Improving Emergency Response with Comprehensive Digital Atlases

Quick Summary

Carbon County, located in south central Montana, is home to approximately 10,000 citizens and covers more than 2,000 square miles, encompassing the Custer National Forest and the northeast entrance to Yellowstone National Park.

The Challenge

In 2004, Carbon County implemented a new standardized addressing system to help first responders react more quickly to emergency situations and prepare for enhanced 911 (E-911) phone service. However, the county was too big for dispatchers to know all areas by heart and not all stakeholders had sufficient computer resources or training. Additionally, a number of county locations had multiple addresses for a single site and it was a challenge to provide the new address system to both public safety personnel and the public in a way that was economically feasible.

The Solution

To support an E-911 services implementation that would shorten emergency response times and save lives, Carbon County needed an accurate, centralized database of new addresses that could be easily accessed by non-GIS trained public safety personnel and citizens. Carbon County secured a grant to implement the GeoAtlas project, leveraging GeoPDF Publisher® to prepare interactive, portable and intelligent maps and imagery that allow users in the field to access, update and share compact geospatial information. Carbon County selected TerraGo because of the ease with which maps could be created and distributed, both digitally and in print.

The Results

Through the deployment of TerraGo software and solutions, Carbon County has now produced more than 150 maps for first responders, including a detailed 400-page digital atlas covering the entire county. This digital atlas has enabled the county to successfully support its enhanced 911 system and has in turn reduced emergency response time and helped save lives. The atlas has also become an indispensable tool for public safety and first responders, as well as businesses, which can access up-to-date geospatial information without needing GIS training or additional software.

GeoPDF maps can also be distributed on paper printouts, USB flash drives or DVDs for offline users in the field. Additionally, users in the field can now make updates to the GeoPDF maps using geo-referenced notes, photos, video or other information and then return the updates to the Esri ArcGIS® database.