September 18, 2008 By Jim McKay, Justice and Public Safety Editor
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:
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.
This Digital Communities white paper highlights discussions with IT officials in four counties that have adopted shared services models. Our aim was to learn about the obstacles these governments have faced when it comes to shared services and what it takes to overcome those roadblocks. We also spoke with several members of the IT industry who have thought long and hard about these issues. The paper offers some best practices for shared government-to-government services, but also points out challenges that government and industry still must overcome before this model gains widespread adoption.