Avoyelles Parish, LA: GIS and 911

Avoyelles Parish, LA: GIS and 911

by kimg | July 13th, 2016 | SafeCityGIS

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Avoyelles Parish, or Paroisse des Avoyelles, as it is pronounced in French is located near the centerline of Louisiana and is home to over 42,000 Louisianans. The parish is named for the Avoyel Native American tribe that lived in the area nearly two centuries ago.

Inside of Avoyelles Parish, the citizens rely on the Avoyelles 911 Center for their emergency services. When a citizen from Avoyelles dials 911 a dispatcher at the Avoyelles 911 Center is there to assist them with their emergency.

The 911 Center recognized that they had some deficiencies in their mapping program. The system being used would often crash and when issues popped up it seemed that the support staff would take a long time to resolve. The users of the mapping program grew increasingly frustrated at what seemed to be a lack of support from their mapping vendor.

As an existing client of PTS Solutions (PTS), the Avoyelles 911 Center was able to establish a connection with Geographic Technologies Group (GTG), a partner of PTS. The 911 Center needed a mapping program that could easily integrate into the CAD software that they were already using. As a partner of PTS, GTG was able to meet the requirements of the 911 Center.

GTG identified that the biggest issues for the Avoyelles 911 Center had been coordinating the map data with the address data.  Furthermore, there was inconsistent data and even missing data. The Avoyelles 911 Center was experiencing limitations commonly shared by many public safety organizations.

At the time, the 911 Center was utilizing a series of applications to create critical 911 address related data and those solutions were not using the industry standard Esri tools. As a result, the mapping program that the dispatchers were using prevented them from truly leveraging the power of modern GIS.

GTG worked with Avoyelles to import their address points, street centerlines, utility boundaries, and parcel data into Esri’s Local Government Information Model (LGIM). GTG assisted with data cleanup and standardization. By utilizing Esri tools, Avoyelles was able to identify gaps in the data and areas of inconsistency. GTG also trained Avoyelles on creating new GIS data layers utilizing Esri’s ArcGIS for Desktop software.

Staff with Avoyelles can now accurately create new GIS data layers, such as fire boundary districts, that are important for dispatchers and other users. These districts within GIS can now be utilized to generate the number of residences and businesses located within each district for annual reports.

Once the data was loaded into Esri’s LGIM, GTG deployed Vantage Points Dispatch and Vantage Points Address for PTS. Vantage Points Dispatch is utilized by the dispatchers within the Avoyelles Parish 911 Center for tracking and managing calls from citizens. When a call comes in from a citizen, it appears on the mapping interface via the direct link with the PTS CAD system.

Vantage Points Address was also deployed in order for office staff to manage the address point data. The information tied to the address data can change almost daily. Because of the frequency of changes and updates, it is important for Avoyelles to have a way to manage the data effectively. Vantage Points Address for PTS allows staff to select or search for addresses and change attribute information. When a staff person makes a change to an address point within Vantage Points Address, it is automatically reflected in Vantage Points Dispatch and other applications utilizing this GIS data.

The changes that were made at the Avoyelles Parish 911 Center have allowed the Center to enhance its services and be better prepared to serve the local citizens. The Vantage Point Tools for PTS allows the 911 Center to achieve its vision of GIS as the window into all data, and the simplification of its operations.