Web mapping software improves risk knowledge and response

A web mapping application from specialist GIS software developer Cadcorp is playing a central role in helping Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service (RBFRS) develop a high level of risk knowledge.

Feb 7, 2013
By Paul Jacques
Deputy Chief Constable Alex Franklin-Smith

A web mapping application from specialist GIS software developer Cadcorp is playing a central role in helping Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service (RBFRS) develop a high level of risk knowledge.

The new Web Map Layers application integrates web mapping into the RBFRS Incident and Building Information System (IBIS) database, which includes all information from returning fire crews about an incident and any additional risk information. This includes the actual location of the incident, which may differ from the approximate location as described in the control system that dispatched the crew in the first instance. The database also includes information on the local geography of the land and buildings involved in the incident, such as points of access and the location of hazards.

IT development officer Anne Eatwell explained: “The integration of web mapping with IBIS makes it much easier for returning fire crews to enter locational information themselves. Because the application is easy to use, fire-fighters have been able to take ownership of the information in this database. They know that the safety of the public and their own safety may depend on the information being accurate and up to date.”

She added that web mapping makes information on location more widely available – to more people and also to more applications.

“We are using geographic information to support all three of our areas of responsibility – protection, prevention and response,” she said. “For example, we use Web Map Layers to check the addresses of properties which are due for fire safety inspections and for measuring the extent of properties. We identify high-risk properties as red dots on a map and we use web mapping to optimise the way we visit the properties to inspect them.

“Our arson team is able to use mapping to identify arson hotspots – particularly useful as the mapping shows incidents on average within three hours of closing.

“Our community safety team uses web mapping to identify potentially vulnerable communities and properties, which they will target in safety campaigns.

“We are also using Web Map Layers to indicate how well we are performing in responding to calls, by mapping our predicted travel times and actual travel times and comparing the two.”

The intranet-based application has been made available to all employees, including those in Fire Safety and Community Safety, and at each of the 18 fire stations in Berkshire.

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