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A Publication Featuring The Information Services Technology of Maine State Government
|Volume VI, Issue 9||September 2003|
By Bob White
Investments in BIS oracle and GIS infrastructure enable the State to partner with OnStar and others to instantaneously notify first responders of vehicle accidents, while simultaneously posting crash data to the States secure Web site and providing a map of the incident location to direct rescuers to the site. Crash data (called telematics) could also be instantaneously available to hospital trauma centers!
In the U.S. approximately 42,000 people die annually, (20,000 die before they receive appropriate medical attention) from injuries sustained in motor vehicle crashes. An additional 250,000 people sustain serious injuries, and research has demonstrated that trauma victims have a golden hour of opportunity in which if medical treatment is received, the chances of surviving or fully recovering, is greatly increased.
How can we respond more quickly? Instead of creating a vast new system, the Maine Office of Geographic Information Systems (MEGIS) proposed an Incident Management system be built upon several existing platforms. These include the States enterprise GIS and Oracle databases, Maine Department of Transportations (MDOT) CARS network, US Geological Survey (USGS) river monitors, National Weather Service automated weather stations, and the Gulf of Maines GOMOOS buoy network. In addition to these, MEGIS has also been conversing with OnStar and ATX Technologies in order to rapidly and reliably deliver accident data to E9-1-1 centers.
MEGIS is using grant funds provided by the Institute for the Application of Geospatial Technology at Cayuga Community College, Inc. This grant initially focused upon using remotely sensed data in GIS. The proposal began by integrating the river flow monitor network, and sought to graphically display river heights and flow on an ArcIMS mapping site. Subsequently we learned automated weather station, GOMOOS buoy systems, and MDOTs CARS/511 systems remotely sensed data also can be mapped by GIS. Not surprisingly, the Maine Emergency Management Agency, emergency first responders, and others want to access data from all of these sources in one convenient, easy to use application.
Indeed, directly transmitting Automated Crash Data directly from automobiles to Public Safety Answering Points (PSAP) would have a huge impact on safety. For example, using this integrated information, PSAP dispatchers eventually will be able to distinguish minor fender benders from severe crashes and react accordingly. This data could also be transmitted to interstate electronic message boards to advise travelers of accidents ahead.
The system also has implications for Homeland Security. For example, commercial containers of hazardous materials can be retrofitted with the devices and tracked in real-time. Should the transport stray off course, or if it is hijacked, stolen, or involved in an accident, emergency officials can track its location.
MEGIS is working with public and private sector colleagues, to publish a standard method for data content providers to make their remotely sensed data available. Once this method is finalized, MEGIS will test this system by its servers receiving XML soap messages, processing data packets, and routing them to the PSAP closest to the accident.
Bob White (email@example.com) is a Senior Programmer Analyst for MeGIS where he is responsible for management of public safety/emergency management projects, project reviews, and quality assurance. Bob is a certified Emergency Number Professional (ENP), and co-chair of the NENA Data Committee's GIS Study Group http://www.nena.org.
 ATX technologies are used by Ford, On-Star is used by General Motors, and Triple A is investing in developing an after market system for older vehicles.