City of Boston Launches Situational Awareness Tool
June 28, 2016
BOSTON - Wednesday, June 29, 2016 - Mayor Martin J. Walsh today announced the City of Boston's Department of Innovation and Technology (DoIT), in partnership with the Boston Office of Emergency Management (OEM), has launched a "situational awareness" tool to coordinate operations and increase public safety measures during emergency and large-scale special events.
"During any large event, safety is always our guiding priority," said Mayor Walsh. "By building our own situational awareness tool, the City of Boston is better equipped to ensure our residents' and visitors' safety, and I'm pleased that we will continue to refine our public safety tools."
This map-based tool is currently being used in the Emergency Operations Center and the public safety departments, allowing public safety officials to stay better informed about what's happening on the ground during an emergency or special event. The map allows officials to see the deployment status of police, fire and emergency medical services resources, access camera locations, see road closures and 911/311 requests.
"This situational awareness tool will streamline our ability to manage special events, as well as any emergencies that happen in the City of Boston," said Rene Fielding, Director of the Office of Emergency Management. "We have been implementing this system since last year, and we have continued to refine our requirements, and have taught other public safety agencies how to use the tool as well. The next phase of the project includes incorporating neighborhood emergency shelter locations with the ability to track capacity levels for those individuals displaced."
The situation awareness tool was built by the City geographic information system (GIS) team, part of the Department of Innovation and Technology, working in conjunction with the Office of Emergency Management. The first iteration of the system was launched in 2015 and was used during the 2015 St. Patrick's Day Parade. Since that time, the system has been modified to allow public safety agencies to tailor the information based on what metrics they wish to see displayed on their dashboard.
"Over the last year, the City's GIS team has worked alongside our public safety agencies to develop and improve the situational awareness tool," said Jascha Franklin-Hodge, Boston's Chief Information Officer. "By taking a partnership-driven, iterative approach to building this tool, we've created technology that is exactly matched to the City's public safety strategy for July 4th and other special events."
This month, the City of Boston's Office of Emergency Management received a "Special Achievement in Geographic Information System (GIS)" award from Esri, a worldwide organization that provides GIS technology software. Selected from over 300,000 eligible candidates, the City of Boston was one of 167 organizations that received an award for its innovative application of technology, data collection, geospatial information visualization and thought leadership through GIS.