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California Project Demonstrates Interoperability, Sharing of Damage Assessment Data

September 18, 2008 By

Four California jurisdictions demonstrated the ability to link disparate hardware and software systems used by local building officials to share damage assessment reports during and after a crisis.

The Los Angeles Basin Project, along with software vendors Selectron Technologies, Accela and CRW Systems, conducted the pilot demonstration on Sept. 4, 2008. Selectron's M-Track mobile interfacing system helped provide the interoperability the jurisdictions needed to share data via their disparate technology.

The four cities, using their own software and hardware, demonstrated the ability to rapidly record and share safety and damage assessments and instantly populate FEMA forms with the data after a large-scale natural or man-made disaster.

The L.A. Basin Project developed protocols for linking the disparate hardware and software systems used by local building officials to speed the transmission of critical data during a crisis. A template for safety and damage reports allows field personnel to collect data quickly and eliminates the hours of labor needed to transfer handwritten safety and assessment reports to the appropriate federal disaster forms.

Magnitude 6.2 Quake

The pilot featured a simulated magnitude 6.2 earthquake after which the participants -- Glendale, Gardena, San Dimas and Santa Clarita in Los Angeles County -- downloaded the data via eight different devices, including a cell phone, laptop and iPhone. All the information uploaded went directly to a central database in Glendale.

The pilot demonstrated the ability to develop an interoperable network whereby local building and code inspection personnel can:

  • perform immediate safety assessments of critical infrastructure
  • conduct general safety assessments of the structural integrity, safety and re-occupancy of governmental, residential and commercial structures
  • authorize reconnection of utilities after damage repairs have been made
  • provide rapid issuance of building permits and conduct inspections as the community recovers from the disaster.

The project was funded under a grant from the California Office of Emergency Services and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

Another, larger demonstration with a simulated magnitude 7.8 earthquake will be conducted with more participants in November. The expanded pilot could show the viability of expanding the system statewide. For information, call Robert Wible at 703/568-2323.

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