With North Carolina’s hot summer months quickly approaching, the Jones-Lenoir County Emergency Communications Center is gearing up for its busiest season of the year. But thanks to GTG’s Vantage Points Dispatch software, the center’s Emergency Dispatchers are more prepared than ever.
Eastern North Carolina’s Lenoir County spans across a 403 square mile area and is home to around 60,000 citizens. It lies about 75 miles northwest of the state’s beautiful Crystal Coast Beaches, and 75 miles northeast of the capital city, Raleigh. Lenoir’s neighboring county, Jones County, is 467 square miles of predominantly rural land, housing around 10,000 citizens. In July 2013, Lenoir County’s Emergency Call Center merged with the Jones County Emergency Communications center, making Lenoir the public safety answering point for both counties, becoming the first in the state to combine E-911 services. While both counties mainly consist of friendly farming towns, the Jones-Lenoir County Emergency Communications Center still receives an average of 150-180 calls per day.
The recent Vantage Points Dispatch software upgrade allows dispatchers to see calls in both Lenoir and Jones counties, using an advanced Esri based GISmap view that replaced outdated technology. “Before we were only able to view Lenoir County and the map would cut off at the border. Now we have a broader view and can help callers when they cross the line into Jones County,” explained Paige Johnson, the E-911 Center Director.
“I like the Vantage Points Dispatch software much more than our previous software,” said Eric Gawlowski, E-911 Call Center Supervisor. “It is more user friendly, and I can find addresses or plot coordinates much faster, increasing our response time.”
Curtis Hinton, President of Geographic Technologies Group (makers of Vantage Points Dispatch), points out, “We work with public safety clients all around the United States. Many 911 Centers are saddled with mapping technology that is just not good. They often use whatever is provided by their 911 vendor and make do, therefore accepting a poorly performing product that doesn’t leverage modern GIS tools. It is so frustrating to see the mapping products that so many 911 agencies are currently using -‘convert data to a proprietary format, can’t handle the latest aerials, the annotation looks that way because our vendor can’t do anything with it, etc.’ – we have heard it all. Well 911 agencies don’t have to be satisfied with mediocre mapping, and they shouldn’t be. Our team members are experts in GIS and Public Safety, so we can create the tools that leverage GIS to its fullest while meeting the needs of the public safety professional.”
Vantage Points Dispatch software is a Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD) mapping interface that enables E-911 dispatchers to quickly and more efficiently view the location of calls for service. This real-time information enhances the ability to make critical decisions in a life or death environment. The application integrates with other products to provide the most up-to-date data for E-911 calls, active incidents, video streaming, building floor plans, and all GIS related data.
Johnson recalled a specific time when the Vantage Points Dispatch software benefited the team. “A group of people called in and were lost in the 79,000 acres of our Hofmann Forest. Using our new Vantage Points software, we were able to locate the group from their cell phone signal. Once we had their location, we could track their movement on our mapping system, and were able to safely guide them out of the forest from our call center.”
“It has been great working with Lenoir County,” Hinton concluded, “Their staff want to do what is best for the citizens and would not accept the status quo. Working with their team has been great. They are using GIS in ways that counties with even more resources can only dream of.”