOC personnel needed to be able to choose which event and what incident types to display. This would give them a much better view of damages happening in their area of interest.
A button was added to the Central Mapping System that queried the SQL Server database for a list of events and any incidents associated with them. The resulting choices are stored in a local Microsoft Access database, and a definition query is set up in the project to allow different users to display the events and incident types of their choosing.
Both EMSYS and the Central Mapping System Emergency Management Project are displayed at the same time, and as calls come in to the Public Information Center, the reported incidents appear in the map project. The Central Mapping System is also being used as a standard project throughout local government agencies, keeping them connected to the latest county data available.
For more information, contact Manuel J. Padrón, director of GIS, Hernando County Property Appraiser's Office (tel.: 352-754-4190, ext. 25069; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org).